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  • #16
    John R. Thomson

    Born: December 6, 1914, (San Mateo County) California
    Died: August, 1986, Kansas City, KS, age 71 (unconfirmed)

    Kansas City sports writer;
    Graduated Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), 1935
    Was living in Kansas City by 1935.
    Kansas City, KS, Packing House, clerk, (April 2, 1940 census)
    Kansas City Kansan (KS), sports editor, March 5, 1945? - December 21, 1962?, managing editor, ? - April 26, 1977?

    Mother's maiden name: Crosson
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 11-24-2012, 06:52 PM.


    • #17
      John Hayes


      Philadelphia sports writer;
      Philadelphia Daily News

      John Michael Hayes---This John Hayes may or may not be the same person as above who wrote sports for the Philadelphia Daily News.

      Born: May 11, 1919, Worcester, MA
      Died: November 19, 2008, Hanover, NH, age 89,---d. of natural causes in retirement community.

      Graduated University of Massachusetts (Amherst, MA), 1941 (Bachelor's degree in business)
      Worcester Telegram
      Christian Science Monitor
      Associated Press

      Wife: Mildred Louise Hicks, born December 10, 1923, died West Lebanon, NH, June 28, 1989. John and Mildred married on August 29, 1950.

      Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, John Michael Hayes began his writing career as a newspaper reporter. Following service with the US Army during WWII, he moved to California where he wrote for such radio dramas as Sam Spade and Inner Sanctum. Moving to film in 1952, he has amassed credits which span over 40 years and include such enduring titles as Rear Window (1954) and Peyton Place (1957). For the last several years, Mr. Hayes has taught film writing to a new generation of artists at Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, but has now (2000) retired. (IMDb Mini Biography By: Garrett Michael Hayes.)

      In a career that spanned more than forty years, beginning with radio, the movies, and then television, the name John Michael Hayes has become synonymous with quality. Having produced a body of work that resulted in two Academy Award nominations, three nominations for awards by the Writers' Guild of America, and the Screen Laurel Award, Hayes amassed not only an impressive list of credits, but a reputation for writing solidly constructed screenplays, which were prized for their unique blend of sophisticated repartee and colloquial banter. John Michael Hayes was born on May 11, 1919, in Worcester, Massachusetts. His father had been a song-and-dance performer in vaudeville before starting a family, and proudly passed on a bit of the show business in his blood to his middle child and only son. As a boy Hayes spent a good deal of time out of school from the second grade through the fifth, suffering a series of illnesses. He began his own literary education though, reading whatever books and magazines he could obtain. By the age of nine, John Michael Hayes knew that he wanted to be a writer.

      During the early 1930s, the Hayes family relocated a number of times, from Detroit, Michigan to State Line, New Hampshire and back to Worcester, Massachusetts, wherever the elder Hayes could get work. During this time, Hayes first tried his hand at writing, joining the staff of a school newspaper. In junior high school, he became a staff writer on The Spectator, the school newspaper, and at age 16, he wrote for the high school yearbook as well as editing a Boy Scout weekly, The Eagle Trail. His work brought him to the attention of Worcester's Evening Gazette, and Hayes began penning articles about Boy Scout activities for the paper.

      Later stints with the Worcester Telegram and a profile in The Christian Science Monitor led to a job with the Associated Press. Working diligently, Hayes managed to amass enough money to attend Massachusetts State College.

      Eventually Hayes became interested in radio and put his editing and feature writing skills to work at small radio stations in northern Massachusetts, where he earned enough money to enroll at Massachusetts State College-later the University of Massachusetts-in Amherst. where he majored in English and continued pursuing his interest in radio.

      Following an internship with a radio station in Ohio, Hayes accepted a position as editor of daytime serials for Proctor and Gamble. When he was drafted into the Army during World War II, Hayes put the years spent learning his father's vaudeville routines to work, writing and performing in stage shows to entertain the troops.

      After the war Hayes embarked on a career as a radio writer in Hollywood, where he quickly found work writing for a variety of CBS shows such as The Whistler and Twelve Players. His stay in Hollywood was cut short though, when he was stricken with a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis. After nearly eighteen months in a veterans hospital, Hayes hitchhiked from Massachusetts to California where he was put back to work at CBS to write a new show for Lucielle Ball called My Favorite Husband. He never looked back.

