Peter W. Cox

Peter W. Cox, 67, Co-Founder of Alternative Newspaper in Maine, Dies

Peter W. Cox, publisher, editor and co-founder of Maine Times, a feisty alternative weekly newspaper whose investigations into environmental and child welfare issues often helped lead to state action, died on Nov. 18 at his home in Georgetown, Me. He was 67.

The cause was esophageal cancer, said his wife, Eunice.

First published in 1968, Maine Times was an early voice in the environmental movement, attacking the state’s plans to clear forests or build oil refineries.

Although Mr. Cox and his co-founder, John N. Cole, who died last year, were both former editors of daily newspapers, they steered their own paper away from routine coverage of fires and car accidents and city council meetings.

Maine Times focused instead on matters that others had largely overlooked, including the juvenile detention system and the mistreatment of mentally retarded patients. One of the few alternative weeklies to be distributed statewide, the paper was required reading for policy makers in Maine.

Mr. Cox was the paper’s publisher from the outset and its editor starting in 1978. He left after selling it in 1985 but briefly returned as editor in 1993 and wrote a column until 2000. The newspaper ceased publication in 2002.

Peter Winston Cox was born Aug. 13, 1937, in New York and raised in Washington. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1955 and from Yale in 1959.

At 23, he became editor of The Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake, N.Y. He moved to Maine in 1965 to become editor of The Bath Daily Times and began working closely with Mr. Cole after The Daily Times merged with The Times Record, in 1967. They founded Maine Times the next year.

Mr. Cox’s memoir, “Journalism Matters,” will be published in December by Tilbury House.

In addition to his wife, the former Eunice Theodore, he is survived by two children, Sara Winston Cox and Anthony Oscar Cox, both of Bowdoinham, Me.; a brother, Warren J. Cox of Washington, and two grandchildren.

Published in The New York Times, Nov. 23, 2004