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NEW YORK — Mary Elizabeth "Betsy" Cronkite, the wife of former CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite, has died, the newsman's assistant said Wednesday. She was 89.

She died of complications of cancer Tuesday night at the couple's Manhattan apartment, said the assistant, Julie Sukman.

Walter Cronkite met his future wife, born Mary Elizabeth Maxwell, while they were both working at radio station KCMO in Kansas City, Mo. They married in 1940, and shortly afterward she became women's editor of the Kansas City Journal-Post.

While her husband was overseas reporting for United Press during much of World War II, she worked for Hallmark, publishing a company newspaper that also was distributed to members of the armed forces, Sukman said.

At the end of the war, she joined her husband in Brussels, Belgium, and later accompanied him to Moscow, where he worked for two years as chief correspondent for UP. The couple eventually moved to New York. He joined CBS in 1950.

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In his 1996 biography, "A Reporter's Life," Cronkite wrote: "I attribute the longevity of our marriage to Betsy's extraordinary keen sense of humor, which saw us over many bumps (mostly of my making), and her tolerance, even support, for the uncertain schedule and wanderings of a newsman."

She is survived by two daughters, Nancy and Kathy, a son, Walter III, and four grandsons.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete on Wednesday morning.

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