Newsman Kuralt Buried on N.C. College Campus

From Associated Press

Remembered as a “national treasure” for his reports while traveling America’s back roads, Charles Kuralt was buried Tuesday on the college campus where his journeys in journalism began.

The beloved CBS newsman, who died at 62 on the Fourth of July, was buried in a 200-year-old cemetery at the University of North Carolina, where he graduated in 1955 and edited the Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper.

“I knew this was the place, and Charles is back home,” said William Friday, a former UNC president and lifelong Kuralt friend. “He made us feel proud, he made us feel better and he made us do better.”


Scores of people poured into the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery to pay their respects to the esteemed reporter, considered the consummate TV chronicler of American culture through his “On the Road” reports.

“He was too good to leave, he had too much to tell us,” PBS talk-show host Charlie Rose said at a public service after the burial. More than 1,600 mourners filled the university’s Memorial Hall, fanning themselves with programs in the sweltering heat.

“All of us, when we heard the story [of Kuralt’s death], wanted to say, ‘Stop--one more story, one more conversation. Introduce me to one more person that reflects America. Give me one more gentle reminder of who we are and what the great fabric of this nation is about,’ ” Rose said. “He was a national treasure.”

Kuralt, a North Carolina native, wrote a letter July 3 requesting Friday’s help in securing a plot in the small, crowded university burial ground. The next day, Kuralt died at New York Hospital of heart disease and complications from lupus.

Friday said Kuralt’s letter, which arrived only Tuesday, described Chapel Hill as “a moving place, the more I think about it.” His remains lie among former UNC presidents and professors.

Kuralt reported from Vietnam, Latin America and other world hot spots, and he anchored CBS’ “Sunday Morning” for 15 years until he retired in 1994. He won a dozen Emmys and three Peabodys, and he wrote six books.


But he is best remembered for “On the Road with Charles Kuralt,” his 13-year series of stories celebrating ordinary Americans in out-of-the-way places.

Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. described Kuralt as “the man with the big, rich, warm voice who loved every place he went and found goodness in everyone he found.

“He loved our North Carolina mountains, but he belonged to America,” Hunt said.

Among those attending the services were CBS anchorman Dan Rather and correspondent Harry Smith.