Edward D. Hewitt, a longtime Evening Sun and Baltimore Sun editor who was an inveterate runner and hiker, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack as he was about to ascend Mount Rogers in Independence, Va. The longtime Parkville resident was 70.
"Ed was my first features editor and I thought he was a newspaperman through and through. He loved the vibe of the newsroom, language, working with reporters and putting out the newspaper," said Kevin Cowherd, a retired Baltimore Sun sports columnist who earlier had been a features reporter.
"He was a judicious editor and didn't have to mess with your copy. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with him when he was my editor," said Mr. Cowherd. "He was kind, positive and always willing to help. He was the epitome of a true friend."
"No. 1, he was an excellent journalist and for a big chunk of his time was the newspaper's ombudsman and reader's representative," said William K. Marimow, former editor of The Baltimore Sun who is now the editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
"Ed was an advocate for the readers and got them answers and services. He cared deeply about the … people who read The Sun and its staff," said Mr. Marimow. "He was a wonderful colleague and someone you could always count on for superb yarns and friendship."
The son of Ernest Edward Hewitt, an Air Force mechanic, and Frances Deal Hewitt, an educator, Edward Deal Hewitt was born and raised in Portsmouth, Va.
After graduating in 1961 from Granby High School in Norfolk, Va., Mr. Hewitt attended Old Dominion University, also in Norfolk.
While attending college, Mr. Hewitt worked as a newspaper stringer for The Virginian-Pilot covering prep sports.
"Ed's death was like losing a family member. I've known him for 50 years when we met on the college newspaper. We both soon found out we were fond of beer and newspapers, and that would do it in those days," said Miles B. Gwyn, who later became an Evening Sun and Baltimore Sun copy editor.
Mr. Hewitt came to Baltimore in 1968 when he joined the staff of The Evening Sun as a copy editor. He became a features editor for The Evening Sun in the 1970s.
"He was a meticulous editor and well organized and never a tyrant unless you asked for it," Mr. Gwyn said with a laugh. "If you demanded it, he could be harsh."
Mary Maushard had been the Evening Sun's food editor.
"Ed was a fine, easygoing editor, yet he was a stickler for grammar and punctuation. He was a very realistic and down-to-earth editor. He was always highly organized," said Ms. Maushard, who is now communication director of the Center for Social Organization of Schools at the Johns Hopkins University.
"He was a really good newsman and he really liked features. He would not dictate and if he asked what the food page was going to be about and I said 'squash,' he might say, 'I don't really like squash,' but he didn't make me change it. He let me do what I wanted to do."
"He was editing The Evening Sun's Accent section when I came to the paper. Ed was old-school who believed in the stylebook," said Candus C.S. "Candy" Thomson, who later became an editor and outdoors columnist for The Sun.
"With Ed, there was a right way and a wrong way of doing things. If you said he could expect copy at a certain time, he expected it. If you did things the right way, then you had no problem with him," said Ms. Thomson, who is now spokeswoman for the Maryland Natural Resources Police.
"He was fair and straight-up. He worked hard, and he expected you to work hard," she said.
In 1994, Mr. Hewitt succeeded Ernest F. Imhoff, a longtime Evening Sun and Sun editor, as the newspaper's ombudsman. He held that position and that of newsroom administrator until 2004, when he retired.
For decades and until recent months, Mr. Hewitt sported a finely trimmed beard. When several Evening Sun retirees gathered in December, Mr. Hewitt was among the diners.
"When I came into the restaurant I had to look twice, I didn't recognize Ed without his beard," said Mr. Imhoff.
When he wasn't engaged in newspaper work, Mr. Hewitt enjoyed hiking and became a serious runner.
"Ed was a cheerful adventurer in outdoor craziness. He was an orderly, popular Evening Sun editor confined by newsroom rules, but once out the door, he took off sometimes with colleagues," said Mr. Imhoff, who recalled a chilly January day in 1973 when he dropped by Mr. Hewitt's Parkville home.
"We ended up taking a 27-mile walk that day," recalled Mr. Imhoff. "He ran every day for years, logging 60,000-plus miles, did many marathons, climbed up Old Rag Mountain in Virginia, and managed three rim-to-rim walks of the Grand Canyon."
Mr. Hewitt, along with Mr. Imhoff, tackled the Appalachian Trail in Maryland.
"One of my best days ever was the day Ed and I did a darkness-to-darkness hike over 40 miles of the entire hilly Appalachian Trail in Maryland from Pennsylvania to West Virginia," said Mr. Imhoff.
Mr. Hewitt was returning from a vacation in Biloxi, Miss., and planned to climb Mount Rogers, the highest mountain in Virginia.
"His goal in recent years was to climb the highest summits east of the Mississippi River," said his daughter, Rebecca Kathryn "Becky" Litterst of Newark, Del.
Several hikers discovered Mr. Hewitt dead at the trail head at the bottom of the mountain, family members said.
Mr. Hewitt was a Dodgers fan who enjoyed attending spring training in Vero Beach, Fla. He also was a lifelong jazz enthusiast.
Mr. Hewitt was a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter, 130 W. Seminary Ave., Lutherville, where a memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. March 21.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Hewitt is survived by his son, Kevin Michael Hewitt of Parkville; a brother, Roy Lee Hewitt of Cleveland; and two granddaughters. His marriage to the former Allison Fallwell ended in divorce.