John P. Corr, 82, of Newtown Square, a former Inquirer reporter and feature writer, died Sunday, Nov. 20, of respiratory failure at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse.
Known to friends as Jack, Mr. Corr was a fixture in the Inquirer newsroom on Broad Street for 30 years, ending in 2000.
He started as a copy boy, performing editorial chores, and rose to reporter, feature writer, and foreign correspondent.
In the course of his career, he reported from Belfast, Northern Ireland; Pretoria, South Africa; and the Vatican, during one of Philadelphia Archbishop John Cardinal Krol's visits there.
Mr. Corr even took a turn as the Mystery Muncher, an anonymous taste-tester of eateries in Philadelphia.
He loved writing and storytelling, said his daughter, Helen, and had a brilliant way with words.
On July 17, 1991, he wrote a first-person account of unexpectedly swimming with dolphins at the Jersey Shore. He couldn't get past the ick factor.
"It's enough to make you jump out of your Jantzens," he wrote. "You're splashing around the surf some sunny day, and you suddenly find yourself being checked out by a 10-foot beast of the deep.
"Sure, it turns out to be good old Flipper, a playful dolphin that means no harm. Still, being approached in the ocean by any critter bigger than your Uncle Fred can shiver your liver."
On Dec. 2, 1988, Mr. Corr wrote a lighthearted review of a performance at the now-gone Valley Forge Music Fair in Devon. He used a clever approach to pique the reader's interest.
"Presidents Reagan, Carter, and Nixon hurled outrageous insults at President-elect George Bush last night," Mr. Corr wrote.
"Jimmy Stewart, Johnny Carson, and Jack Nicholson behaved foolishly, and the ghosts of Clark Gable and John Wayne flickered once again in the footlights.
"All of the above were interpreted by master impressionist Rich Little, who brought his galaxy of stars to the Valley Forge Music Fair in Devon."
Mr. Corr was born in Fishtown - he called himself a "Fishtonian," his daughter said. He graduated from West Catholic High School and served in the Navy before joining the Inquirer staff.
While working, he was accepted as a Nieman Fellow to study for a year at Harvard.
In 1964, he married Marjorie Matthews, and the couple had two children. She died in 2004.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by a son, John D.; a sister; and many nieces and nephews.
A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, and from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, in the Donohue Funeral Home, 366 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne. Interment is private.
Donations may be made to the Police Athletic League, PAL Headquarters, Attention: Pat Winner, Chief Development Officer, 2524 E. Clearfield St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19134, or via www.phillypal.org/support.