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Former UPI foreign editor Andrew Tully dies

By Frank T. Csongos   |   Updated March 25, 2016 at 11:27 AM

WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) -- Andrew Frederick Tully III, onetime foreign news editor for United Press International whose career spanned more than four decades in journalism, has died. He was 68.

Tully, called Andy by friends and family, died of congestive heart failure March 6 at his home in Gaithersburg, Md., his stepdaughter Jessica Steinberg said.

He also worked as an editor at The Associated Press, The Washington Post and The Washington Times before joining Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Washington, D.C. For more than 10 years at RFE/RL, the congressionally supported U.S. international media outlet, Tully wrote about issues involving U.S. foreign policy, Russia, the Balkans, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. He retired from RFE/RL in 2010 and became a writer for Oilprice.com, an energy news website, until shortly before his death.

Mel Laytner, a former fellow wire service staffer at UPI, said Tully wrote, or rewrote, breaking news with style, grace, wit and drama.

"On Dec. 29, 1975, a terrorist bomb blew up the La Guardia Airport terminal in Queens. An out-of-town staffer returning home from visiting New York pulled up to the terminal in her taxi moments after the bomb exploded," Laytner said. "She called in and Tully was on the desk. With the blood, smoke and chaos, no surprise that she was too shaken to dictate anything coherent."

"I said just to 'tell me what you see,'" Tully said afterward. "The lead was very, very close to this: 'I saw a head...just a head...it was sitting on the counter.'"

The explosion, which occurred near the TWA baggage claim terminal, killed 11 people and seriously injured 74. The bombing was never solved.

At UPI, Tully handled stories ranging from earthquakes, floods, political corruption and wars to presidential elections. He rose to become the news agency's foreign editor.

Tully was born in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., on March 24, 1947, to Andrew F. Tully, Jr. and Mary Tully. He grew up in Chevy Chase, Md., attended St. Anselm's Abbey School in Northeast D.C. and graduated from Fordham University in New York. He also earned a master's degree from Columbia School of Journalism in 1977.

Tully's late father was one of the first American reporters to enter conquered Berlin in the spring of 1945. He was an award-winning journalist and columnist.

Andy Tully is survived by his wife, Linda (Cranney), and son Joseph Andrew Tully of Washington, D.C.; stepdaughter Jessica Steinberg, of Deale, Md.; stepmother Molly (Wood) Tully of Washington, D.C.; sister Sheila Tully Hamilton of Brunswick, Md.; and brothers Mark M. Tully of Madison, Maine, and John S. Tully.

Csongos is a former UPI and RFE/RL Washington bureau chief and longtime colleague of Tully's.

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