She passed on Tuesday at the age of 75.
Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs.
The story goes that her older, 3 year old brother couldn’t pronounce “Corinne” when she came home from the hospital, he called her Cokie, and that was that.
She had a keen, life-long deep understanding of politics, especially here in the United States. She grew up in politics — her father, then her mother both held seats in the US House of Representatives from Louisiana — and chose the path of chronicling the many stories around public affairs rather than governance.
Not only did she choose a life in the “fourth branch”, but her voice and balanced, thorough analysis of issues — and broad public appeal therein — guided her to become one of the “Founding Mothers” of National Public Radio, and more broadly, one of the women in leadership roles in public journalism.
She was so good on NPR that commercial leader ABC hired her as well. She reported from both outlets for more than three decades.
Her voice remained steadfast and consistent in our public discourse, and even in recent years as she had begun to step back, I always felt a certain calm and certainty of what was true when I heard her speak on whatever the topic of the day was.
I was shocked when I heard the news of her passing on Tuesday morning while driving to work. On the commute home at the end of the day, I was fortunate to hear on another public radio station, Classical KDFC, the afternoon DJ Robin Pressman pay tribute to Roberts with a dedication of the first 5:00pm Commute Song (what KDFC calls “The Island of Sanity”), Felix Mendelssohn’s “On Wings of a Song 34 #2”.
Cool to hear that peaceful, uplifting music anytime, especially as nod to one of the great voices of our time. Thanks for your insights and wisdom and positive effect on our national conversation, Cokie.
Would that we can honor you as Rachel Martin suggested on Up First today, when she closed with what was perhaps your simple credo for living: “Do the work. Be fair. Be kind. And lift each other up.”
More on Cokie Roberts found here.
More on Cokie Roberts as one of the Founding Mothers found here.