James M. Naughton, a retired Inquirer editor who embraced life with uncommon delight - his legendary pranks included wearing a chicken costume at a presidential news conference and springing all manner of livestock on unsuspecting colleagues -- died Saturday in Florida. He was 73.
He battled prostate cancer for more than a decade. His death was announced by a posting on his facebook page. "Friends of Jim," it read: "Thank you for the extraordinary messages of friendship, encouragement and celebration. Your love, with ours, helped him cross to the other side."
Naughton stepped down as the Inquirer's executive editor in 1996 after 19 years at the newspaper. He became president of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he retired in 2003 and lived with his wife, Diana, his childhood sweetheart from Ohio.