Television newsman Harry Reasoner had a fascinating personal life with a wife that gave up her career to look after their children, only to have the star leave her for a much younger woman.
Harry Reasoner’s ex-wife, Kathleen Carroll Reasoner, initially graduated from St. Paul, Minneapolis’ William Mitchell College of Law in 1952. She was a member of the prestigious Minnesota bar.
Before her death, Kathleen was involved in civic affairs. She was also the chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Southbury Training School, a Connecticut state institution for the mentally disabled.
The former lawyer ended up giving up her practice and career when she got married to Harry. Kathleen chose to devote her time to her family and take care of their seven children.
PROBLEMS IN THE RELATIONSHIP
Kathleen was survived by five daughters, two sons, two sisters, and only two grandchildren. According to Douglass K. Daniel’s book, “Harry Reasoner: A Life in the News,” Harry’s marriage to his wife was troubled.
It was alleged that the “60 Minutes” star was a smoker and drinker. In June 1979, Kathleen accompanied her husband to an assignment where producer Bill McClure could sense a strain between the pair.
KATHLEEN & HARRY’S SEPARATION
By September, the couple’s lawyers were already discussing the duo’s separation. His daughter, Jane, said the news came as a shock to her but noted how obvious it was that some things in their relationship weren’t working.
Jane acknowledged how difficult it had been for her parents to decide to separate. She shared how Harry and Kathleen had gone through some really tough times before giving in to their issues and going separate ways.
While Harry’s estranged wife continued living in their Long Lots home, he’d started seeing a woman named Tamara Newell that summer. The journalist was so serious about Newell that he even gave her a ring.
Their relationship had initially begun as an affair but had somehow grown into a commitment. The National Enquirer even tried to get photographs of the two love birds at one point.
What was most interesting about Harry’s lover was that she was much younger than him and Kathleen. She was so young that one woman once asked if Newell was Harry’s daughter, and the age difference affected him, with the book stating:
“It would devastate him.”
Harry leaving Kathleen for a younger woman didn’t go down well with his peers. It also happened that Kathleen was already battling cancer when Harry decided to leave her, making it seem as if he didn’t want to care for her.
The journalist’s wife believed her husband was going through a midlife crisis. Sadly, she became so bitter about the transgression that they never reconciled, and they seldom saw each other over the years.
By the time the former wife of the CBS News correspondent died, she was 60. She passed away in October 1986 at her Westport, Connecticut home after a battle with cancer.
For his book, “Before the Colors Fade,” Harry’s book jacket was photographed by Newell. Even though he never named her in it, he credited Newell with convincing him to go back to CBS and rebuild his professional career.
Things didn’t go according to plan for Newell and Harry. They never got married, and in “Harry Reasoner: A Life in the News,” it was said that she had a drinking problem which she left New York and Harry to go and address.
Newell got married and had a child but went back to the famous journalist a few years later. They never tied the knot together but remained close until Harry’s death.
Instead, the television personality married Lois Weber, another young and blond woman, in 1988. The pair had met at a New York restaurant while Harry dined out with Bernie Cohen.
Unfortunately, some of the star’s children didn’t approve of the union. His daughter Ellen said she had a bad feeling about Weber while her sister, Ann, questioned what the icon saw in the young nurse.
Harry’s youngest daughter burst into tears when she found out he was going to marry Weber. However, he insisted that he too deserved to be happy and told Newell he couldn’t stand being alone anymore.
Despite their misgivings about the union, all of Harry’s children attended the Congregational United Church of Christ matrimony. Sadly, Weber lost her husband after his health continued to decline.
On August 6, 1991, Harry died at age 68 at the Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, Connecticut. Tom Goodman, a CBS News spokesman, revealed that he passed away of cardiopulmonary arrest.
Mary’s [Ray Reasoner] Bed, Bath & Beyond co-workers on Westport Avenue confirmed her identity as the daughter of the CBS newsman [Harry Reasoner].
At the time, Royce Bartlett, police inspector, said the incident was under investigation. Luckily, Weber survived the fall and was reported to be in good condition at the Norwalk Hospital.
Weber wasn’t the only Reasoner family member to attempt suicide. In December 2016, Harry and Kathleen’s daughter, Mary Ray Reasoner, 60, jumped to her death at the parking garage of Norwalk Hospital.
She was survived by her siblings Stuart, Elizabeth, Ann, Ellen, Jane, and Jonathan Andrew. Mary’s Bed, Bath & Beyond co-workers on Westport Avenue confirmed her identity as the daughter of the CBS newsman.
Public records revealed that Mary’s County Street condominium was subject to a foreclosure sale on January 10, 2015. She had been a graduate of Staples High School, with her family living in Westport for years.