We Remember

Rodney Lee “Patrick” Young (1937-2021), a veteran Washington science writer, died January 4, 2021, after a long illness and a bout with the coronavirus. A longtime NASW member, Young had a career that ranged from covering the initial space launches to writing about a Civil War Eagle Hero from his home state of Wisconsin.

Young was born October 19, 1937 in Ladysmith, Wisc. After graduating from the University of Colorado, he began his professional newspaper career in the Washington bureau of United Press International in the early 1960’s, starting as a dictationist, and working his way up to local desk editor and then developing his specialty as a science and medical writer.

After a stint in the Navy during the Vietnam war, he returned to Washington, where he worked for several publications, including as the editor in chief of Science News magazine. Young won several awards for his writing. Of all the wide range of science subjects he wrote about, he took the most delight in covering the manned space launches at Cape Kennedy starting in 1969 and into the 1970s, and reading his book Old Abe the Eagle Hero, to children–particularly at the elementary schools of his grandchildren.

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Kevin Begos (1958-2021), a journalist and community leader, died Saturday, June 19, 2021.

A longstanding volunteer on NASW’s Grants Committee, Begos is remembered for his deep insight and encouraging words, reviewing each proposal with care, year after year, with kindred support for our science writing community. Begos was also previously featured in NASW’s Advance Copy book column for his 2018 book Tasting the Past: The Science of Flavor & The Search for the Origins of Wine.

Born in 1958 to U.S. Navy parents in Marseilles, France, Begos studied creative writing at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, and started his career in fine art publishing. In the mid-1990s, he began his journalism career with the Apalachicola (Fla.) Times, going on to win awards for his work in the Winston Salem Journal, The Associated Press and Duke University. His landmark series in North Carolina “Against Their Will” helped to enact the first legislation in the United States to compensate victims of forced sterilization and prompted an apology from the governor.

At the time of his death, Begos served as mayor of Apalachicola, Fla. After being elected in September 2019, Begos got to work immediately, tackling the large water and sewer debt amassed by the city over several years.

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Aug. 18, 2021

Biedler Price for Cancer Journalism