      Specializing in comedy and suspense, Hayes turned out expert scripts for many popular series, including Amos and Andy, Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, Alias Jane Doe, Suspense and Richard Diamond, Private Detective. Among the most successful of Hayes's radio shows was The Adventures of Sam Spade, which truly showed off his flare for wisecracking comedy, as well as his nimble plotting abilities. Within three years Hayes was a top man in his field, with over 1,500 radio scripts to his credit. In a medium that relied on the spoken word, Hayes had become an expert in creating crisp, sophisticated dialogue.

      It was during this period that Hayes met and courted Mildred Louise Hicks, a high-style fashion model, whose professional name was Mel Lawrence and whose beauty rivaled that of the most stunning leading ladies who would later appear in his films. They were married on August 29, 1950.

      In 1951, Hayes caught the attention of Universal Pictures and was offered an opportunity to write for the movies. His first assignment was a World War II action film called Red Ball Express, which starred Jeff Chandler and Sidney Poitier. Hayes's next assignment at Universal was based on an original story of his own, which ultimately became Thunder Bay. It was his first of three scripts for James Stewart.

      Following Thunder Bay, Hayes signed with the Music Corporation of America's talent agency, MCA Artists. Within days his new agent, Ned Brown, had gotten him assignments at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, including Torch Song, a Joan Crawford vehicle which marked her return to MGM after eleven years. A Jeff Chandler western, War Arrow, followed, as well as an adaptation of Richard Harding Davis's The Bar Sinister for MGM. (Production was held up until 1955, though, and The Bar Sinister was released in the U.S. as It's a Dog's Life.)

      The move to MCA paid off, when in the spring of 1953 Hayes was handpicked by Alfred Hitchcock to adapt Cornell Woolrich's short story, Rear Window. The collaboration would be an important turning point for both. For Hitchcock, it marked the beginning of his most successful period, critically and commercially. For Hayes, it lifted him into the world of A-list directors, stars, and budgets, and began his long association with Paramount Pictures. Despite Hitchcock's reputation as a martinet, Hayes was given tremendous creative freedom, and together they created one of the most enduring works of the cinema.

      Both he and Hitchcock earned Academy Award nominations for their work on Rear Window. Neither went home with Oscars, but Hayes did receive an Edgar award from the Mystery Writers of America for his screenplay. Their styles and temperaments meshed and Hayes went on to write Hitchcock's next three films-To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, and The Man Who Knew Too Much. But when Hayes successfully challenged Hitchcock over a credit dispute, the relationship came to an abrupt end.

      Following his break with Hitchcock, Hayes was offered the job of adapting what was to become a scandalous bestseller, Grace Metalious's Peyton Place. Considered unfilmmable, Hayes tastefully reworked the novel's sensational elements into a sensitive drama that was a hit with audiences. Peyton Place became the top-grossing film of the year, and earned seven Academy Award nominations, including one for best picture, and one for Hayes's screenplay.

      Adaptations of successful plays followed, including Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker and But Not for Me, based on Samson Raphaelson's Accent on Youth. Hayes also worked uncredited on the Hecht-Hill-Lancaster film of Terence Rattigan's Separate Tables and on the Perlberg-Seaton film of Garson Kanin's The Rat Race. A number of popular novels Hayes adapted were not filmed.

      As the 1950s drew to a close, Hayes grew disenchanted with Hollywood. The disappointment inherent in writing projects that were shelved or canceled; the pressures of working at a studio; the constant prodding by his agent that he should try his hand at directing; and prolonged negotiations between the WGA and producers over residuals helped Hayes make the decision to move with Mel and their children-Rochelle and Garrett-to Maine, where their youngest children, Meredyth and Corey, were born.

      In spite of his being three thousand miles from Hollywood, offers continued to pour in. Hayes script-doctored an Elizabeth Taylor vehicle Butterfield 8 for MGM and followed with adaptations of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour, and Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden.

      In 1962 Hayes began a long association with Joseph E. Levine. Having achieved notoriety for his company Embassy Pictures, through the distribution of foreign-made exploitation films, Levine decided to move into production and purchased the rights to Harold Robbins's steamy bestseller The Carpetbaggers. Hayes's adaptation was a tremendous financial success and was quickly followed by another Levine production of a Robbins novel, Where Love Has Gone. With the promise of greater control and financial compensation, Hayes entered a long-term contract with Levine which eventually led to his appointment as vice president in charge of literary properties for Embassy. What Hayes didn't know was that most of Levine's plans would never come to fruition, and many of the scripts he wrote for the company remained unproduced.

