LEITH-born journalist and author Stewart Dickson, who reported extensively from around the globe, has died.
Stewart began his newspaper career as a teenager in Edinburgh, then moved on to work in Glasgow, Manchester and London’s Fleet Street, in that time working for the Daily Express, among others.
While still in his 20s, he went to America, his beloved adopted country, where he was based in Florida, southern California, Washington, DC, and finally New York, where he was US bureau chief of the Daily Mirror.
In the course of his career, Stewart travelled around the world covering major stories.
Among the highlights were Operation Desert Storm, the US visits of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Prince Edward, the Gorbachev-Reagan Summit, the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie and UN assemblies.
He interviewed diplomats, celebrities and politicians during his time.
Although in the 1990s he moved away from journalism to focus on becoming an author, Stewart wrote movingly about the aftermath of September 11 for the Evening News.
Stewart was described as a brilliant journalist and his own man, an independent thinker with a sly sense of humour.
His sister, Jean Marsland, said: “When Stewart was a junior at the Daily Express, the editor at 11 o’clock at night said ‘Boy, go and get sugar for my tea’.
“So Stewart went home to my mum and got a bag of salt. The editor never asked him to go for sugar again.”
Stewart lived in a high-rise apartment block with Gunna, his wife of 25 years, a fellow journalist and author. He was a well-known patron of the Palm Too, a steakhouse near the United Nations building. He passed away at New York Presbyterian Hospital on September 8.
On Monday at 5pm friends and family will gather at Newhaven Harbour and take a boat on to the Forth, where his some of his ashes will be scattered. Some will remain in New York.
At the same time friends at the Palm Too, which has named his favourite seat Stewart’s Corner, will raise a glass in tribute to his life.
Stewart’s first novel VAIR will be posthumously published this autumn. Scott Matthews, a friend and TV producer, describes it as “a taut thriller reminiscent of Fleming or Doyle”.
Stewart passed away after a battle with liver cancer. He also had hemochromatosis and diabetes.
His wife Gunna said: “I do not know what he would have wanted, but we were very close and I am just remembering his lifelong passion for water.
“He talked of watching ships in the harbour when he was a little boy and sailing in Cramond as a young man.
“He loved to sit and watch the power of the ocean. We did a crossing on QE2 from NYC to Southampton, and took several cruises. He loved to be on water.”
Contributions to help in the treatment of hemochromatosis and diabetes may be made in Stewart’s memory.