Longtime NPR correspondent Wade Goodwyn dead from cancer at age 63

 June 10, 2023

Wade Goodwyn, a longtime national correspondent for NPR based in Dallas, Texas, has reportedly passed away, according to Deadline.

The reporter best known for his recognizable voice on the radio died on Thursday at the age of 63 following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Remembered as an "amazing storyteller"

NPR CEO John Lansing announced the news of Goodwyn's untimely death in an email to staffers that said, "For generations of public radio listeners, including me, he was one of NPR's iconic voices."

"Aside from that instantly recognizable voice, Wade was a uniquely gifted storyteller and a brilliant reporter," he added. "From the first words of one of his stories, you always knew you were being taken on a journey by a master of our craft. You were in for a true treat, whatever the subject matter."

The famed correspondent was also praised as a "poet" by NPR senior editor Steve Drummond. "The little detail, the little color or sound that he'd seen out in the field, and it just made what he said sparkle," he said. "He was just an amazing storyteller."

"A voice that defined Texas"

Goodwyn was also fondly remembered by his former coworker and personal friend Rick Holter, now the vice president of news at North Texas public radio station KERA, who described Goodwyn's voice as "a mellifluous bass smoked in barbecue sauce and finished in honey. It's a voice that defined Texas for NPR listeners across the country and the globe."

Holter shared how they had often hung out together over the decades, playing golf, enjoying barbeques, and traveling with their wives or sharing news about their families and pets, and wrote that "the thing you didn't hear on the radio was that beneath all that Lone Star bravado Wade was, well, a softie. He couldn’t resist an underdog, and he would dig and dig and dig until he brought their stories to light."

"Wade’s departure will leave holes in a lot of lives: his family, friends, colleagues across the country and listeners around the world. And a few golf courses, too," he concluded.

Excelled at "infusing humanity" into all of his stories

According to NPR, Goodwyn was born and raised in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas with a history major, and moved shortly thereafter to New York City to be a political organizer. That is where he got "hooked" on listening to NPR and soon moved back to Texas to pursue a career as a freelancer in public radio.

His first big assignment was covering the federal government's assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993, and other big stories for Goodwyn included the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, as well as hurricanes that struck Texas and Louisiana, not to mention the Boy Scouts sexual abuse scandal, numerous mass shooting incidents, and the rise and fall of many Texas-based political figures.

"He was really good at infusing humanity into those situations that sometimes people just want to turn away from," NPR managing editor Vickie Walton-James said of Goodwyn. "He was able to put you in the place and to help you understand what had happened to someone and what the broader implications were."

"Wade covered a hurricane in August 2020 in the midst of a pandemic," she added with regard to how he kept working even after being diagnosed with cancer. "He was covering the Boy Scouts scandal. He wanted to be in the mix. He wanted to do as much as he could. That's just the kind of spirit that he had."

Just recently retired

According to Texas media outlet Chron, Goodwyn had finally retired from his longtime gig at NPR just a little more than a month ago in April.

He is survived by his wife, Shannon, and their two daughters, Hannah and Sam.

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