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Energy, equanimity, and perspective

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WHEN he was editor of The Christian Science Monitor, DeWitt John would literally design each day's front page with both hands. He would shift a red grease pencil from left hand to right and back again with unassuming ambidexterity as the day's dispatches were assigned to the columns of the Monitor. This versatility, both comfortable and brisk, symbolized, in its modest way, a person and a professionalism commanding uncommon energy, equanimity, and per-spective.

It was a remarkable devotion to the Church of Christ, Scientist -- to its newspaper, its religious periodicals, to its progress as a pioneering religious denomination -- that DeWitt's friends and colleagues valued last week when news of his passing, while on vacation in Europe, reached Boston.

He was editor of this newspaper for six years, from 1964 to 1970. He was editor of The Christian Science Journal and Sentinel and The Herald of Christian Science for three years. He was a member of The Christian Science Board of Directors for 10 years. He worked as writer, radio, and television producer, division head, assistant manager and manager of the church's Committee on Publication for 15 years.

He joined the church just before high school, took an undergraduate degree from Principia College and graduate degrees from both the University of Chicago and Columbia, and served as a Navy officer during World War II.

In 1958, he was publicly listed as a Christian Science practitioner -- the full-time healing ministry of the Christian Science Church -- and became a teacher of Christian Science in 1964.

While DeWitt himself was a respecter of chronologies, especially if they illustrated human progress out of limitation, he often warned against settling for superficialities.

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