John Lofton Jr., a conservative writer and pundit and 41-year resident of Laurel, died Sept. 17 at the age of 73, from a heart condition at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Lofton, a self-proclaimed "Recovering Republican," was an active writer and commentator in Washington's political circles since the early 1970s, including a seven-year stint as a columnist with the Washington Times, from 1982 to 1989.
Lofton was a regular on the debate show "Square Off" and also appeared on other national political talk shows including a 2002 appearance on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and a 1986 appearance on CNN's "Crossfire." In the CNN appearance, Lofton somewhat notoriously debated Baltimore native and musician Frank Zappa on First Amendment rights. At one point, the debate escalated with Zappa telling Lofton to "Kiss my [expletive]" after Lofton called Zappa "an idiot."
In 2004, Lofton served as communications director in Michael Anthony Peroutka's campaign for president. Peroutka is currently running for a seat on the Anne Arundel County Council.
According to his son Drew Lofton, Lofton was never one to back down, especially when it came to politics or religion.
"The views that he had, he always unwaveringly stuck to those views. He believed everything that came out of his mouth," Lofton said of his father. "He was very passionate about what he believed. It was the most important thing in his life."
Lofton described his father as "an amazing man," and devout Christian. He said the biggest priorities in his life were his work and God.
"His job was his life," he said. Lofton said he father would spend hours in his home office.
"He read probably 12 to 15 newspapers a day, and he was constantly researching," Lofton said. "His house is like a library."
While he spent most of his time debating national issues Lofton was also active in the local political scene. He was a fixture at Laurel City Council meetings, and even once tried to launch a debate show on Laurel's public access TV network.
To say that Lofton and the City Council often didn't get along would be an understatement, according to Drew Lofton.
"At every City Council meeting he went to, it was hard to find someone agreeing with him," Lofton said.
Laurel Mayor Craig Moe said he admired Lofton's passion and vigor.
"He always spoke his mind and told you how he felt. He didn't hide it, and I appreciate that," Moe said. "He understood my positions, and we may not have agreed on everything, but he was always respectful in these council chambers."
His wife, Barbara Lofton, said he was also known around town for his "controversial and sometimes humorous" letters to the editor in the Laurel Leader.
In addition to Barbara and Drew Lofton, he is survived by his son John Lofton III; daughter, Grace Kaye; 10 grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.
A visitation will be held Friday, 6 to 9 p.m., at Beall Funeral Home in Bowie, with services 2 p.m. Saturday at Ten Commandments Park at Gladway Farm in Bowie. Burial will be at Union Cemetery in Burtonsville.