Roscoe Drummond, who passed on late last week, was always known for his irresistible mixture of qualities. He was always in rare good humor, exuberant and vivacious, and was never seen to be up-tight in any journalistic crisis. Yet he was driven by a deep, purposeful concern for the welfare of the American government and people in their many troubles. The half century of writing commentary for this newspaper and later for his widespread national syndicate was a continuous search for realistic solutions to public problems. He had been a hard-working Monitor reporter, executive editor, and Washington bureau chief.
Three decades after Mr. Drummond came to the Monitor, he was eager to serve a wide range of Americans with his columns, and he soon had a newspaper syndicate of some 150 newspapers to which he sent two columns a week. But he never turned away from the Monitor. He frequently supplied what are called op-ed page commentaries, written especially for the Monitor.
Mr. Drummond held a special position in the American news media. He spoke for moderation in the often rugged and self-centered ways of American politics, and he wrote with high respect for public servants who worked for what they thought was right, rather than for political advantage. He quietly watched the directions of the Democratic Party turn from the reforms of the 1930s to the hardened dogmas of the '50s and thereafter. That was one reason why he leaned against the trend and toward moderate conservatism. He was independent, however. He was as close to President Eisenhower as any reporter, and was part of his intimate circle. But he did not accept the ''massive retaliation'' policy of the Eisenhower secretary of state, John Foster Dulles.
Roscoe's countless friends well knew that he was not in the slightest embarrassed by his very short stature and young-looking face. One of Roscoe's favorite stories was about the early morning when he was alone in the Monitor bureau at the National Press Building. The door opened and a distinguished senator came in, looked at the youthful figure at his desk, and said, ''Boy, where can I find Roscoe Drummond?'' A discreet curtain was usually drawn over the senator's chagrin by the only other person who could tell the story. Roscoe would not want to embarrass him in public.