In Memoriam

Phil Jaffe, 85

Phillip B. Jaffe, a former publisher of Brehm Communications Inc.’s Mountain News in Lake Arrowhead, died Feb. 19, 2019, his family reported. He was 85. Jaffe, whose printing and publishing career spanned more than 40 years, was publisher in Lake Arrowhead from 1983 to 1998. Earlier, he had owned a printing company and was a…

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Rusty Harris, 64

William Russell Harris, a former managing editor at the old Blade-Citizen and North County Times, died Feb. 21, 2019, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. He was 64 and had cancer. Harris’ 35-year news career included stints at newspapers in Kansas and Texas. He joined the Blade-Tribune in Oceanside as Business editor in 1987 and later…

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Steve Lawrence, 71

Steve Lawrence, who had been the longest-tenured member of California’s capital press corps when he retired in 2009 after 37 years with the Associated Press, died Feb. 22, 2019, the AP reports. He was 71 and had cancer. “People liked him, the elected officials and staffers, but he was a true wire service reporter —…

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Rex Wilson, 70

Rex Wilson, a former managing editor at the Times-Standard in Eureka, died Feb. 6, 2019, the newspaper reported. He was 70. Wilson was managing editor at The Times-Standard from 1989 to 1997. He previously had worked at the old El Monte Herald, Whittier Daily News and Orange County Register. Wilson later was managing editor of…

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Charles Cooper, 76

Charles Cooper, a former editor at the San Francisco Examiner, the old Hayward Daily Review and several other U.S. newspapers, died Jan. 19, 2019, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. He was 76 and died from complications after heart surgery. “He was a really important part of San Francisco journalism,” said longtime friend Peter Bhatia, now…

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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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