Linda C. Baughman, 79, sportswriter, copy editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, avid reader, cat lover

By on June 13, 2018

Linda C. Baughman, 79, formerly of Philadelphia, whose career as a sportswriter and copy editor at the Inquirer spanned 33 years, died Saturday, May 26, 2018, of complications from a stroke at Lancaster General Hospital.

She had just moved to Luther Acres in Lititz to be near family. Before that, she had lived for three years at the Watermark at Logan Square. She was a longtime resident of the Spring Garden neighborhood.

Linda was employed by the Rochester Post-Bulletin in Minnesota before moving to Philadelphia to take a job in the Inquirer newsroom in February 1968. She worked in the sports department and then on the features copy desk. She retired in August 2001.

One of her specialties in the features position was editing the syndicated bridge column, because she knew the game. She was known for catching subtle mistakes that no one else could spot. She also blazed a trail for other women by working with printers to produce the newspaper pages.

“In the 1960s, Linda was I believe the first woman desk assistant at the Inquirer,” said David Sullivan, assistant managing editor for editing and standards. “That job involved going to the composing room floor to supervise the makeup of pages, back when production was based on Linotypes and hot lead. It was very much a man’s world until Linda stepped in, and while it had some friction, she handled it with skill and professionalism.”

On Wednesdays in the 1990s, she helped check the thrice-weekly Inquirer Neighbors sections in the composing room when the Inquirer and Daily News were based at 400 N. Broad St. She corrected errors in the type before the pages went to press.

Baughman, a voracious reader, loved animals, especially her cats, all of whom received unusual names. One was Semiramus, who had been a queen of Babylon. Another was Lady Jane Grey, who was briefly the queen of England in 1553. Hotshot was her final feline companion.

“Linda was a strong-minded, independent woman who was one of the most well-read people I’ve ever met,” said stepson Jon Ferguson. “She had a boundless curiosity, and as much as she loved books, Linda also liked to experience things firsthand. To that end, she had a thirst for travel.”

When at home, she rooted for Philadelphia’s sports teams, especially the Flyers.

After retiring, she volunteered at the Philadelphia Zoo and became a docent at the Fairmount Water Works along the Schuylkill. She also was active in the local Democratic Party.

Born in Bedford, Ohio, to John and Grace McFarlane Baughman, she graduated from Ohio University and went on to earn a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She was married to Robert A. Ferguson, who died in 1993 at age 67.

In addition to her stepson, she is survived by his wife, Ruth; their two daughters; and a cousin, Roger York.

Services were private.

Memorial donations may be made to the Philadelphia Zoo, c/o Damaris E. South, 3400 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19104.

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