      When Levine turned his attention to a bio-pic of Jean Harlow, he sacrificed quality for speed in a frantic rush to beat another Harlow production to the theaters. He called on Hayes to completely rewrite the script as it was being shot. After Harlow, Hayes took on another rewriting assignment, the Sophia Loren vehicle Judith.

      Hayes's script Nevada Smith, based on the character from The Carpetbaggers, went into production in 1965 and would remain his last feature credit for nearly thirty years. (Hayes did write the cult hit Walking Tall, but opted not to accept screen credit.) In the 1970s, while still serving out his contract with Levine's Embassy Pictures, Hayes turned to writing and producing for television, including the TV movie, Winter Kill, and the pilot for a series based on Nevada Smith.

      Hayes continued writing into the 1980s, scripting Pancho Barnes, a TV movie about the colorful life of the aviatrix, and coming close to production on a number of other projects. One of these projects, Iron Will, finally went before the cameras in the early 1990s. After nearly thirty years, Hayes was once again in the spotlight.

      In recent years John Michael Hayes had been a professor of film studies and screenwriting at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he and Mel relocated in 1988. In addition, Hayes lectured around the country at film festivals and universities about his career. He officially retired in 2000.

      In 2004, the Writers' Guild of America honored John Michael Hayes with its highest honor, the Screen Laurel Award. On November 19, 2008, John Michael Hayes passed away in Hanover, New Hampshire at the age of 89.

      A movie about Hayes's relationship with Alfred Hitchcock is being developed, based upon the critical biography Writing with Hitchcock. (IMDb Mini Biography By: Steven DeRosa.)
      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 02-27-2012, 07:29 AM.


      • #18
        Joseph James Greene Estoclet

        Born: September 24, 1868, Dublin, Ireland
        Died: Between December 20, 1913 - January 15, 1920.

        Philadelphia sports writer;
        Philadelphia editor, (June 6, 1900 census)
        Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, sports writer/editor, 1908 - 1910 (lived in Haddon Heights, NJ) (April 30, 1910 census)
        Wife Blanche and Daughter Estelle still lived in Philadelphia, PA, but Blache is listed as 'Widowed', indicating husband Joseph had died. (January 15, 1920 census)
        Immigrated to US, 1886, at age 18
        Captain of the Quaker City Wheelmen, (Philadelphia bicycle club), (May 14, 1894 - November 12, 1897)
        Philadelphia, The Call, June, 1901
        Secretary of the National Bowling Tournament committee, (February 3, 1907)
        New York Morning Telegraph - February 22, 1913
        Philadelphia News-Post - December 20, 1913

        Father: Alphonse Auguste Eugine Estoclet, born France; Mother: Mary Ann Greene, born Ireland; Wife: Blanche A. Conway, born January, 1878 in PA; Daughter: Estelle born around 1903 in PA. Joe married Blanche in 1897.

        New York Times, June 5, 1895.
        One of the hardest workers in the cause of cycling is Joseph Estoclet, who at present holds three important cycling positions. He is Captain of the Quaker City Wheelmen, one of the largest cycling organizagtions in this city [Philadelphia], and is the editor of The Quaker, a monthly paper published by his club organization, and, in addition, is Cycling Editor of the Philadelphia Press. Mr. Estoclet's membership in the Quaker City Wheelmen only dates back to 1892, but so earnest has he been in the cause of that organization that he has already filled several offices to which he was elected by his associates in the club.

        In 1893 he was elected Second Lieutenant, only to be promoted to First Lieutenant a year ago, and when his first term in the latter office expired he was elected Captain, with practically no opposition. As Captain of his club he is also a delegate to the Associated Cycling Clubs, and has already done good work in the later capacity.

        Mr. Estoclet is one of the most noted riders in Philadelphia, his especial forte being long-distance riding. He has a fancy for century runs, and has attended nearly all the Newark-Philadelphia rides. Last year he had a big hand in this affair, and this year organized a century run under the auspices of the Quaker City Wheelmen to Coatesville, Penn., and return.

        So popular was the latter affair that there were more riders in attendance than at any other similar event in the neighborhood of the Quaker City. Mr. Estoclet will also head a delegation of the members of his club on the double-century runs of the Manhattan Bicycle Club from New York to Philadelphia and return on June 22 and 23. He will also have charge of a large party at the national meet at Ashbury Park in July. (New York Times, June 5, 1895.)
        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 07-07-2013, 11:59 PM.


