Barth Healey, an editor at The New York Times for three decades who also wrote the newspaper’s stamp column from 1988 to 1993, died Saturday at a hospice in Melville, N.Y. He was 68.
The cause was complications from prostate cancer, said his son Matthew.
Drawing on his experience as a foreign correspondent and editor, Mr. Healey mixed straight-up news with social and political commentary to explore the world of philately in his column, “Stamps,” delving into the use of stamps as tools of political propaganda and public awareness. Among the topics he discussed were anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany, the Chinese adoration of Mao and the reach of American pop culture overseas, as evidenced by the “Rocky” stamps released in several African and Caribbean countries.
John Bartholomew Healey was born in New York City on Sept. 22, 1939. He graduated from Regis High School in Manhattan in 1956 and received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., in 1960.
He began his journalism career in 1957, working as a clerk for The New York Times; it was there that he met his wife, Natalie (Lee) Healey, a secretary to Harrison E. Salisbury, then an assistant managing editor. The Healeys were married in 1966 in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, where Mr. Healey was working for the aid organization Catholic Relief Services.
Mr. Healey joined The Wall Street Journal upon returning to the United States and was the Rome bureau chief for the A.P.-Dow Jones News Service from 1969 to 1978. Among the stories he covered was the kidnapping of 11 oil ministers during an OPEC meeting in Vienna in December 1975.
In 1980, he rejoined The Times, where he was an editor on the business, news and foreign desks.
Mrs. Healey died in 2002. Mr. Healey is survived by his sons, Matthew, of Port Washington, N.Y., who is a page designer at The Times, and Adam, of Charlottesville, Va.; his sisters, Beth Kossuth of Boston and Kate Sheehan of Niles, Mich.; one grandson, and his partner of four years, Jane Thomas.