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Jules Edward Loh, longtime Associated Press reporter, dies at 79

August 29, 2010 |  1:03 pm

Loh Jules Edward Loh, an Associated Press reporter who covered the civil-rights movement, the space program and other momentous stories before carving out a second career roaming the United States in search of the offbeat and the extraordinary, has died. He was 79.

Loh died early Sunday at his home in Tappan, N.Y., of complications from a recent surgery, said his daughter, Eileen.

Loh joined the Associated Press in 1959 in Louisville, Ky., after a stint at the Washington Post.

Within a year, he was reassigned to New York, where he eventually became a member of a small band of feature writers dubbed "the Poets' Corner." Loh roamed the United States in search of his stories and also wrote columns for the Associated Press before his retirement in 1997.

Loh was born May 29, 1931, in Macon, Ga. He served in the Air Force during the Korean War and attended Georgetown University before entering journalism.

In the mid-1960s, he returned to his native South to cover the civil-rights movement, which became for him a long-running assignment.

When a Ku Klux Klan bomb destroyed the 16th Street Baptist Church of Birmingham, Ala., in 1963, Loh covered the story and the funerals of four young girls who died in the blast.

He was in a front-row seat when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech that year, walked with King on his 1965 Freedom March from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., and sat in the Senate gallery with Malcolm X during the debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Loh also reported on the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Sen. Robert Kennedy; the shooting of Alabama segregationist Gov. George Wallace; earthquakes in Alaska, California and Mexico City; political campaigns; and space shots.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Jules Edward Loh in 1964. Credit: Associated Press