        • #19
          Henry Harold Singer---AKA Harry Singer

          Born: October 29, 1892, Baltimore, MD
          Died: Still alive as of March 19, 1958.

          New York sports writer;
          Lived Baltimore, at school, (June 6, 1900 census)
          Manhattan charge clerk for cutlery, (19th of ?, 1910 census)
          Manhattan newspaper sports editor (January 6, 1920 census)
          Manhattan editor of newspaper, (April 12, 1930 census)
          NYC, sports editor, newspaper industry, (April, 1940 census)
          Bronx Home News reporter, Lived Manhattan, (June 5, 1917 WWI Civilian Draft Registration)
          Bronx Home News reporter 1917? - 1948? (Lived 325 East 176th St., Bronx, NY, (April 27, 1942 WWII Draft Registration)
          New York Post, sports writer, 1948? - March 19, 1958?.
          The Bronx Home News merged with the New York Post in 1948. Henry went from one to the other.
          Harry became a member of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers' Association of America) in 1923.
          Blue-Gray eyes, Brown hair

          Harry became a newspaperman on November 4, 1913.

          Father: Bernard B., born Hungary, June, 1868; Mother: Carrie M, born Germany, September, 1864; Brother: Marks, born Maryland, June, 1894; Brother: Maxwell M, born New York, around 1895; Sister: Johanna J., born New York, around 1904. Wife: Helen.
          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 07-07-2013, 11:52 PM.


          • #20
            Harry Frye


            Washington, DC sports writer;
            Washington Star, sports writer, 1925 - July 30, 1931


            • #21
              Ed Grayson


              Cincinnati sports writer;
              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 02-28-2012, 12:42 AM.


              • #22
                Charles Sulyard Bigsby

                Born: April, 1871, London, England
                Died: October 23, 1935, age 74---d. at home of his son, James S. Bigsby, 4 Park Lane, Mt. Vernon, NY, after a brief illness. (Cleveland Necrology File)

                He married Helene Britton, President of the St. Louis Cardinals. She married Mr. Bigsby, of Cleveland, a widower, announcing it on August 19, 1918. He was an electrical appliance distributor from Boston and he died around 1935.

                Wife: Blanche E. Sargent, born Cleveland, OH; Daughter: Wanda Louise Bigsby, born November 4, 1898, Cleveland, OH; Son: James Sargent Bigsby, born November 19, 1896, Cleveland, OH; Daughter: Maud L. Bibsby, born November 4, 1898, Detroit, MI; Charles married Blanche September 3, 1895.

                Immigated to US: 1873; The New York Times announced her engagement to him in August, 1918.
                Last edited by Bill Burgess; 07-08-2013, 01:29 AM.


                • #23
                  Henry Harrison Diddlebock, III

                  Born: March 2, 1878, Philadelphia, PA
                  Died: Still alive by 1942

                  Detroit sports writer;
                  NYC, publisher, (April 28, 1910 census)
                  Detroit Journal newspaper reporter, 1918 (September 24, 1918, WWI Civilian Draft Registration);
                  Detroit newspaper writer, (January 8, 1920 census)
                  Toledo News-Bee, November 11, 1922
                  Toledo, OH, coordinator for city of Relief office, (April 21, 1940 census)
                  Lived Toledo / Lucas, OH, not employed, (WWII Civilian Draft Registration)
                  Still alive as of 1942 WWII draft registration.

                  Wife: Marie;

                  His father was Henry Harrison Diddlebock, Jr., a sports writer for the Philadelphia Item, Press, Times and Enquirer. His father helped organize the Eastern League in the winter of 1883-84, and was elected its president and secretary, which positions he held for several years. He managed the St. Louis Cardinals in 1896. His father died February 5, 1900.

                  Father: Henry Harrison Diddlebock, Jr., born Philadelphia, PA, June 27, 1854, died Philadelphia, PA, February 5, 1900; Wife 1: Ida M., born Massachusetts around 1888; Son: Henry Harrison, born Pennsylvania, May 16, 1900, died Philadelphia, PA, July, 1977; Wife 2: Marie, born New York around 1887.

                  In 1910, he lived in NYC as a publisher and his wife was Ida M.

