Remembering Gloria Cole Sugarman

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 Cole

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.

Gloria Cole Sugarman with a painting by her husband, Tracy Sugarman.

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.

6 responses to “Remembering Gloria Cole Sugarman

  1. I was good friends with Jo Fox Brosious, the founder of Fairpress. One time, in the winter of 1974 or maybe early 1975, we drove up to the Boston Garden, in a snowstorm, to see the Knicks play the Celtics. The Knicks lost.

  2. Gloria Cole Sugarman was my closest friend here at Watermark, and I am devastated by her loss. In our Westport days, our two husbands were friends, both being graphic artists…but in those days I hardly knew Gloria, admiring and envying the woman and her career from afar. It was here that I came to know the real Gloria–warm, bright, self-effacing, well-informed. And still beautiful, in spite of age. We dined together each night, shared numerous activities, including writing…our newly-formed writers’ workshop, included a retired professor (in creative arts) who led our efforts, and the workshop became history here. With whatever days left me, I shall surely miss my dear friend Gloria. She is irreplaceable.

  3. Peter Gambaccini

    Fairpress was my first full-time job. Gloria’s example helped make it a pleasure and a pleasant experience. Her kindness and professionalism and talent were a boon and a crucial lesson for a rookie journalist. She never made me feel like the in-over-his-head 23-year-old I was, and I bless her for that. Plus she let me use her tennis court! A truly great woman of Westport … she is missed.

  4. I only became to Gloria where she last lived. It was a great pleasure. I always felt as though I had known her forever. I hope Gloria is at peace now. Losing her from this terrible illness saddens me more. I miss her kind words she said to me each week. I wish her family peace as Gloria always had nice words to say of each..:. Bless.

  5. Linda Pomerantz Novis

    A special memory, once riding with her on the train from Westport into the city.. (she knew my mom and my stepfather..)

  6. Thank you so much for your kind words about mom. She will be missed …