Gloria Cole Sugarman — long-time Westport resident, national and local journalist, social justice advocate, and expert cook and hostess — died peacefully on November 29, of COVID-19. She was 93 years old.
“She lived a vibrant, rich life,” her family says. That’s certainly true.
Gloria covered events ranging from the trial of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers to innovations in laser surgery. Her favorite assignments included interviews with Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra and Paul Newman.
In 1981 she won a Matrix Award from the Association for Women in Communications.
Gloria was a prodigious interviewer. After moving from New York, where she worked as an interviewer for the Tex and Jinx radio show, she was among the first journalists to join the staff of Fairpress, where she was known as the “fastest typewriter in the East.”
Co-workers and fellow Westporters Mary-Lou Weisman and the late Shelley List became her close friends. The staff was slim in the early days, so Gloria willingly wrote obituaries and wedding announcement as well as feature articles.
She soon turned her strong interviewing skills on local celebrities, like Erica Jong.
Besides reporting, Gloria conceived, designed and edited arts and leisure sections for Fairpress and the Stamford Advocate. She also wrote regular travel and entertainment features and personality profiles for the New York Times, Connecticut Post and Westport Magazine.
In her later years she married the love of her life Tracy Sugarman, a renowned artist, illustrator and author. They were wed for 13 years, before he died.
Gloria was a high-spirited, affectionate, accomplished woman who loved to dance, entertain and cook. She was famous for her July 4th fireworks parties, held on the patio of her waterfront home on Owenoke.
She is survived by her children Loren, Michael and Suzanne. and 6 grandchildren: Rebecca, Jacob, Benjamin, Ellie, Elijah and Madeline. Her grandson Daniel predeceased her.
The family will hold a memorial service in the spring. In lieu of flowers, they suggest donations to charities supporting civil and human rights, and social justice.