                  During WWII, he lived in Toledo, Ohio, and was unemployed. His wife was then Marie.
                  Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-03-2013, 12:08 PM.


                  • #24
                    Need some help here.

                    Is there a friendly person who has access to a Boston Daily for March, 1949?

                    Charles Everett Beane died March 15, 1949 in Newton, MA.

                    If anyone has access to a Boston daily newspaper such as the Globe, American, Traveler, Post, Advertiser, Record, Herald, I would be so, so grateful and appreciative to obtain his obituary. Especially one with a photo.

                    Anyone help out a brother in need?


                    • #25
                      Carl August Weber---AKA Charles Weber---AKA Boots Weber

                      Born: June 21, 1879, Illinois
                      Died: July, 1968, age 79

                      Chicago Cubs Executive;
                      Los Angeles Angels (baseball team), secretary, October 13, 1912 -
                      Secretary of Los Angeles baseball team, (September 11, 1918 WWI Civilian Draft Registration)
                      Long Beach, CA, baseball secretary, (April 15, 1930 census)
                      Chicago Cubs, Treasurer, January 11, 1934 - November 15, 1940
                      Chicago Cubs, Vice-President, February 10, 1938 - January 27, 1944
                      Chicago Cubs, General Manager, 1934 - 1940

                      Father: born Stratsburg, Germany; Mother: born Stratsburg, Germany; Wife: Lucile D., born around 1889, Colorado; Son: Carl D., born around 1911, California;
                      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 04-21-2012, 08:28 PM.


                      • #26
                        William Charles Driscoll, Jr.---AKA Bill Driscoll

                        Born: July 18, 1900, New Jersey
                        Died: Still alive as of 1959

                        Philadelphia sports editor;
                        Camden, NJ, 9-year old, (April 26, 1910 census)
                        Apprentice machinist, employed by New York ship yard, at Camden, NJ, (September 12, 1918 WWI Civilian Draft Registration)
                        Deptford, NJ, machinist, New York ship yard, (April 17, 1920 census)
                        Camden, NJ, paper, state editor, (April 10, 1930 census)
                        Camden, NJ, newspaper editor, (April 4, 1940 census)
                        Philadelphia Record, night city editor, March 30, 1939, sports editor, September 28, 1939 - 1947,
                        Co-Founded Philadelphia publishing company, All-Negro Comics, Inc., 1947
                        Philadelphia Inquirer, sports editor, 1956? - 1959?
                        blue eyes, brown hair.

                        Father: William C. Driscoll, born Maryland, around 1872; Mother: Mary, born Pennsylvania, around 1875; Wife: Ethel F., born Pennsylvania around 1908;

                        1941: 2 shots of Bill when he was sports editor of Philadelphia Record.

                        New York Times' article, November 15, 1958, pp. 26.
                        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-31-2013, 03:52 PM.


                        • #27
                          Orville Meredith Shelton---AKA Diz Shelton

                          Born: June 20, 1904, Woodland, Yolo, California
                          Died: November 1, 1978, Fresno, CA, age 74

                          Sacramento managing editor;
                          Woodland City, CA, 5-year old, (April 18, 1910 census)
                          San Mateo, CA, 15-year old, (January 5, 1920 census)
                          Graduated Woodland HS (Woodland, CA), 1922
                          Attended Fresno Junior College, January, 1923
                          Fresno, CA, daily paper, reporter, (April 7, 1930 census)
                          Fresno, CA, newspaper court reporter, (April 18, 1940 census)
                          Fresno Bee, assistant sports editor, May 18, 1953
                          Modesto Bee, executive editor, May 19, 1958
                          Fresno Bee, managing editor, ? - January 8, 1971, retired

                          Father: John Ruddle Evans Shelton, born March 25, 1877, Woodland, Yolo, CA; Mother: Flora Elizabeth Brooks, born Smith River, CA, October 3, 1877, died December 1936; Wife: Alta E. Larsen, born August 10, 1908, Fresno, CA; Orville married her June 17, 1929 in Fresno, CA; Son: John Meredith, born February 3, 1931, Fresno, CA; Son: John M., born California around 1931; Daughter: Susan Marie, born January 19, 1942, Fresno, CA;

                          "As the son of Orville "Diz" Shelton, legendary editor of The Bee in the days when it was an afternoon paper and the news of the day stuck to your fingers, John Shelton "inherited a love and respect for the English language," his friends said."

