Larry Daughtrey, who reported on Tennessee politics for almost four decades, died Thursday at age 76 following complications from lung disease, according to The Tennessean, the newspaper where he worked most of those years.
Mr. Daughtrey worked as a political reporter at The Tennessean from 1962 to 1997, helping solidify the newspaper’s reputation for crusading journalism while becoming a mentor for dozens of young reporters. He converted to writing a political column for the newspaper after his retirement.
Former Tennessean editor Frank Sutherland, who oversaw the paper during part of Mr. Daughtrey’s tenure, called Mr. Daughtrey a writer of consummate detail, one whose attention to the craft of writing was as respected as his dedication to fairness.
“Larry Daughtrey was a great reporter because he had the best sources of anyone on Capitol Hill,” Sutherland said. “He had the flair of language to tell the stories he had researched.
“His kind of reporting will be missed.”
Mr. Daughtrey, a native of Texas and graduate of Vanderbilt University, was respected on both sides of the political aisle for being tough, but truthful, Sutherland said. Inside The Tennessean, Mr. Daughtrey was a source for the right adjective and the definitive sources.
Daughtrey’s first major contribution came shortly came as a young reporter in 1962, when he was part of a Tennessean investigation that reported on voting fraud that led to the election of Richard Fulton to Congress. He would go on to cover state politics that spanned eight governors, from Frank Clement, the rise of Ned McWherter, to Phil Bredesen.
He also held the distinction of covering every presidential convention from 1964 to 2000.
“It brings me great sadness to hear of the passing of my good friend and former colleague Larry Daughtrey,” former Vice President Al Gore, a colleague of Daughtrey at The Tennessean, said in a written statement. “Larry’s devotion as a reporter, as well as his ability to understand and explain the complex political issues of our time, remain unmatched.
“His work commanded the highest respect from both sides of the aisle and his voice of reason will be missed. My heart goes out to his wife Judge Cissy Daughtrey, daughter Carran and their family.”