GATESVILLE – Texas newspaper veteran Marshall Day, a past president of the Texas Press Association, died Oct. 25 in Gatesville, where he was publisher of the Gatesville Messenger for 21 years.
Celebration of life services were held Oct. 28 in Gatesville.
Day, 67, spent most of his life in the newspaper business, beginning at age 19. He began his newspaper career as the sports editor of The Hereford Brand. He later became news editor of the award-winning semiweekly and began to learn the ropes of the different departments, including advertising.
He was news editor of The Seguin Enterprise for a short time before heading back west to Seminole, where he was hired as a writer. In 1976 he became publisher of the Seminole Sentinel and served in that capacity for 12 years before leaving the newspaper business for a short period. He returned to newspapering as a special promotions manager at The Hood County News and later became that newspaper’s sports editor before accepting the position as publisher at The Edna Herald and Ganado Tribune.
During his time in Edna, he combined the two newspapers into The Jackson County Herald-Tribune. After five years there, he became publisher of the Gatesville Messenger in 1995. In March 1996, he changed the newspaper to a semi-weekly publication. He served the local community on the Gatesville Planning and Zoning Commission.
He believed that the pen was “still mightier than the sword.” His biting sarcasm and clever wit helped him author a treasured weekly column, which was revered even by those who did not share his opinions.
Day’s influence was felt around the state, through the many journalists he mentored and trained and through his work in state and regional press associations. He was president of the Texas Press Association in 2006-07, and served on the TPA board for nine years. In addition, he participated in TPA committee work for many years. He was chairman of the first Grass Roots Legislative Committee of TPA.
Day was also a member of four of the state’s regional press associations, serving in various capacities. He was president of the West Texas Press Association (WTPA) in 2001-02 and the North and East Texas Press Association (NETPA) in 2008-09. The WTPA awarded Day with the Dwane Kelly Memorial Friend of Newspaper Award and the Harold Hudson Memorial Award. The NETPA also presented Day with their highest awards, the Tom Mooney Award and the Sam Holloway Award.
He is survived by his wife, Debbie Day; sons, Marshall Day Jr., Perry Garrett and Chris Garrett, a brother, a sister and nine grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the Big Sting, 3417 Imperial Dr., Gatesville, TX 76528 or the Gatesville Boys and Girls Club, 2533 E. Main Street, Gatesville, TX 76528.
LaGRANGE – Retired Fayette County Record writer and columnist Aileen R. Wied Loehr, 71, of La Grange, died Oct. 3.
She began her career at The Fayette County Record on Dec. 24, 1969 and retired in 2013. During her 44 years with the Record, she learned every aspect of newspaper publication. She also played a large role in the production of four Fayette County history books published by the Record and became a staff writer for the paper. She handled community news, lifestyle announcements and obituaries while also covering police and city council.
In 2014, Loehr was the Texas Gulf Coast Press Association third place winner in the Humorous Column Division III, for her popular “Oma Says” column. She continued to write the column for several years after her retirement.
In addition to her newspaper work, she was active in her church, teaching Sunday school and vacation Bible school for more than 30 years.
She married Lloyd G. “Bucky” Loehr on June 20, 1970 in Rutersville and he survives her. She is also survived by children May Loehr Johnson of Austin and Tobias “Toby” Loehr of New Braunfels; three grandsons; and two sisters-in-law, along with other relatives.
Funeral services were held Oct. 8 at St. John Lutheran Church in Rutersville with interment at the Rutersville Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to St. John Lutheran Church, Rutersville, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.
HARLINGEN – Retired Valley Morning Star publisher Vernon Lyle DeBolt, Jr., 83, died Oct. 22 at his home in Palm Valley.
Funeral services were held Oct. 27 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Harlingen. Burial followed Oct. 28 at Mont Meta Memorial Park in San Benito.
Born in Duluth, Minnesota, DeBolt moved to Odessa in 1947 at age 13. He was a 1951 graduate of Odessa High School and a graduate of North Texas State University.
In 1955, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and received his wings at Big Springs Air Force Base as a fighter pilot. He was stationed in Dover, Delaware, to protect Washington D.C. and New York City. He was released from active duty in December 1957 and advanced to the rank of major in the Air Force Reserves.
After serving in the U. S. Air Force, Lyle joined the staff of the First National Bank of Odessa,. He was vice president of the bank when he resigned in 1971 to join Freedom Newspapers, Inc.
DeBolt worked as the general manager of the Kinston (NC) Free Press and publisher of the Odessa American before becoming publisher of the Valley Morning Star in 1980. He was a vice president of Freedom Communications Inc. and oversaw the three Valley newspapers, including the Brownsville Herald and McAllen Monitor. He retired on Dec. 31, 1998.
He mentored many journalists who remembered him for his encouragement and quiet counsel.
An avid golfer, he was a member of the Harlingen Rotary Club and served on the board of directors of many cultural, civic and professional organizations, including the Texas Daily Newspaper Association, Texas Tourism Council, Harlingen Chamber of Commerce, InterFirst Bank of Harlingen and many others.
He and Paula Whitton DeBolt were married in 1955 in San Augustine and she survives him. He is also survived by two sons, Vernon DeBolt of New Bern, NC, and Paul DeBolt of McAllen; a brother and a sister; and three grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the Salvation Army, or the Literacy Center of in Harlingen, or the charity of donor’s choice.