                          Woodland Daily Democrat (CA), June 8,1929, pp. 8.-------Fresno State College yearbook.
                          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-20-2013, 11:40 AM.


                          • #28
                            Arthur Stokes---AKA Art Stokes

                            Born: October 14, 1913, Missouri
                            Died: August 16, 1979, San Jose, CA, age 64

                            City editor;
                            Boone, MO, 5-year old, (January 10, 1920 census)
                            Clinton, MO, 16-year old, (April 21, 1930 census)
                            Castoria, CA, oiler, sugar refinery, (April 25, 1940 census)
                            US Military, WWII, enlisted January 11, 1942
                            San Jose Mercury News, city editor,

                            As of 1939, Arthur lived in Burlingame, CA. As of 1942 he was an Assistant Editor.

                            Father: Archie B., born Missouri, around 1891; Mother: Lyda, born Missouri, around 1892; Wife: Phyllis Jean Drake, born Sacramento, CA; Art married Phyllis in 1953, and they divorced in 1965.

                            OR . . . Father: Harry T.; Mother: Mary Francis Headrick;
                            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-20-2013, 03:24 PM.


                            • #29
                              Benjamin A. Hitt

                              Born: July 22, 1916, Riverside, CA
                              Died: June 10, 2005, Santa Clara, CA, age 88,---d. Tuesday, of bone cancer at O'Connor Hospital (San Jose, CA).

                              City editor;
                              Murrieta, CA resident, 3-year old, (January 7, 1920 census)
                              Costa Mesa, CA, resident, 13-year old, (April 14, 1930 census)
                              Santa Clara, CA, newspaper reporter, (April 8, 1940 census)
                              Long Beach Press-Telegram
                              Los Angeles Times,
                              San Jose State College,
                              San Jose Mercury News, assistant city editor, 1945 - ?, city editor, news editor (1960's), managing editor, 1972 - 1979

                              Father: Benjamin H., born South Carolina, May, 1894; Mother: Lucy A. Berry, born Missouri, around 1898; Wife: Roberta;

                              Ben Hitt, Journalism, at age 88, in San José. a World War II veteran, Hitt served as managing editor of the San Jose Mercury News for 34 years, retiring in 1979. He began his newspaper career working part time at the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Los Angeles Times. At SJSU, he served as editor of the Spartan Daily. His former colleague, reporter Willys Peck, said of him: “He did not suffer fools gladly. He was very precise; he was demanding; you had to produce.”
                              San Jose Mercury News obituary(CA), June 14, 2005, pp. 7B, by MACK LUNDSTROM AND TRACEY KAPLAN , Mercury News


                              The No. 1 job of a newspaper's managing editor might be managing, but it never hurts to have the soul of a writer.

                              For the reporters and editors who worked for managing editor Ben Hitt during his 34 years at the San Jose Mercury, it's the latter they remember most. Mr. Hitt, who retired from the paper in 1979, died Friday at age 88 of bone cancer at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose.

                              ''He had a really good sense of language,'' said former Mercury News publisher Larry Jinks, noting that in addition to Mr. Hitt's regular duties, he wrote Christmas parables every year for 24 years.
                              ''He was a very quiet man, so it was kind of surprising that he was such a good fiction writer,'' Jinks said.

                              For much of his career, Mr. Hitt worked directly with reporters, first as an assistant city editor, then as city editor. In those days, city editors were often a cantankerous breed who ruled from a desk in the center of the newsroom, and Mr. Hitt was no exception, his proteges remember fondly.

                              ''He did not suffer fools gladly,'' said former reporter Willys Peck. ''He was very precise; he was demanding; you had to produce. One time a reporter turned in a story and he looked at it, wadded it up and left it on his desk.''

                              But his staff made allowances because they respected Mr. Hitt and knew he was incredibly short-handed. As former reporter Ed Pope recalled in 2001 when the paper celebrated its 150th anniversary: ''Hitt was in a pressure cooker job, shepherding the growing paper through the tumultuous '40s, '50s and '60s when San Jose was sprouting like an awkward teenager. He never had enough people for the job, and some of those he did have sorely tested his patience.''

                              Tough as he was, Mr. Hitt could also show mercy. Former reporter Wes Peyton remembers pulling a practical joke once that nearly got him fired. In a news story, Peyton listed 20 minor actions the city council had taken, and then, exasperated, tacked on one of his own invention: The council, he said, adopted a resolution expressing disapproval of sin and the common cold.

