Tom Brazaitis

On this date in 1940, Tom Brazaitis was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended John Carroll University on a basketball scholarship in 1962, where he became captain of the basketball team as well as sports editor of the student newspaper The Carroll News. Brazaitis worked as a political journalist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer from 1971 until 2002, becoming senior editor in 1998. Brazaitis was chief of The Plain Dealer’s Washington bureau for 19 years, covering such important events as President Nixon’s impeachment hearings. He wrote a syndicated column for over 20 years that was published in numerous papers, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Newark Star-Ledger. He married influential political journalist Eleanor Clift in 1989, and the couple collaborated on two books, War Without Bloodshed (1997) and Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling (2000). Brazaitis died on March 30, 2005, of kidney cancer. His battle with cancer was detailed in Clift’s book Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death and Politics (2008).

In a 2008 speech given by Clift at the 31st annual national FFRF convention, Clift described her late husband as “a card-carrying member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.” She recalled in Two Weeks of Life: “Tom drifted away from his faith and in recent years called himself an atheist.” D. 2005

“[Tom Brazaitis] was a fallen-away Catholic who in the last years of his life proudly embraced atheism. And he did not flinch those last few months [of his life].” 

—Eleanor Clift, speech at the 31st annual FFRF convention, 2008

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor; Photo by Brent Nicastro

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