SUNNY CAL JOURNAL: ODE TO L. T. ANDERSON - Extraordinary West Virginia Writer


By Bob Weaver 2004

Charleston Columnist L. T. Anderson, twice a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, died at age 83 in 2004, his millions of words falling silently into history.

After a career that spanned over 50 years, writing for the Charleston Gazette and later the Daily Mail, his literate, to-the-point, catchy columns will be no more.

Daily Mail Columnist Dave Peyton said no one can replace him. "He was by far my own favorite columnist," he said. The late Lee Maynard, author of "Crum" and other novels said he was the best newspaper columnist in America.

"No one could create a phrase like L.T.," said Peyton. "The longer he wrote, the better he got."

Peyton said L. T. would cut through the fluff and spin quicker than any writer he knew, and for many years was a "favorite" of the state house gang.

Writer Jack Cawthon says to this day, he misses his musings.

He poked fun at the politicians. Some complained and some accepted it with grace.

Personally, L. T. hooked me more than 50 years ago.

I thought about writing a catchy, fascinating, well-phrased tribute, but all I could think was how it would fall short, and how nice it would be if he was here to do it.

A few years ago I began to let him know how much I appreciated his writing.

He kindly inserted my name in his annual gregarious Christmas Card to folks with whom he communicated.

He was a quiet and gracious man, who struggled through various bouts of cancer, and aiding and assisting his wife who developed Alzheimer's disease.

L. T. started his newspaper career as a reporter for his hometown newspaper, the Hinton Daily News and joined the Gazette in 1950 as a copy editor.

Later he was the city editor and associate editor for the Gazette.

A World War II veteran, he received an honorary doctorate degree from West Virginia University in 1984 for his influence on the state's political scene. He received his journalism degree from Marshall University.

No one has come forth with the brilliance to replace him, so much so I have declined to call myself a writer.