Milton Griscom Jaques, 79, longtime political reporter


Milton Griscom Jaques, a newspaper reporter who covered politics in Washington from the Eisenhower to the Reagan years, died of pancreatic cancer Wednesday at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The Edgewater resident was 79.

Mr. Jaques, who retired from reporting in 1983, went on to found the National News Speakers Bureau, an agency that helps secure speaking engagements for television and print reporters, and served as president of the company until his death.

"He traveled with [presidents] and was in the White House frequently - it just never changed who he was," said his daughter Cynthia J. Strickland of Pinehurst, N.C. "It was just part of doing business."

Mr. Jaques was born in Chester, Pa., and spent his youth in Massachusetts and Vermont, where his father, the Rev. George Jaques, was a pastor of village churches. Mr. Jaques graduated from Lyndon Institute in Lyndonville, Vt., a private high school, and then, in 1946, from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.

After graduation, he worked briefly for Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. in Boston before returning to Bucknell for additional studies. He began his newspaper career at the Harrisburg Patriot-News in 1949, returning to the paper after a short stint in the Army during the Korean War.

In 1954 he moved to the Washington area, where he first worked for the Newhouse News Bureau, reporting for newspapers in Harrisburg, Newark, N.J., and Syracuse and Staten Island, N.Y. In 1966, he took a brief break from journalism, with a job as a legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Joseph Clark, a Pennsylvania Democrat. When the senator lost a bid for re-election in 1968, Mr. Jaques returned to newspaper work. He became Washington correspondent for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he worked until his retirement.

He was a 50-year member of the National Press Club and a 30-year member of the Gridiron Club, an organization of working and retired journalists.

In Washington, he was a member of the board of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, which conducts seminars for youth in cities throughout the country and abroad. Through that program, he would moderate regular journalism panels at the press club for young people.

A 40-year member of First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis, Mr. Jaques served there as an elder, deacon and trustee. He was an experienced backpacker, camper and hiker and had walked many miles on the Appalachian Trail. He was a member of the Potomac Appalachian Mountain Club in Washington and the Appalachian Mountain Club of Boston.

"His favorite thing was chopping wood," said Ms. Strickland.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. today at First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis, 171 Duke of Gloucester St.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Jaques is survived by his wife of 54 years, Frances Keeney Jaques, a reporter for The Capital in Annapolis; a son, Andrew M. Jaques of Rockville; another daughter, Suzanne B. Jaques of Summit, N.J.; a brother, Dr. Paul B. Jaques of Osterville, Mass.; a sister, Jeanne J. Inman of Bethesda; and three grandchildren.

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