Wendt, Top Editor At ‘Chicago Today,’ Dead At 99

By: E&P Staff

Lloyd Wendt, who was the last editor and publisher of the old Chicago Today tabloid, has died at the age of 99.

Wendt died Sunday, Oct. 21, in Sanford, Fla., where he had lived since being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, his daughter, Bette Jore, confirmed in a telephone interview with E&P Thursday.

In addition to his more than 40 years as a reporter and editor for Chicago newspapers, Wendt wrote “a shelf-full of books that are required reading for anyone interested in the city’s history,” Chicago Tribune staff reporter Trevor Jensen wrote in an obituary Thursday.

Among those books was “Chicago Tribune: The Rise of a Great American Newspaper.”

Hired in 1934, Wendt’s first newspaper job in Chicago was covering City Hall. From 1943 to 1946, he served as a lieutenant commander with naval intelligence, according to the Tribune obit.

Returning to the Tribune, Wendt was a feature writer, city editor, Sunday editor, and editor of the Sunday magazine.

Wendt was named editor of Chicago’s American in 1961. That paper later became Chicago Today, and Wendt became its editor and publisher.

When Chicago Today was shuttered in 1974, he became associate editor of the Tribune. He retired a year later.

Several of Wendt’s books were written in collaboration with the well-known Tribune reporter Herman Kogan. They chronicled such Chicago characters as the corrupt aldermen “Bathhouse” Coughlin and “Hinky Dink” Kenny, and the outsized Mayor William Hale Thompson. In “Give the Lady What She Wants,” Wendt and Kogan presented a warts-and-all history of the Marshall Fields department store.

A native of South Dakota, Wendt got his first newspaper job as a reporter, columnist, and theatre critic for the Sioux Falls Press while a student at Sioux Falls Community College. Later, and still as a student, he was telegraph editor for the Daily Argus Leader.

Wendt was predeceased in 1980 by his wife, the former Helen Sigler. In addition to his daughter Bette Jore, a retired Orlando Sentinel public relations manager, he is survived by his wife Martha; a stepson Michael Toale; and three grandchildren.

A memorial service is set for 2 p.m. Nov. 1 in Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Fla., the Tribune reported.

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