Cover photo for Jonathan Margolis's Obituary
Jonathan Margolis Profile Photo
1940 Jonathan 2024

Jonathan Margolis

September 25, 1940 — January 29, 2024

Jon Margolis, the veteran national political reporter for the Chicago Tribune, died January 29, 2024 at the age of 83 at University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Vermont.

Born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1940 to William and Mars Margolis, he attended Rutgers Preparatory School in New Brunswick and went on to study history at Oberlin College, graduating in 1962. A passionate newspaper reader from childhood and a self-declared “politics junkie," Jon began a career in the news business as a reporter first for the Bergen Record in Hackensack, New Jersey, then with the Miami Herald, the Concord, New Hampshire Monitor, and Newsday of Long Island, NY, where his coverage of the Attica Prison riots established his national reputation.

He served as Newsday's Albany Bureau Chief before leaving in 1973 to become a Washington National Political Correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. During his 23 years with the Tribune, he covered four presidential elections and was on the panel of the October 5, 1988 Vice Presidential debate between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle. In 1989, Margolis moved to Chicago to work for the Tribune as a sports columnist, correspondent-at-large and general columnist He was renowned for his clever ledes and for his cogent interviews with rank-and-file voters, just two reasons his political work is featured in journalism schools across America.

After leaving the Tribune, Margolis taught classes as an adjunct at various Vermont-based colleges. For a decade ending in November 2020, he wrote regularly for VT Digger, an online news source.

Margolis is the author of one work of popular history, The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964 (1999), and of The Quotable Bob Dole: Witty, Wise and Otherwise (1996), and How to Fool Fish with Feathers, (1992) a light-hearted beginner's guide to fly-fishing illustrated by the cartoonist Jeff MacNelly.

Margolis was a devoted fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Mets, an avid reader, and an ardent fly fisherman. He had been to 49 of 50 states and studied Yiddish and French throughout his life. He thoroughly enjoyed dogs, opera, and a great cup of coffee.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Sally, children Katey and Michael,  daughter-in-law Amy,  granddaughter Shally, and sister Susanna. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to:

South Burlington Public Library, 180 Market Street, South Burlington, VT 05403

 Or Barton Public Library/P.O. Box 549/ Barton, VT 05822

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jonathan Margolis, please visit our flower store.


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