Student Work – Walter Cronkite(s) and Jim Johnson

Our first assignment in LAW 2301 was to prepare a memo on a recently departed person who was famous/infamous/influential or interesting. Here are some of the great papers I received:


Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite was the embodiment of the professional newsman that all ambitious journalists hope to emulate within their own career. Although the term was developed and used before his time by a handful of broadcasters – Cronkite was considered the original anchorman. His talent, drive, and influence established this detail, as well as making him known as “the most trusted man in America.”
Born on November 4, 1916, in St. Joseph Missouri, Cronkite set his goals for journalism at an early age. After getting his feet wet at his high school newspaper, Cronkite went on to study economics, political science, and journalism at the University of Texas. He left college to report for the Houston Post and did not return to graduate from college. He then moved on to the United Press where he reported on World War II. Cronkite met and then married his wife, Mary Elizabeth, in 1940. His journalist experiences earned Cronkite an invitation to CBS by Edward R. Murrow, which he accepted in 1950. He was officially declared as the anchorman of the “CBS Evening News” in 1961. In 1969 he enthusiastically reported the first walk on the moon. Cronkite stayed with CBS until his retirement in 1981. Afterward, he kept working on projects such as “Walter Cronkite’s Universe” on CBS; and as the narrator for “Liberty Kids” on PBS – as the voice of Benjamin Franklin. Cronkite was also under contract with the Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel for several documentaries from 1993 to at least 1996.
During his most active part of his career, Cronkite developed an influence that was recognized and respected by American President’s and other world leaders. And he was trusted dearly, by his audience. After returning from assignment on the Vietnam War in 1968, Cronkite affirmed a “stalemate” status that influenced President Lyndon Johnson to state his loss of the confidence of Americans in his campaigns. This seemingly led to Johnson’s announcement that he would not seek out re-election.
Cronkite saw our country through the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. A time of great sadness which was reflected, and further dignified through Cronkite’s natural approach and humanity.
In 1977, Cronkite became an essential element in the Israel-Egyptian treaty when Egyptian President Anwar Al-Sadat noted to Cronkite that he would be willing to meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Menechem Begin. The Camp David meeting between the world leaders establishing the treaty soon followed.
Cronkite passed away at the age of 92 on Friday, July 17, 2009, at 7:42 p.m. in his New York home surrounded by family. He was suffering from a long-term illness. Cronkite was married to his wife, Mary Elizabeth, for 64 years. She passed away in 2005. Cronkite, is survived by his son Walter Leland III, a.k.a. “Chip;” daughters Nancy Elizabeth, Mary Kathleen, and four grandchildren – all boys.
According to the New York Post, Cronkite’s will notes the bulk of his estate – estimated to be in the millions – will be left to his three children. His estate is to be sold with all proceeds to be divided amongst his children. His assistants at CBS, Marlene Adler and Julie Sukmann are noted to receive up to one hundred thousand dollars (Adler) and up to fifty thousand dollars (Sukmann) depending on the final amount received for his estate. Journalism mementos are noted in Cronkite’s will to be left to the University of Texas. Cronkite’s long time companion, Joanna Simon, was not noted in the will at all. The will was established in August of 2005 before Simon and Cronkite started dating.
Cronkite will always be considered an epitome of “credibility,” as he established a reputation of non-partisan reporting of the news – “and that’s the way it is.”


Albert Auster. Cronkite, Walter – The Muse of Broadcast Communications, The Museum of Broadcast Communication, Chicago (Last visited September 9, 2009)

CBS, Walter Cronkite Dies: Television Pioneer, CBS Legend, Dies at 92, CBS News, New York, July 17, 2009, (Last visited September 9, 2009)

Douglas Martin, Walter Cronkite, 92, Dies; Trusted Voice of TV News, New York Times, New York, July 17, 2009, (Last visited September 9, 2009)

James Fanelli, Walter Jilt$ His Gal Pal, New York Post, New York, September 02, 2009, (Last visited September 9, 2009)

Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite


Retired CBS anchorman, Walter Cronkite, died from cerebrovascular disease, on July 17, 2009, in his New York home, at the age of ninety-two. Mr. Cronkite began his journalism career as a reporter for the Kansas City Times, and later went on to work as a radio announcer and World War II correspondent for the United Press. In 1950, he was hired by CBS, where he remained, eventually becoming a television news anchorman, in 1962. He retired from the anchor position in 1981, but continued to work for CBS as a consultant, earning a salary of approximately one million dollars per year. Gary Strauss and Peter Johnson, Iconic Journalist Walter Cronkite Dies at 92, U.S.A. Today, July 17, 2009,
A private funeral was held in St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue in New York City. Mr. Cronkite was cremated and then buried in Kansas City, Missouri, next to Betsy Max-well Cronkite, his wife of sixty-five years, who died in March of 2005. Cronkite to be Buried in Missouri after N.Y. funeral, U.S.A. Today, July 18, 2009,
Mr. Cronkite had revised his will in 2005 upon his wife’s death. The will was filed with the Surrogate’s Court of New York County in August of 2009. Mr. Cronkite left the bulk of his estate, estimated at several million dollars, to be divided among his three children, Nancy, Chip, and Kathy. Additionally, Mr. Cronkite owned a thirty-two foot-long motor boat, an apartment in Manhattan’s U.N. Plaza Building, and a waterfront home in Martha’s Vineyard. He requested that his personal property be sold, and that the profits from the sales be equally divided between his children. Out of respect for his late wife’s memory, his girlfriend of four years, Joanna Simon, was not mentioned in the will. James Fanelli, Walter jilts his Gal Pal, N.Y. Post, September 2, 2009,
Two of Mr. Cronkite’s closest aides were also remembered in his will. Marlene Adler, his chief of staff at CBS, will inherit a sum between 50,000 and 100,000 dollars, and his executive assistant, Julie Sukmann, will inherit between 12,500 and 50,000 dollars. The actual amount each will inherit is dependent on the final value of the estate – if the estate is valued at four million dollars or more, they will get the maximum amount. James Fanelli, Walter jilts his Gal Pal, N.Y. Post, September 2, 2009,
Finally, Mr. Cronkite remembered his alma mater, the University of Texas, with a gift of his personal historic news memorabilia. The University is planning an exhibition of Mr. Cronkite’s artifacts in May of 2010. Gary Strauss and Peter Johnson, Iconic Journalist Walter Cronkite Dies at 92, U.S.A. Today, July 17, 2009,

JIm Johnson

JIm Johnson


On July 28th in the year 2009 Jim Johnson passed away after an ongoing battle with cancer. The football world most certainly lost a great man but an even better person with his untimely death. Although Johnson was a mainstay in the football scene for twenty two seasons he gained most of his notoriety coaching in the National Football League. Right up until his death Johnson played the role of defensive coordinator on the Philadelphia Eagles staff for nine strong seasons. The front page headlines reserved for the boisterous coaches never bore his name but opposing offenses were always well aware of when they would be playing a Jim Johnson led defense. He is credited with perfecting the blitzing defensive scheme that enabled the Eagles to reach the Super Bowl one year and reach the playoffs for seven years during his tenure with the team. Even though he never attained the prestige of becoming a head coach in the N.F.L, many of the coaches that learned under his guidance can make such a claim. Jim Johnson didn’t just coach a team, he created a culture for Philadelphia Eagles football that no fan, whether they support the Eagles or not will soon forget. He may be gone but for the players he coached and the men he groomed to eventually take their place as head coaches they will forever remember and cherish the name of Jim Johnson. He is survived by his wife Vicky, children Scott and Michelle and grandchildren Katie, Justin, Brandon and Jax.

Works Cited
1. Associated Press , Johnson Dies at 68, Sept. 8, 2009,
2. In memory of JJ, Sept. 8, 2009,
3. Elizabeth Merrill, Johnson Remembered as tough, caring, Sept. 8, 2009,


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