Singleton covered the Attica prison riot of 1971 and 1988’s Lockerbie, Scotland, terrorist bombing. Kind to reporters who fed him notes and cool under pressure, Singleton set the standard for rewrite and facial hair, thanks to his mutton-chop sideburns. “He was like lightning on deadline,” said current News rewrite man Corky Siemaszko.
Raised in Morristown, Singleton snagged his first newspaper job at the Dover (N.J.) Advance. He relied on principle and “tremendous faith” as he made his way, never substituting hype for the facts as he cranked out stories, said daughter Jill Singleton. “He lived his own life according to his own rules.”
Singleton covered John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, and was close with Ono. “Editors pressed him to reach out to Ono (after Lennon was killed),” former colleague Owen Moritz said. “Out of respect for her grieving . . . he refused to call her for reaction.” Singleton is survived by his brother, Bob Singleton; daughters Nancy, 53, and Jill, 51, and son Mark, 52, along with four grandchildren: Stone Coggins, 20, Elijah Coggins, 18, Aaron Singleton, 14, and Emma Singleton, 12.
Singleton, who had suffered a stroke and heart attack, struggled with memory loss, but there were aspects of life he would never forget. When his daughter asked him to recall his telephone number, rather than answer with his home phone, he recited his old number at The News. Services arranged by the Lawton-Turso Funeral Home, Hoboken.