Acclaimed journalist and part-time Pawleys Island resident Cokie Roberts died Thursday, Sept. 17, due to complications from breast cancer at age 75.
Born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs, Roberts received the nickname “Cokie” from her brother, who, as a child, could not pronounce her given name, Corinne.
Roberts graduated from Wellesley College in 1964 with a degree in political science and began her career in radio in the 1970s as a foreign correspondent for CBS. She later moved to NPR, covering Capitol Hill as a correspondent.
She worked at various other media outlets before beginning a 30-year career at ABC in 1988. Roberts won every major award in journalism and has over 30 honorary degrees. Roberts was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and the American Women in Radio and Television announced her as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. The Library of Congress named her a “Living Legend” in 2008.
She was the 2000 recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.
Roberts wrote six books, mainly dealing with women in U.S. history. She regularly appeared at local book signings and functions in the Georgetown County area.
She and her husband, Steve, collaborated on a weekly syndicated column analyzing national and international issues. Several years ago the couple co-authored a piece on why they love Pawleys Island.
Speaking at the 2018 induction for the Georgetown County Women’s Hall of Fame, Roberts said, “I have my Waccamaw Library card in my purse. “(Local people) have been so welcoming to my husband and me.”
The Roberts spent about eight or nine weeks each year at their home on the island and started visiting the area back in 1978.
In an interview with the Georgetown Times back in 2014, Roberts said, “It’s unique here; you can be so close to the ocean and have so much privacy.”
Former Executive Editor of Georgetown Communications Mark A. Stevens, now the Director of Tourism/ Development at the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce, said that he had the opportunity to meet Roberts on a couple of occasions.
“My wife and I were paired with Cokie to be the honorees to light the main Christmas tree at Brookgreen Gardens,” Stevens said. “As a journalist, I long followed her career. She was sort of a role model for me. I remember watching her for years when she was a guest on “This Week with David Brinkley.” I was just getting into journalism at the time. She was a super lady, always friendly.”
Roberts is survived by her husband, children, Lee and Rebecca and six grandchildren.
“We will miss Cokie beyond measure, both for her contributions and her love and kindness,” said the family in a statement.