In Memoriam

Claudia Smith-Hill, 97

Claudia Smith-Hill, former editor of the weekly Willits News in Mendocino County, died Dec. 19, 2018, the newspaper reported. She was 97. Claudia started at the newspaper as a clerk and social editor. Later, she and husband Richard Hill, along with four other families, acquired the newspaper in 1973 and ran it for 24 years.…

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Doug Ernst, 64

Doug Ernst, former editor of the Napa Valley Register and publisher of the St. Helena Star and The Weekly Calistogan, died Dec. 11, 2018, after a short battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), The Register reported. He was 64. Ernst served a total of 33 years in Napa Valley journalism. The San Jose State alum…

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Diane Lopez, 62

Diane Lopez, a Tracy Press staff member for 34 years, died Dec. 13, 2018, at her home in Manteca, the newspaper reports. She was 62 and had battled cancer. Lopez, with the paper from 1982 to 2015, had been classified advertising manager, general advertising account executive and manager, and marketing and human resources director. “Diane…

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Peg Haapa, 101

Mary “Peg” Haapa, co-founder and publisher of the old Newport Harbor Ensign in Newport Beach, died Nov. 8, 2018, in Windsor, The Orange County Register reports. She was 101. Haapa and husband Arvo “Hop” Haapa founded the weekly newspaper in 1948 and oversaw its operations until 1978. Early on, the Haapas would deliver the paper…

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Marilyn Kessler, 85

Marilyn Beck Olson Kessler, former co-owner, co-publisher and co-editor of The Ark in Tiburon, died Nov. 9, 2018, at a hospice facility in Springfield, Mo., the newspaper reports. She was 85. Kessler began as a writer and editor at The Ark in the 1970s, when it was owned by James B. McClatchy, and later became…

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Bill Patterson, 91

Bill Patterson, one of “The Bee Four” who did time rather than reveal their sources, died Sept. 23, 2018, The Fresno Bee reported. He was 91. Patterson and fellow reporter Joe Rosato, along with city editor James H. Bort Jr. and Executive Editor George Gruner, served 15 days at the Fresno County Jail’s industrial farm…

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John Foley, 94

John Foley, a former deputy managing editor at the Los Angeles Times, died Sept. 5, 2018, at a senior-living home in Azusa, The Times reports. He was 94. In 1968, Foley devised the Column One feature, which provided a front-page space to showcase long-form, literary journalistic pieces. He also helped to create the L.A. Times…

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Dean Bartee, 86

Dean Bartee, former senior vice president of advertising, marketing and circulation at the San Jose Mercury News, died July 12, 2018, of cancer, the newspaper reported. He was 86. “My job was easier because his advertising division was so successful in bringing in the resources we needed to build our staff,” said Larry Jinks, who…

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Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold dies at 57

Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times restaurant critic, died July 21, the paper reported. Gold, 57, died of pancreatic cancer, the paper said. The disease was diagnosed in early July. Gold’s career spanned four decades and the Times credited him with pioneering a different approach to food criticism. His reviews first appeared in…

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Lloyd Thomas, 95

Lloyd Thomas, whose old Westminster Herald was likely the last newspaper in California to switch from lead type to offset printing, died June 10, 2018, at an assisted-living home in Anaheim, The Orange County Register reported. He was 95. Thomas, who published The Herald for more than 70 years, finally switched to offset in 2003.…

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