Peggy Polk Obit - 2015

Peggy Polk

Peggy Polk, a globetrotting reporter reporter for United Press International, died Jan. 13, 2015, at her home in New Orleans. She was 79.

Polk reported for UPI for 32 years before resigning in 1989. She later worked for Time magazine and the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization before joining Religion News Service, for which she wrote from the Vatican until 2005.

In August 2005 she married former Newsweek correspondent Scott Sullivan (who she met while on assignment in Tel Aviv, covering the 1973 Yom Kippur war) and they married and settled in New Orleans.

Survivors included her husband.

A memorial service was Jan. 24 at Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans.

Born Rose L.W. Polk in on Oct. 11, 1935 in Towanda, Pa., Polk grew up in Brooklyn Heights, New York City, attending the then Elizabeth Irwin High School (the famous Little Red School House).

After graduating cum laude in 1957 from Radcliffe College (since absorbed by Harvard University) with a degree in English, Polk earned a master's degree at Columbia University in journalism in 1959.

Polk had a colorful career with UPI.

When she joined UP in 1959, her first assignment was covering New York Gov. Nelson RockefellerLyndon B. Johnson unsuccessful tried to recruit her for a White House press office post.

Polk later worked in the New York bureau. In 1970, she won the Newspaper Women's Club of New's Front Page Award for Distinguished Writing.

In 1975, she was posted to Madrid, shortly after the death of the Spanish dictator, Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

Polk spent two years in Madrid, two in Rome and two in Moscow before returning for a brief assignment in the Washington bureau.

Polk was then transferred to Rome, where she was UPI's bureau manager for 18 years. Reporting from Tel Aviv, she also was among a team of UPI reporters that covered the 1973 Middle East War.

While in Rome, Polk wrote about terrorism that swept Italy in the early 1980s, and the papacy. She traveled with Popes Paul VI and John Paul II.

Outside her UPI career, Polk was noted as an accomplished parachutist. While a junior at Radcliffe, she became the first woman to complete 10 parachute jumps and earn a license from the U.S. Parachute Association. Polk eventually completed 16 jumps, according to her husband