He was the Top

Seymour and Audrey Topping at the Scarsdale home. Photograph by Bob Rozycki

Today we at WAG magazine – and its parent company, Westfair Communications Inc. – remember one of our star writers, Seymour Topping, former managing editor of The New York Times; foreign correspondent, first for The Associated Press and then for The Times; professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University; and administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, awarded by Columbia. 

That Top (1921-2020) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/08/us/seymour-topping-dead.html– who died Sunday at White Plains Hospital a month shy of his 99th birthday, following a stroke he suffered in late October – and his wife, the Sinologist and photojournalist Audrey Ronning Topping, would both write for WAG was truly extraordinary. (Indeed, we couldn’t think of one without the other.) Singly and together, they brought significant, thoughtful voices to the magazine at a time when Asia in general and China in particular are in the ascendant.

But they also played out in these pages a 70-plus-year love storyhttps://www.wagmag.com/in-love-and-war/ set against the backdrop of some of the most momentous events of the 20th century, including the triumph of the communist revolution in China, which Top covered incisively at great peril to himself.

Neither he nor Audrey – who survives him, along with four of their five daughters, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren – needed to write for us. Their legacy was already secure. That they did so is a tribute to their passion for journalism and foreign affairs; their humility and graciousness; and their team spirit. Both were always complimentary about the magazine’s efforts. And we think Audrey would agree that Top was as both writer and editor, a gentleman and a scholar.

To her and her family, we send out our heavy hearts.

And to Top, we say in memoriam (borrowing from Cole Porter):  You’ll always be the Top.


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