Clay Felker, Remembered

By
Forget Obama. McCain has decided his real foe in this race is <i>Times</i> editor Bill Keller.
Photo: David Gahr

Last night, hundreds of New Yorkers attended a memorial service for New York founding editor Clay Felker, hosted by New York Magazine and his wife, Gail Sheehy. Felker was 82 when he died this past July, but of the writers who gathered to speak of him, many took care to note that he'd always retained a childlike enthusiasm for life. "He saw the world with a little boy's sense of wonder," said Richard Reeves. Tom Wolfe echoed the theme: "He was not ironic; he was not a cynic; he was filled with awe at the way life was lived in this city."

"He always wanted things to be bigger," said Milton Glaser, "and we all led bigger lives because of it."

Felker abhorred boredom; his writers spoke of him falling asleep in editorial meetings and dismissing them when they failed to interest him. "To bore Clay," former student Lauren Barack said, "was a disaster." But entertaining him, causing his eyes to "crinkle," as Barack said, was rewarding.

Gloria Steinem noted that "even in his absence" she argues over story angles with Felker in her head. To her and to many others, he will continue to be "celestial editor of life."

See Also: Hundreds Honor a Life Known For Magazine Innovation [NYT]
Felker's Memory Honored [NYP]
Earlier: My God, What Trouble You Could Cause! and A City Built of Clay [NYM]