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Rudolph A. Pyatt

Rudolph A. Pyatt

Jan 15, 1933 - Jan 7, 2022

Rudolph A. Pyatt - Obituary


udolph Augustus Pyatt, Jr. was born in Charleston, S.C., the son of the late Rudolph A. Pyatt, Sr. and Jennie G. Murray Pyatt. He was the eldest of six children. Mr. Pyatt graduated from Burke High School, first in his class, earning a Charleston City Scholarship. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at South Carolina State University, where he was a member of the Collegian newspaper staff and active in the campus civil rights protests of 1955. An ROTC cadet, he was subsequently commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Army. Following his discharge from the army in 1960, Mr. Pyatt taught English in Florence, S.C. where he met his future wife, Jacqueline Bell, another teacher. Moving to Charleston in 1962, Mr. Pyatt taught English and journalism at a local high School. In 1964, Mr. Pyatt was hired by the Charleston News and Courier, becoming the first Black reporter to work for a major daily newspaper in the South. Four years later, Mr. Pyatt was assigned to Washington as a correspondent for the News and Courier and Charleston Evening Post, now the Post and Courier. Mr. Pyatt later worked as a reporter at WETA-TV in the nation’s capital and then served as director of public affairs for the D.C. public schools before working as a consultant to the D.C. Government during the 1973-1974 energy crisis. Later in 1974, Mr. Pyatt began working at the Washington Star where he held positions as business writer, assistant metropolitan news editor, and deputy business editor. When the Star closed in 1981, The Washington Post hired him as a business columnist, a position he held until his retirement in June of 2000. In retirement, until his failing health, Mr. Pyatt was active in his community as an advocate for the betterment of his River Bend Estates neighborhood and Prince George’s County, particularly issues surrounding the development of National Harbor and the Oxon Hill Road improvements. Mr. Pyatt kept abreast of what was happening in the world through newspapers and television news programs. An avid sports fan, Mr. Pyatt cheered for his favorite teams, the Dallas Cowboys, LA Dodgers, and UNC basketball. He accompanied his sons to Indianapolis and the United States Grand Prix several times. Mr. Pyatt had a powerful voice. When he spoke, he had everyone’s attention and he spent many an hour discussing issues of the day with his neighbors. He was known by his college friends as an outstanding singer. During the past two years, he spent many hours listening to what he described as “good music.” Among his favorites were Mario Lanza, Tony Bennet, Wintley Phipps, Marion Anderson, Dave Brubeck, and Miles Davis. Mr. Pyatt was a Washington Post-Duke University Fellow, and a member of the Communication Workers of America, the national advisory board of the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. Mr. Pyatt was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of South Carolina State University by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. Mr. Rudolph A. Pyatt, Jr. and Jacqueline Bell Pyatt celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary on December 29, 2021. In addition to his wife, Jackie, Mr. Pyatt leaves to mourn his passing twin sons, Rudolph A. Pyatt of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Randolph A. Pyatt, and his wife, Emily Pyatt and their twin children, Randolph A. Pyatt, Jr. and Sophia Jacqueline Pyatt of Bryans Road, Maryland; two sisters, Alice A. Pyatt of Charleston, S.C. and Gwendolyn Pyatt Marion and her husband Benjamin Marion of St. Albans, N.Y.; a sister-in-law, Charlye Mae Pyatt of Laurelton. N.Y.; and a host of relatives and friends. Sisters Jennie L. Pyatt and Barbara Pyatt Simmons and brother James W. Pyatt preceded Mr. Pyatt in death.