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Hubert Pryor, Early Editor of AARP Magazine, Dead at 92

Hubert Pryor, an early editor of AARP The Magazine and veteran journalist, died July 15, at age 92.

Hubert Pryor, an early editor of AARP The Magazine (then called Modern Maturity), and a veteran journalist, died July 15 at his home in South Palm Beach, Fla. He was 92.

Pryor had a colorful military and journalistic career before he was named editor of Modern Maturity in 1967. The magazine had been created in 1958 as a bimonthly publication by AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus. But its content, the variety of subjects and the quality of writing and photography were upgraded and professionalized under his direction.

The publication also grew from a circulation of 700,000 to 7 million before he retired in 1983. Today, the publication has been renamed AARP The Magazine and has a circulation of over 23 million. When he retired, he was also associate director of AARP.

Born in Argentina of British and American parents, Mr. Pryor was educated in English schools in Buenos Aires and the University of London. He began his career as South American correspondent of the wire service then known as the United Press. In 1940, he went to work in the United States as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune.

Later, he was director of shortwave news for CBS and also covered the United Nations in its earliest days, following World War II. During the war years, he served as an officer in U.S. naval intelligence.

For 15 years after that, he worked as senior editor of Look magazine, and for four years as editor ofScience Digest.

After leaving AARP, Pryor retired to southern Florida and became a contributing columnist for the Palm Beach Daily News from 1998 to spring 2008. He also began writing inspirational essays, many with the common themes of striving and reflection. That message is reflected in this excerpt from a 2005 essay, "The Other Half of Life."

"The teachings of this and every age of history remind us that we need to stop moving from time to time. We need to take our bearings, to scout the terrain, check our objective and, above all, take stock of our resources.

I'm reminded of the extraordinary journey in the 1840s of the first immigrant train to travel from early settlements in Kansas all the way across to the fertile coast of California. With no reliable maps to follow, the travelers persisted for month after month—across the plains, through one range of mountains, across a searing desert, then over a second, even higher mountain range. Starting out in wagons and in the saddle, they reached their destination finally in bare feet.

Almost every one of hundreds of daily stops meant a time of reckoning and inspiration for the next day's push forward.

For us, in our daily travel through life, the lesson of that first immigrant train can be an education, a lesson in balancing action with reflection. It was a lesson imposed on them by the sheer need to survive and achieve their objective. Maybe we need to remind ourselves of it for our own sake. We need to be still as well as active."

In 1940, Pryor married Ellen May Ach of Brooklyn, N.Y. They had three sons: Alan of Novato, Calif., and Gerald and David of New York City. Pryor later was married to Roberta Baughman Smith of Claremont, Calif., and then to Luanne Williamson van Norden of Denver.  He is survived by his sons, six grandchildren and a brother, Louis Pryor of Palm Beach.

A memorial service in Palm Beach is planned for fall.

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