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Friday, January 24, 2003

UNM Journalism Professor Henry Trewhitt Dies at 75

By Dan McKay
Journal Staff Writer
    Henry "Hank" Trewhitt a world-renowned journalist who covered the Berlin Wall and Watergate before mentoring students as a professor at the University of New Mexico died at his home Thursday. He was 75.
    Trewhitt joined the UNM journalism department in 1989 and continued to coach writers at the student newspaper, the Daily Lobo, until his death.
    "He's the sort of man you dream about getting on a journalism faculty," said Tony Hillerman, a novelist and former journalism chairman at UNM. "Not only did he have a distinguished record ... but he was a damn fine teacher."
    Trewhitt collapsed Thursday afternoon in his Northeast Heights home, his wife, Barbara, said. He had battled emphysema.
    No funeral services are planned, at Trewhitt's request.
    Trewhitt was born April 17, 1927, in Cleveland, Tenn. At 17, he joined the Navy, which sent him to UNM for flight school.
    Hank and Barbara Trewhitt were married in 1948.
    Trewhitt graduated as part of UNM's first journalism class in 1949. He later joined the Santa Fe New Mexican and covered Los Alamos as scientists developed the thermonuclear bomb.
    He also worked at the Chattanooga Times, the Baltimore Sun, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. At 25, Trewhitt won a Nieman Fellowship to Harvard University. He was the youngest person to have had that honor.
    Trewhitt's career took him to more than 100 countries, including several stints in Vietnam. He was stationed in Bonn, Germany, from 1961-65. He covered the White House during the Watergate era.
    "When he spoke, everyone listened," UNM President F. Chris Garcia said.
    Trewhitt's work in the classroom earned him the respect of students.
    "Hank Trewhitt is the reason I became a journalist," said Martin Salazar, a reporter for the Las Vegas Optic. "From the first day I walked into his class, I was captivated by his war stories about covering the White House and his tour of duty as a journalist in Germany."
    Freelance writer Andy Lenderman of Taos said Trewhitt was a "real blue-collar guy" who "taught me a lot of good tricks."
    Glenn May, a reporter at the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., had this memory of Trewhitt: In 1995, May was editor of the Daily Lobo when reporter Doug Johnson discovered that an incoming UNM vice president had charges outstanding against him in Colorado related to illegally shooting elk and leaving them to rot.
    "It was a big scoop," May said, "and I don't know if Johnson or Trewhitt was happier we had it. 'Yippee,' I think, was Hank's response.
    "Here was a guy who had witnessed the Berlin Wall getting built and who reported the invention of the hydrogen bomb, but getting the elk story was still fun for him."
    Trewhitt is survived by his wife; son, Jeffrey, of Washington, D.C.; and sister, Ganelle McClure, of Cleveland, Tenn.