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Joseph Pulitzer IV: Volunteer efforts, music and writing followed time at the Post-Dispatch

Joseph Pulitzer the Fourth
Provided by the family

Joseph Pulitzer IV, the last of a line of Joseph Pulitzers stretching back to the 19th century to hold positions at the family’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, died Thursday in Berkeley, Calif., following a massive heart attack. He was 65 and lived in Sheridan, Wyo.

Mr. Pulitzer was a great-grandson of the first Joseph Pulitzer, and the son of the late Joseph Pulitzer Jr. of St. Louis and the late Louise Vauclain Pulitzer of St. Louis, originally of Philadelphia. He was born and reared in St. Louis, attended the Rossman School and St. Louis Country Day School, and graduated from St. Mark’s School, Southborough, Mass., in 1968. He went from St. Mark’s to Harvard, from which he graduated in 1972.

He began his newspaper career in 1974 at The Bulletin, a regional daily newspaper based in Bend, Ore. After two years at The Bulletin, he returned to St. Louis to work for the Post-Dispatch. There, as his father had done, he worked his way through the news, production and administrative operations of the paper, including its Washington Bureau, learning first hand the complex work required to produce a major metropolitan daily,  particularly a paper once esteemed as one of the 10 best in the U.S., and one with an international reputation as well.

He was extremely proud of his heritage and of the Post-Dispatch. At times, on the job, he evidenced discomfort as heir to the Pulitzer legacy and expressed eagerness to be a regular member of the staff rather than the son of the editor and publisher. Rather than using the name Joseph or Joe, he renamed himself Jay, and his byline read “J Pulitzer.”

His last job at the paper was vice president for administration, from which he resigned in 1995, and soon thereafter left St. Louis for Sheridan, Wyo., where he would work as a media consultant.

Joseph Pulitzer II with Joseph Pulitzer IV
Credit Family photo
Joseph Pulitzer II with Joseph Pulitzer IV

Very quickly, he began working also at various avocations and volunteer jobs. He joined the Big Horn, Wyo., volunteer fire department, and volunteered at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Sheridan. He produced albums of his blues and folk music. He loved travel and fly fishing and playing with his grandchildren. He was, his daughter Elkhanah said, a loyal and steadfast friend.

He had other work in Wyoming, work more closely related to the family business. When he moved to Sheridan, Mr. Pulitzer connected with a Rossman School friend, Kim Love. Love, coincidentally, is in the news business, Sheridan Media, which includes a newspaper, the County Bounty.

“When he came out here,” Love said, “he wrote a weekly column that was quite good. He had plenty of freedom — he could write about whatever he wanted to write about.” His beat, pretty much, was the world. “He wrote impressions on life or on whatever piqued his interest — national news, international news, things going on here in Sheridan. I was sorry when he decided to give it up,” Love said.

Mr. Pulitzer is survived by his wife, Patricia Turner Pulitzer, of Casper, Wyo.; his stepmother, Emily R. Pulitzer, St. Louis; three daughters and a son: Elkhanah Pulitzer (Chad Owens) of El Cerrito, Calif.; Bianca Pulitzer (John Woodard), of Los Angeles; Elinor Pulitzer, of New York City; and Joseph Pulitzer V, of Cincinnati; three grandsons, Walker Pulitzer and Oscar Pulitzer Owens and Powell Pulitzer Woodard; and his uncle, Michael E. Pulitzer.

Plans for a memorial service are pending.

Robert W. Duffy reported on arts and culture for St. Louis Public Radio. He had a 32-year career at the Post-Dispatch, then helped to found the St. Louis Beacon, which merged in January with St. Louis Public Radio. He has written about the visual arts, music, architecture and urban design throughout his career.