                              Mr. Hitt literally had to stop the presses to prevent the item from being printed. He lectured Peyton on what he considered the ultimate sin -- knowingly printing a falsehood -- but let him keep his job.

                              Newspapers were important to Ben A. Hitt from an early age. Even in grammar school, he was editor of his mimeographed school paper in Costa Mesa, then editor of the Newport Harbor Union High School Beacon and editor of the Fullerton Junior College Torch.

                              As a teenager, he got his first look at San Jose when a police officer pulled him off a train he and a buddy tried to hitch to Santa Cruz. He liked what he saw. After part-time stints at the Long Beach Press-Telegram and Los Angeles Times, he came back in 1937 to enroll at San Jose State College.

                              Once more he rose to editor, of the Spartan Daily, and showed the way to his childhood buddy, Fred Merrick, who followed Hitt in every editing role through college and wrote sports for the Mercury News for 40 years before his death in 1995.
                              Mr. Hitt left San Jose State before graduation to edit the Morgan Hill Times and the Gilroy Dispatch.

                              During World War II, Tech. Sgt. Hitt served with the 27th Infantry Division, which invaded the Gilbert Islands, the Marshalls, Saipan and Okinawa in the Allies' island-hopping campaign across the Pacific.
                              Mr. Hitt went to work for the Mercury Herald in 1945 as an assistant city editor. Soon he became city editor, then news editor in the 1960s and finally managing editor of the morning Mercury News in 1972.
                              In a 1979 memoir in the Mercury News on his retirement, Mr. Hitt lamented ''boomville San Jose,'' at the same time embracing its burgeoning growth. But the absolute cutoff point for leaving the valley, he said, would be when the first high-rise goes up in Alviso.

                              Born: July 22, 1916, in Riverside, Calif.
                              Died: June 10, 2005, in San Jose.
                              Survived by: Wife, Roberta Hitt of Santa Clara; brother, William Hitt of Fallbrook.
                              Services: There will be no services.

                              Long Beach Independent (CA), Monday, January 25, 1954, pp. 5.
                              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-29-2013, 11:25 PM.


                              • #30
                                William Thomas Shelton

                                Born: March 2, 1920, Jonesboro, Arkansas
                                Died: May 8, 2005, Little Rock, AR, age 85,---heart failure

                                City editor;
                                Jonesboro, AR, 10-year old, (April 10, 1930)
                                Jonesboro, AR, sports editor, newspaper, (April 2, 1940 census)
                                Jonesboro Tribune (AR), 1939 - October, 1941, (city hall, courthouse, sports)
                                US Army Air Corps, October, 1941 - July, 1945
                                University of Arkansas, (Bachelor's degree, English)
                                University of Fayetteville (Fayetteville, AR), ? - 1948
                                Columbia University (NYC), September, 1948 - May, 1949
                                Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, AR), Assistant City Editor, January 4, 1952? - ?, city editor, ? - January 1, 1985, copy editor for the editorial section, January 1, 1985 - 1985, (1986 - October, 1991; part-time, 3-days a week, copy editor)
                                Pine Bluff Commercial, copy editor, 1992 - 2000

                                Father: Sanford Guy, born Tennessee, around 1891; Mother: Vesta Marguerite Meek, born Tennessee, around 1894;

                                One of the last great ones, by John Brummett and Max Brantley, May 12, 2005.

                                Some of us called him "the grim man," but only behind his back. William T. Shelton, the late and lamented Arkansas Gazette’s legendary city editor, was a powerfully impenetrable force in the newsroom.

                                I wasn’t there in 1957 when he worked 42 days straight directing the coverage of the Little Rock Central integration crisis that would win the Pulitzer Prize. I can only share some of my moments with him three decades after that, wincing at some, treasuring all.

                                President Reagan came to Little Rock the Friday before the election in November 1984. He was trying to help Ed Bethune oust David Pryor. They hauled reporters to a platform on some remote section of runway at the Little Rock airport. Soon Air Force One rolled to a stop nearby. My article didn’t describe where this was, exactly, in relation to the terminal, one reason being that I had no idea. Shelton, editing the piece on deadline, or perhaps slightly past, asked me to identify this location.

