Former N&O sports editor Joe Tiede dies


    WILMINGTON, NC (courtesy NC Press Release) — Joe Tiede was a big man who made a giant contribution to The News & Observer’s sports coverage for more than three decades.

    A former Editor and columnist, Tiede died at age 84 in his Wilmington home Friday night after several years of declining health. He was known as an astute analyst, for his insightful game stories, accuracy and gentle demeanor.

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    That combination earned him a North Carolina Sportswriter-of-the-Year award in 1977 and the trust and admiration of athletes, coaches and administrators throughout his 33-year N&0 career. “A true gentleman and long time respected columnist that was always the consummate professional,” is the way ACC Commissioner John Swofford remembered Tiede, who retired from the N&0 in 1990.

    “Joe Tiede did his job extremely well while treating the people he interviewed, his colleagues in the media, his bosses and everyone else he met with the greatest respect,” offered East Carolina Athletics Director Terry Holland.

    “Joe was a first class reporter and human being and someone with whom you enjoyed trading stories and information no matter where you might be – the Dean Smith Center, Cameron, Reynolds, etc. or at the beach for the spring meetings.”

    Tiede was born Jan. 28, 1928 in Dedham, Ma., attended high school at Governor Dumner Academy in Newberry, Ma., and then served in the U.S. Navy for two years.

    Following his military stint, he enrolled at Bowdoin College, graduated with a degree in history, and launched his sports writing career in 1955 in Bangor, Me. After one other brief stop — at the Wilmington (N.C.) Star News — he joined The News & Observer staff in ’56.

    Typing with just his two index fingers, Tiede covered multiple sports and major events — including ACC Tournaments, Final Fours and Bowl Games. And he made tight deadlines despite his unconventional key-pounding style.

    Tiede didn’t attempt to be poetic, flashy or draw attention to himself. He focused on facts, fairness, analysis and accuracy, just solid reporting.

    The paper could always count on getting a good story from him, regardless of the subject.

    His work ethic was exemplary. For many years Tiede wrote five columns a week, took high school calls over the phone, and covered ACC games at night and on Saturdays.

    While at the N&0 he also wrote special features for the Christian Science Monitor.

    Highly knowledgeable about sports in general, Tiede had a special interest in the technical aspects, particularly football.

    Coaches willingly shared information with him about schemes and formations. Tiede liked to draw X’s & 0’s.

    As an editor, Tiede managed with a patient, kind touch that created a pleasant and productive working environment. He would correct, but not harshly. He would listen to others, but ultimately make a decision based on what he deemed was right.

    Tiede was an avid tennis buff and played into his 70s. His long reach and steady ground strokes served him well, especially in doubles matches.

    Away from the arenas, he enjoyed his family that included three children and three grandchildren, served on the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors, and followed politics with much fervor.

    When a renowned NFL coach once endorsed a presidential candidate, Tiede strongly objected and wrote him a letter. He reasoned the coach was not informed sufficiently to be using his high-profile position to influence an election of such magnitude.

    “Joe was very spirited about politics and was always concerned about people on the fringes of society and wanted to make sure they had a chance to survive, participate and thrive,” said Robert Butler, Tiede’s son-in-law. “He loved politics. It was a frequent source of debate at family gatherings.”

    Friday evening family members gathered once again, this time to say good-bye to a good writer and good man admired by many.

    Joseph Summer Tiede was predeceased by his mother, Helen MacDonald Tiede, and father, Dr. Joseph William Tiede.

    He is survived by his wife, Judith Mallam Tiede, children Sally Butler and husband Robert Butler of Wilmington, Susie Newberry and husband Al Newberry of Burgaw, John Tiede and his wife Cindy Tiede of Wake Forest, a sister, Penny Tiede Woods of Roseville, Ca., grandchildren Brooke Newberry, Will Newberry and Brad Butler, and Virginia Borgman Tiede of Raleigh, mother of Joe’s three children.

    The family plans to have a private service in Maine.

    Article written by A.J. Carr