Harrison County

Award-winning former Sun Herald editorial writer dies at 67

Sun Herald editorial writer Tony Biffle just before his retirement after 21 years at the newspaper.
Sun Herald editorial writer Tony Biffle just before his retirement after 21 years at the newspaper. Sun Herald

Tony Biffle, the author of hundreds of Sun Herald editorials that moved people to action, died Tuesday at the age of 67.

Biffle had a 21-year career with the Sun Herald and retired from the industry in 2015.

He won numerous journalism awards over his career.

Biffle gave a voice to the concerns and dreams of South Mississippians, most famously when he urged them in a front-page editorial to put their faith in “The Power of Prayer … and Plywood” the day before Hurricane Katrina hit.

Biffle, then-Executive Editor Stan Tiner and former Editorial Page Editor Marie Harris were Pulitzer Prize finalists for writing with poignancy and authority about the challenges the region faced after the monster storm.

Biffle won the national Walker Stone Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation for his work.

“Tony Biffle’s editorials have represented the voice of the Sun Herald to South Mississippi and world for two decades,” Tiner said in a story about Biffle’s retirement. “His editorial ‘The Power of Prayer … and Plywood’ is one of the most powerful of our time, bespeaking the dire hours before Katrina devastated our beloved Coast.”

Biffle started his journalism career as an Army information specialist/journalist in the Vietnam War.

After he was discharged, he attended Memphis State University on the GI Bill. While still in college, he went to work for The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis, first as a copy clerk, then a bureau reporter, a copy editor and a page designer.

He joined the Sun Herald as a copy editor but in less than a year took on the editorial writing role.

Former Executive Editor Mike Tonos promoted Biffle to the editorial team when former Sun Herald editor Jim Lund retired.

Said former Sun Herald Publisher Glen Nardi: “Tony was able to take complex issues ... and craft an opinion that was clear and understandable to our readers. His opinion writing was well-researched, factual and never ambiguous.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Former Sun Herald staff writer Paul Hampton contributed to this story.

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