Obituary of Paul M. Raeburn

April 17, 2024

Paul Mark Raeburn died peacefully surrounded by family on April 17, 2024 of Parkinson's Disease. He was born in Detroit, Michigan on November 26, 1950, the son of the late Pat and Pauline Raeburn.

Paul attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the aim of being a physicist. While in school, he realized that writing and the arts were his true passions. After graduating from MIT, Paul studied jazz piano at the Berklee College of Music, and made his living as a professional musician for years. Paul continued to indulge his love of jazz throughout his writing career, playing in the Wyckoff Band and reviewing records for the Associated Press (earning himself the nickname "Doc Jazz").

During his musician years, Paul took up writing about science as a side gig. When he was  hired at the Lowell Sun as a beat reporter, Paul knew he'd found his purpose. When he was dispatched to cover the near disaster at Three Mile Island, Paul's writing was picked up by the AP, and his career as a science journalist began.

Paul believed in journalism as a means for change, and he passionately wrote about tobacco litigation and climate change. In his 40 year writing career, Paul worked as Science Editor and Chief Science Correspondent for the AP, Science Editor for BusinessWeek, and chief media critic for the Knight Science Journalism Tracker.

He wrote over 150 freelance articles for Discover, The Huffington Post, The New York Times Magazine, Scientific American, National Public Radio, and Psychology Today (among others). He was president of the National Association of Science Writers and a recipient of its Science in Society Journalism Award.

Paul also authored five books: The Last Harvest: The Genetic Gamble That Threatens to Destroy American Agriculture, Mars: Uncovering the Secrets of the Red Planet, Acquainted with the Night: A Parent's Quest to Understand Depression and Bipolar Disorder in His Children, Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We've Overlooked, The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting: How the Science of Strategic Thinking Can Help You Deal with the Toughest Negotiators You Know - Your Kids. He was also a frequent guest host of the radio show Science Friday and, later in his career, a regular on the Amazing Colossal Podcast with Gilbert Gottfried, who affectionately called Paul "Raybone."

Paul loved nature, hiking, reading, memorizing poems, musicals, good food and great conversation. He was as eager to take a road trip through a National Park as he was to eat his way through Italy. The father of five children, Paul spent his time with his children camping, teaching them about the natural world through fossil hunting and watching cicadas hatch in the backyard at night. He'd bring the whole clan to theater (regardless of whether or not they were willing participants).

He was a curious explorer of life, a lover of experience, and a storyteller, and he brought those passions to his work as a journalist and his roles as husband and father.

Paul is survived by his wife, Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn, sister Susan Hepner, five children – Matthew Raeburn (Hannah Johnstone), Alexander Raeburn, Alicia Raeburn Vayas (Joseph Vayas), Henry Raeburn, and Luke Raeburn – and grandchildren – Ramona Raeburn and Harvey Hay – and an expectant grandson this summer.


Funeral Services

Memorial Service

May 4, 2024

11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Greenwich Village Funeral Home

199 Bleecker St.

New York City, NY 10012

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Our deepest condolences to you Susan and your family on the passing of brother Paul. What an amazing person ,father, husband and brother to you Susan. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. All our love Susan. Gloria and Gino

Posted by: Gloria and Gino Tittarelli. (Mouti) - Stoney creek , Ontario Canada - Family Friend May 3, 2024
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