James George Hadjin, a Newsday reporter and editor for 31 years, died March 19 of congestive heart failure.
Hadjin, who was 93, died at the home of his son Tom in Pooler, Georgia, his family said. Born Demetrious Hadjinanos to Greek immigrant parents in Manhattan in 1923, Hadjin lived in Yorkville until his family moved to Queens when he was in his late teens.
He joined the Navy in 1943 and served in the South Pacific on an amphibious landing craft. Hadjin participated in the invasion of Okinawa, the final naval battle of World War II.
After the war, Hadjin studied English at New York University on the GI Bill. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, he embarked on a career in journalism, calling himself Jim Hadjin in his byline.
Hadjin worked for many years as a general assignment reporter for Newsday, covering everything from cops and courts to politics. The story that got the most attention, he told his family, was a 1960 article about a Greek Orthodox family that contacted their priest at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Hempstead after they noticed a small painting of the Virgin Mary weeping real tears. Within days, their family’s apartment was overrun by believers and skeptics who wanted to see the lithograph, which came to be known as “The Weeping Madonna.”
Hadjin was one of several Newsday reporters sent to investigate. He persuaded a priest to remove the painting from its frame, but could not find an explanation for the Madonna’s tears, Hadjin said in 2010 Newsday story.
“I had to be convinced,” said Hadjin. “I was skeptical. Miracle is a pretty strong word, but I don’t see what else it could have been.”
Hadjin was also a member of the Newsday team that covered the New York State legislature in Albany from 1959 to 1962. He later served as a replate editor, in charge of a small staff that updated stories and headlines for later editions of the paper. His final assignment was overseeing the paper’s coverage of four days of festivities marking the 1986 centennial of the Statue of Liberty. He retired that year.
Hadjin married Marianne Bolanz in 1960. The couple lived in Huntington for 47 years before they moved to Melbourne, Florida, in 2009. Marianne Hadjin, a Spanish teacher who worked in several Long Island schools, died in 2010.
Hadjin and his wife traveled extensively after he retired. He was a volunteer with the Huntington Township Concert Association and Habitat for Humanity. Hadjin was a voracious reader and political observer as well as a lifelong connoisseur of classical music, jazz and blues.
Hadjin was a dedicated Yankees fan, and a fan of the Jets and the Islanders. Unlike most Yankee fans, he also rooted for the Mets.
He remained alert and engaged to the end, his son Tom said.
In addition to Tom, Hadjin is survived by another son, Doug of Albany, and daughter, Jennifer Maxfield of Edmonton, Alberta. He was predeceased by his three siblings, Peter Hadjin, Alexandra Pappas and Ann Quast.
Hadjin’s body will be cremated, Tom Hadjin said. The family also plans to hold a memorial service at Advent Lutheran Church in Viera, Florida, and a celebration of life in Melbourne at a later date.