                                I stammered. He said something close to the following, but I wouldn’t dare suggest that it’s verbatim because I spent the moment quite shaken, and Shelton wouldn’t approve: "Buddy, if you can’t tell me where the president of the United States first stepped on the ground in Arkansas, you’re not much of a reporter."

                                Then there was the day Shelton asked several 30-ish reporters what the hell was "disco," after somebody had presumed unwisely to drop that word into an article. Try describing "disco" to a grim man who demands precision — who asked me one day why I would use "capability" when it meant nothing that "ability" didn’t cover. Was disco short for discotheque, a place? If so, what kind of place? Was it a form of music? If so, describe its distinguishing characteristics. Somewhere in the Gazette archives is a somber, hilarious paragraph — longer than the rest of the article — describing this "disco."

                                There was the time shortly before the sale of the Gazette to Gannett when one of the Gazette high-ups had attended too many conferences about how newspapers needed to change to survive. This high-up was meeting with staff members in small groups to share what he’d learned. I happened to sit next to Shelton. The high-up said we needed to popularize our articles. Shelton passed a one-word note to me: "Popularize?" I’m not sure which offended him more, the nonexistent word or the very notion.

                                There was the time after he’d retired as city editor, but was working part-time on the copy desk. It was after the sale to Gannett, and the Gannett people threw the retiring veteran courthouse reporter a reception. As the retiree’s long-time editor, Shelton was asked to say a few words. He extolled the basic coverage of the news for which the veteran courthouse reporter had a certain flair. Then Shelton regretted those who had led newspapers away from the basic coverage of the news, meaning, everyone knew, the Gannett people, a few of whom were standing around.

                                It was during his "retirement" when Shelton strolled into the newsroom around 3 p.m. one day to work the late copy desk. He came straight to my desk. I’d become a columnist, and was on something of a heady roll beating up Steve Clark, the attorney general, for expense account fraud. "You’re not going to be happy, are you, until Steve Clark kills himself?" Shelton asked, and walked away. That quote I’m sure of. A young female reporter gasped and asked why I hadn’t defended myself. I said I needed to consider what the man had said. She hadn’t known of Shelton as a city editor.

                                She probably didn’t know of his crashing his B-24 in Nazi territory. She hadn’t encountered his charm outside the office, or, more precisely, outside the uncompromising seriousness of the news business. Steve Clark’s fine, the last I heard. One of the last great newspapermen died Sunday at 85.
                                Jonesboro Sun (AR) obituary, Monday, May 9, 2005; Deceased Name: William Thomas Shelton
                                LITTLE ROCK -- William Thomas Shelton, 85, of Little Rock died Sunday, May 8, at Little Rock.

                                Born at Jonesboro, he was city editor for more than 30 years at the Arkansas Gazette. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, flying 35 bombing missions. After leaving the service in 1945 as a captain, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with four oak leaves.

                                He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in history and earned a masters in journalism at Columbia University in New York.

                                His experience ranged widely, including editor and publisher of the weekly Marked Tree Tribune in 1945. As a teen-ager he was a reporter and sports editor of the Jonesboro Daily Tribune. While attending the university at Fayetteville he was correspondent for the Fort Smith Southwest American, the Memphis Commercial Appeal and the United Press.

                                He became city editor of the Arkansas Gazette in 1952. After retiring in 1985, he worked part-time as a copy editor at the Gazette until it folded and at the Pine Bluff Commercial for three years.

                                He served on the Pulitzer Prize selection committee at Columbia University in New York in 1967, 1968 and 1969. He was designated Arkansas Journalist of the Year in 1984 by the Journalism Department of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1985. He received the 1985 Alumni Award from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He was cited by the Arkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America in 1985.

                                Survivor include his wife, Dixie Jean Eding Retzloff Shelton of Little Rock; two daughters, Diane Haynes of Benton and Linda Yates of Little Rock; one son, Bradley Retzloff of Perryville; one sister, Helen Parker of Jonesboro; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

                                He was preceded in death by his second wife, Helen Margaret Swift; one son, William Dee Shelton; his parents, Sanford Guy and Vesta Marguerite Meek Shelton; and two brothers.
                                A memorial service will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Trinity Cathedral.

                                He donated his remains to be used for medical research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
                                Memorials may be made to Arkansas Hospice, 5600 West 12th Street, Little Rock, 72204.
                                Copyright (c) 2005 The Jonesboro Sun


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