Kennett Love, who as a reporter for The New York Times saw firsthand the toppling of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran in 1953, died on May 13 at Southampton Hospital. He was 88 and had lived in Sag Harbor. The cause was respiratory failure, his partner, Blair Seagram, said.
According to an obituary in The Times, Mr. Love began work there in the paper’s clipping file rooms, known as the morgue, in 1948, after a short stint as a reporter at the Hudson-Dispatch in Union City, N.J. He became a reporter at The Times in 1950.
His posts included the Middle East, East and West Africa, Europe, and the United Kingdom, as well as the United Nations. He reported on the discovery and excavation of the Sun Ships of Cheops at the Great Pyramid in Egypt in 1954, then, two years later, the Anglo-French-Israeli war against Egypt. He was later dispatched to Cyprus in the midst of Israeli-Egyptian fighting.
In a 1954 letter to the foreign editor of The Times, Mr. Love described his awareness of the coup in Iran, writing, “The only instance since I joined The Times in which I have allowed policy to influence a strict news approach was in failing to report the role our own agents played in the overthrow of Mossadegh.”
Mr. Love was born on Aug. 17, 1924, in St. Louis to the former Mary Chauncey Potter and John Love. He went to the John Burroughs School there, then to Princeton University. His undergraduate studies were delayed between 1943 and 1946, during which he became and served as a United States Navy pilot. He returned to Princeton briefly in 1946 but received a bachelor’s degree in 1948 from Columbia College.
With the exception of his war years, Mr. Love spent much of the 1940s studying art, in Los Angeles at the Chouinard Art Institute and at the Art Students League of New York. He was an accomplished painter and photographer, Ms. Seagram said. He also was involved with the theater at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City and in classes with Sanford Meisner.
In 1959 and 1960, he was at Princeton’s School of Oriental Studies, having won a Carnegie Press Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations. That was followed by time as a contributing editor and founding stockholder of USA1, a magazine.
Subsequent years were spent as a Peace Corps planner and program evaluator at training centers in Ethiopia, Morocco, Tunisia, and this country. He spoke French, Arabic, and Spanish, according to a curriculum vitae he wrote.
As the Vietnam War swept national consciousness, Mr. Love became politically active as a co-founder of the War Tax Resistance with the War Resisters League. During roughly the same period, he had a research appointment at Princeton, where he wrote “Suez: The Twice-Fought War,” which was published by McGraw-Hill in 1969.
Mr. Love then re-established the journalism program at the American University in Cairo with a colleague. When war broke out in 1973, he became the Cairo correspondent for ABC News.
In the years that followed, Mr. Love was a widely published freelance writer. He also turned his attention to architectural design, overseeing the renovation of two duplex apartments into one at the Hotel des Artists in Manhattan, building a passive solar house on Northwest Harbor in East Hampton, and, later, a Federalist house in Sag Harbor.
He also took to the sea, making ocean voyages in his own boats and doing yacht deliveries for others. During the 1980s, he taught celestial navigation at the East Hampton Marine Museum in Amagansett. He was also the organizer of a Shakespeare reading group here and reviewed a Guild Hall production of “Romeo and Juliet” for The Star.
In addition to Ms. Seagram, Mr. Love is survived by two daughters, Mary Christy Love Sadron of France and Suzanna Potter Love of Maine, two sons, John Love of Pennsylvania and Nicholas Love of Maine. His sisters, Mary Lehmann of Columbus, Mo., and Nathalie Love of Santa Fe, also survive, as do five grandchildren and a niece and nephew.
A private service was held last Thursday. He was buried in Oakland Cemetery in Sag Harbor. A memorial on a date this summer will be announced.