Former LJWorld editor Bill Mayer dies

Bill Mayer, who worked for the Lawrence Journal-World from 1950 to 2010, died Thursday. He was 88.

Mayer, a navigator on a World War II Army bomber, served in numerous capacities at the Journal-World, including managing editor and executive editor. He wrote a sports column published in the paper for 60 years, until his formal retirement in 2010.

He was remembered as a jokester, a friend and the consummate newsman. Former managing editor Bob Nordyke, who worked with Mayer for 20 years, called him “old school.”

“A line from the note he sent me when I retired said much about Bill. The line reads: “I’m so proud we’re known as damned good newspapermen, ‘not just journalists,’” he recalled.

“When I was an intern and as a fresh-out-of-college student, no one could have had a more helpful coach, tutor, adviser and friend than Bill Mayer. The public, his readers, have no idea or appreciation of his deep loyalty and how proud he was of Lawrence and Kansas University as well as his belief in the role and importance of a daily newspaper,” said Dolph Simons, chairman of the World Company.

On a personal note, though I didn’t know Mayer well during my time at the paper, he once told me an obituary I wrote about former Kansas state representative Jessie Branson was one of the best obits he’d ever read. A little praise went a long way for this young journalist.

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One comment

  1. Lawrence Morgan

    I was not impressed by his editorial point of view, but even though I didn’t know him personally, he made a major impact on the Journal-World newsroom, including my first efforts as sports reporter at the Hutchinson, Kansas, junior high school. (We saw newspapers from around the state every day.) As I suggested in my comment on the Journal-World, there ought to be a section for each journalist and blogger (Journal World history) where each reporter can send articles which may need re-reading at a later time, as well as an obituary when it’s called for. That way, we can remember him for his best articles when they are looked at again sometime in the future.

    A lot of the time reporters (and photographers) forget that their work will find re-reading by future reporters and the public at large. Many pieces of writing have important aspects of history attached to them which will last for a long time in the community memory.

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