Gwen was an extraordinary and special person - one of the nation's leading lights in journalism, a gracious and inspiring colleague, and a warm and steadfast friend.
"She didn't mind telling anyone when she thought they were wrong, on camera", said Judy Woodruff, Ifill's co-anchor on PBS's "NewsHour".
As a reporter and correspondent and news anchor, Ifill covered six presidential campaigns and moderated two vice presidential debates.
She did not move through her career without criticism; at times she was lumped into that fictional collection of "liberal elites" by those likely ignorant of her history as a child of immigrant parents - a "preacher's kid" - and of her frequent and vocal criticism of contemporary journalism's failure to focus on serious issues.
"We all loved her", CNN's Jamie Gangel said, remembering Ifill as smart, amusing and fearless. In 1999, she was the first black woman to host a major national political show, Washington Week in Review. Yet Senator John McCain defended her in an interview with Fox News about the controversy and said, "I think that she will do a totally objective job because she is a highly respected professional". She also worked at the NewsHour as a senior correspondent. "She isn't putting on a sort of television face ... she's credible because you know it's Gwen", said former PBS news anchor Robin MacNeil in a video tribute to Ifill when she received the Newseum Institute's "Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media" in 2013.
"I loved covering presidential politics not so much because of the candidates, but because of the people it allowed me to talk to", she said.
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Video captured exclusively by NBC 4 NY shows a man being apprehended at the scene and placed into the back of a police vehicle. Smith is the manager of Terry Connors Ice Rink, what he called Comunale's old stomping grounds where he played youth hockey.
"Her dignity and grace, intellect and insight set the standard in American media and public life", Pelosi said.
Her early narrative is legendary, particularly to other aspiring women and journalists of color. And in a world where TV anchors commonly hide behind PR types, Ifill simply answered the emails that I sent her. Done! Ifill died Monday of cancer at age 61. Right away her feisty resolve was apparent to her colleagues as they grappled with a Black woman who would not suffer fools kindly.
Shortly before moderating the debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin in 2008, Ifill brushed aside concerns that she might not be fair because she was writing a book about Obama.
After an internship at The Boston Herald-American, she wrote about food there before reporting on education in the aftermath of the tumult over busing to desegregate schools in Boston.
The school is hoping to work with Ifill's family and friends to put together a program to honor her in the spring. Her first assignment was covering suburban politics as the bureau chief in Prince George's County. "The general sense about Gwen was that she had been not only 'in the infantry, '-she had certainly put in her time in the trenches-but that she absolutely lived up to our criterion of being willing to go against conventional attitudes".
Would she ever have wanted to become a candidate herself?