Ted Natt '58
Updated 08/28/10

Chateauroux, France















In Memory of

Ted M. Natt '59


  Ted Natt attended Chateauroux American High School during his freshman and sophomore years (1955-57).  Previously, he attended schools in Longview, WA; Long Branch, NJ; Falls Church, VA; and Rome, Italy.

    Ted was born, March 28, 1941 in Portland, OR.  He was keenly interested in sports and managed the varsity football team in Chateauroux during his sophomore year.  Ted was very social and loved to hang out with his friends and attend parties.  His best friends were Mike Cooksey and Rick Haaf.  They used to shag groceries together at the base commissary.

    In the summer of 1957, the family moved to Lexington, MA where our dad was assigned to Hanscom Field.  Ted attended Worcester Academy in Worcester, MA his junior and senior years - graduating in 1959.  While at Worcester Academy, Ted played on the junior varsity football team and worked on the school annual.

    In 1959, Ted matriculated to the University of Oregon where dad was an alumnus. Ted majored in journalism and graduated in 1963.  While at UO, he was president of his fraternity and worked on the school newspaper.  There is a plaza at the University of Oregon named for him.

    In 1963, Ted married Diane Shields of Carmel, CA. 

    Ted's first job was on the Walla Walla Union Bulletin as a reporter where he covered the last execution by hanging in the State of Washington.  He subsequently worked for the Portland Oregonian and the St. Helens Sentinel Mist.

    In 1966, he was appointed a Professional Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.  After that, he worked for the Daily News in Longview, WA; becoming its editor in 1974.  He became a director of the Associated Press Managing Editors Association as well as vice president of the Washington State Press Association.  In the 1970's, Ted was one of the few managing editors who rode a Harley Davidson motorcycle.  He also became an accomplished airplane pilot.  In 1977, Ted became publisher of the Daily News.  In 1981, the Daily News won the Pulitzer Prize for its reporting of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens.  Ted became a powerful voice in southwest Washington and also in the nation's capitol.  He was widely liked and admired.

    He died in a helicopter accident in the summer of 1999 along the Columbia River near Astoria, OR.

    If he had to be penned down to the two happiest periods of his life, including all of his professional accomplishments, they probably would include being a member of his fraternity at UO and being a teenager at Chateauroux American High School.  In his heart of hearts he was a party guy.  The joy he learned by being part of the Chateauroux community never left him.

Below - Ted at CHAD front entrance - 1987 Return Trip

    This photo was taken of Ted sitting in his Homeroom desk at Chateauroux American High School at the age of 46, during a visit to Chateauroux during the summer of 1987.
  Ted's brother, John Natt '60, has provided this information.


    [jpnote:  The following was written by Richard D. Smyser, the founding editor of The Oak Ridger, and was one of Ted's many friends.]

    "From 1977 until June of  [sic] 1999, Ted Natt was editor and publisher of The Longview (Wash.) Daily News. He was of the third generation of the family that had owned the paper from 1923 until it was sold, as so many smaller family-owned newspapers have been in recent decades, to a newspaper group.

    Saturday, Aug. 7, [sic] 1999, he set out in his two-seat helicopter for a short flight to attend a memorial service and charity dinner for an old friend in nearby Oysterville. He took off to return home about 8:30 p.m. and, when later that night his family had not heard from him, a massive search was launched. It was not until Saturday, Sept. 18, that elk hunters spotted his helicopter crashed under a canopy of branches of tall trees, his body still strapped inside.

    Ted had been one of the most active small newspaper editors with both APME, which he served as president in 1984, and ASNE. His proudest moment as a publisher-editor came, deservedly, when, in the spring of 1981, The Daily News won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the disastrous Mount St. Helen's volcano eruption the year before. Many larger papers in the Pacific Northwest had covered the eruption extensively too but none as well as Ted's staff at The Daily News.

    Indicative of Ted's devotion to quality journalism was his enthusiastic participation in the so-called "traveling guru" project of the Council for Advancement of Science Writing, on whose board I serve. He hosted Dave Perlman, science editor of The San Francisco Chronicle, for two days of discussions with his staff on how even smaller newspapers can do serious science and medical reporting." -- Richard D. Smyser is founding editor of The Oak Ridger.

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