A graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, where he studied journalism and business, John learned the reporting trade at newspapers in Pennsylvania, culminating in a 26-year career with The Philadelphia Inquirer. As a reporter and columnist, he covered the Mafia, Ku Klux Klan, Presidential campaigns, gambling, courts, cops and murderers, farmers, strikes and miners.

In between journalism jobs, John was the administrative assistant to U.S. Rep. George Rhodes of Pennsylvania, and served as editor of The New Era, a labor unions weekly.

At The Inquirer, he was a news team member honored with the Pulitzer Prize for General Local Reporting in 1980 for The Inquirer's coverage of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. The same year he was cited with the Associated Press Managing Editor's Award for his work investigating the gangland murder of Philadelphia Mafia boss Angelo Bruno. Earlier in his career he was honored by the Keystone Press, Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishing Association third place award for editorial writing.

John counts among his most memorable beats the State House in Trenton, N.J., where for five years he covered the Governor’s Office, State Supreme Court, Attorney General, Environmental Protection, the Casino Control Commission, the Legislature.

Retiring from The Inquirer in 1994, John and his wife, Ellie, a former teacher with the Philadelphia School District, moved to Vermont to pursue their favorite sport of skiing. John continues to write a Northeast Ski Report published in several newspapers and on line. In 1998-99 John was editor of Ski Racing International Magazine, supervising reporters covering World Cup skiing, the U.S. Ski Team, college and cross-country skiing events.

He also continued to write the Senior Traveler column for the Inquirer Travel Pages, a column honored among the best travel columns three different years by the Mature Market Resource Center. He began work as a freelance travel writer, with stories and essays appearing in magazines and newspapers worldwide.

Over the past few years, he was requested by Arcadia Publishing to compile a photographic history of the Mad River Valley in Vermont as part of Arcadia’s Images of America series.

John’s novel, Moonlight in Vermont, was selected as the best Romance of 2007 by the National Indie Excellence awards and was a finalist among Best Books, USABookNews.com in 2007, and was named an Editor’s Choice and Reader’s Choice by the publisher, iUniverse.com.

John lists membership in the North American Snowsports Journalists Assn., Eastern Ski Writers Assn., International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Assn., Vermont League of Writers, Local 10 of the Newspaper Guild, Communication Workers of America.

He and Ellie have a grown son and daughter, plus six grandchildren.

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All photos © Ellie Hilferty

Page updated May 28, 2012