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Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Obituaries

Remembering SPJ members

Submit obituary information of SPJ members to editor Scott Leadingham at sleadingham@spj.org.

CHRISTY C. BULKELEY

Christy C. Bulkeley, the first woman named chief executive officer of a Gannett-owned newspaper, died Sept. 13 at age 67 after nearly 40 years as an SPJ member. Her journalism career began when she was a newsroom clerk at the Rochester (N.Y.) Times-Union, and she rose quickly in the newsroom ranks. The Times-Union promoted her to reporter and then editorial page editor. Gannett promoted her to chief executive officer of the Danville, Ill., Commercial-News, and she also served in Gannett’s Central Newspaper Group and as vice president for special corporate projects. In 1985, Bulkeley joined the Gannett Foundation in Washington, D.C., as a vice president. Among many accomplishments, Bulkeley founded and led the Rochester chapter of Women in Communications Inc.; served as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes in 1976; and earned a master’s degree in theological studies from Wesley Theological Seminary in 1994.

BRENT FELGNER

Brent Felgner, a longtime business journalist, died Oct. 26 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Felgner was a contributing writer and editor to several publications including Home Textiles Today, Broadcasting and Cable, and Twice. He joined SPJ in 2006. Felgner’s friend Warren Shoulberg wrote to SPJ to share his condolences with friends and family, saying that Felgner was “one of the best business journalists I’ve ever worked with; a terrific person, but beyond that, he had the special qualities that make for a great journalist: an inquisitive mind, unending curiosity, ceaseless tenacity, both street and book smarts and a personality that endeared him to those who loved him.” The family has asked that those wishing to commemorate Felgner should donate to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. Checks may be sent to Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208.

DONOVAN KRAMER SR.

The longtime publisher of the Casa Grande Dispatch in Arizona died Oct. 25. Donovan Kramer Sr. was 84. Kramer owned several weekly community papers in addition to publishing the Casa Grande Dispatch, a paper his parents purchased in 1962. When Kramer was at the University of Illinois, he joined Sigma Delta Chi, now SPJ, and became editor and publisher of the Fairbury (Ill.) Blade after graduating. He was devoted to journalism and his community. In the late 1970s, he helped Casa Grande attract business and jobs to the city after heavy layoffs occurred in regional copper mines. In 2006, the Valley of the Sun Phoenix Pro chapter honored Kramer for his lifelong commitment to community news.

MIKE MCQUEEN

Mike McQueen, chief of bureau for The Associated Press in Louisiana and Mississippi, died Oct. 25. He was 52 and a 14-year SPJ member. McQueen is remembered for his passion, creativity and love for journalism and his fellow journalists. His journalism career began at the Tallahassee Democrat after he graduated from Florida State University. He worked in numerous positions at The Miami Herald, USA Today, Gannett News Service, The Sun Herald (Miss.), The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph and the AP. Twice, McQueen worked on Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper teams, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina joined a Knight-Ridder team of editors who traveled to the area to assist local newsrooms. He continued to assist the newsrooms in the disaster-stricken areas in his last job with the AP. Dedicated to newsroom diversity issues, McQueen was a member of SPJ’s national Diversity Committee. “He was a true leader in journalism and in the academy, and demonstrated in his work why inclusion matters in the quest for accuracy and fairness,” noted former committee chairwoman Sally Lehrman. “I’m going to miss him.” SPJ has established a scholarship fund in McQueen’s memory for diversity leader fellowships. For more information on donating, contact Joe Skeel at 317-927-8000 ext. 216 or jskeel@spj.org.

JACK NELSON

Jack Nelson, retired Washington bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times and a co-founder of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, died Oct. 21 of pancreatic cancer. He was 80 and joined SPJ in 1992. Nelson was an award-winning journalist from Alabama who also paved a path for an organization that has become a national clearinghouse for information and legal help for reporters. RCFP arose from his and other reporters’ concerns about a federal grand jury subpoena that was served on New York Times reporter Earl Caldwell. Nelson’s work also led to the creation of the Student Press Law Center, which aids student journalists. He leaves behind a strong legacy and even stronger memories with his contemporaries and colleagues who remember him as a leader who respected a free press and the public’s right to know.

MAX CHARLES PAGE

Max Charles Page, a former television journalist who oversaw the design and construction of the Newseum, died Sept. 15. He joined SPJ in 1994. Page began in broadcast while attending school in Kansas. After working in Kansas, Texas and Georgia, he moved to Washington, D.C., in 1984 and became executive producer and Washington bureau chief for Gannett News Service/Television. He was an award-winning journalist and covered events such as the Olympics, space shuttle launches and presidential campaigns, and was part of a three-member team that interviewed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 1989. Page began work for the Freedom Forum and the Newseum in 1992.

WILLIAM SAFIRE

William Safire, well-known Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, died of pancreatic cancer Sept. 27 at age 79. Safire wrote for the Nixon administration, The New York Times, and fiction and nonfiction readers. The Times’ Robert D. McFadden remembered Safire as “a pugnacious contrarian who did much of his own reporting, called people liars in print and laced his opinions with outrageous wordplay ... and made a lot of powerful people squirm.” Safire began his career as a columnist for The New York Herald Tribune. He remained involved in journalism and social activism while serving as chairman of the Dana Foundation; testifying at a Senate hearing in favor of a media shield law; and serving on the board that awards the Pulitzer Prizes, from 1995 to 2004.

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