Obituaries published in the June 2019 edition of the Texas Press Messenger.
Robert ‘Bob’ Aguilar
Robert “Bob” Aguilar, 74, president and publisher of the San Angelo Standard-Times from 2004 until his retirement in 2008, died May 2 in Lumberton.
Aguilar was originally from Willmington, Calif., and came to San Angelo after four years as the advertising director at the Record Searchlight newspaper in Redding, Calif.
Before that, he was the display advertising manager for the San Antonio Express-News from 1999 to 2000; advertising director for the Californian newspaper in Salinas, Calif., from 1995 to 1999; and retail advertising manager for the San Bernardino County Sun from 1991 to 1995. He also held management positions at the Camarillo Daily News, the Tahoe Daily and Skagit Valley Publishing Company in Mount Vernon, Wash.
Aguilar is survived by his wife of 55 years, Jean Aguilar, two sons, nine grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
A memorial service was held May 5 at Lumberton Church of Christ. Memorials may be sent to the church, 5090 W. Chance Cutoff, Lumberton, TX 77657.
Laura Jeanne Albrecht
AUSTIN - Laura Jeanne Albrecht, 61, of Austin died May 2 at her home.
A native of Corsicana, she was a journalism graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. After working as a reporter and editor for the Cedar Creek Pilot and Corsicana Daily Sun, she settled in Austin, where she had a long career in media relations with the Texas Medical Association, Austin Police Department and the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.
She also worked as a volunteer with Therapy Pet Pals of Texas.
She is survived by her mother, brother and other relatives.
No services were held.
Robert D. ‘Bob’ Compton
Robert D. “Bob” Compton, a World War II veteran whose nearly 50 years in Dallas journalism began before the assassination of President John F. Kenned, and whose kindness and generosity endeared him to generations of friends and colleagues, died April 25. He was 92.
He died at the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center, where he moved after learning he had Stage 4 lung cancer.
Compton, who oversaw books coverage at The Dallas Morning News from 1981 until his retirement in 1998, documented the accomplishments of such Texas luminaries as Pulitzer
Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry and Peabody Award winner Jim Lehrer, who was also one of his proteges.
During his 42 years at the paper, Compton worked briefly as a general assignment reporter before spending years as assistant city editor. He was working the desk in 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
He often worked the city desk on Christmas Eve to spare someone else from that duty.
During his years as books editor, Compton became familiar with thousands of writers, including some who had worked with him at The News earlier in their careers, such as Edwin “Bud” Shrake and Gary Cartwright.
The Robert Compton papers, which span 1955 to 2008, are part of The Wittliff Collections, based at Texas State University in San Marcos. They include correspondence with such authors as Jim Lehrer, Larry McMurtry and William Goyen. In 1988, Compton received the Media Award from Book Publishers of Texas and was named a Living Legend of North Texas Journalism in 2012.
Originally from Teague, he was a fifth-generation Texan. He entered Texas A&M University on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He stayed at A&M until January 1945, when he enlisted in the Navy. The war ended in September of that year. In 1946, Compton enrolled at Southern Methodist University and graduated in 1949.
He began his career at the SMU Daily Campus. From there, he took a job in Pampa in West Texas. He later worked for two newspapers in Garland before going to work for The Dallas Morning News.
Until his stay in the hospice center, he made Garland his home.
Compton never married and had no children but remained close to dozens of colleagues.
He is survived by a nephew and two nieces.
Robert Earl Fraser
CLEBURNE – Robert Earl Fraser, 74, who worked at the Cleburne Times-Review for more than 20 years and retired as managing editor, died May 9 in Cleburne.
Born in London in 1944, he was an infant when his mother died in the last German blitzes of World War II. After living with his grandparents, he moved to Nova Scotia with his father. They moved to Boston when Fraser was a teenager. He finished school in Boston and earned a degree in journalism from Boston University.
Fraser worked for newspapers in Indiana and Wyoming before moving to Texas in 1979. He worked in Flower Mound before joining the staff of the Cleburne Times-Review as a reporter and later as editor. He left the newspaper for a while to run his own business and later returned to the staff. After retiring from the newspaper in 2006, Fraser worked for the City of Cleburne for four years. He also reported for the newspaper again until he decided to retire for good, according to General Manager Dale Gosser.
Colleagues recalled him as a valuable coworker and friend who kept an upbeat attitude and earned respect from his sources among the beats he covered.
He is survived by his wife, Debbie, four children, two grandchildren and other relatives. Memorial service was held May 18 in the Crosier-Pearson Cleburne Chapel.
Judith Blanton Wilkerson
AUSTIN – Judith Blanton Wilkerson, owner and co-publisher of the Pleasanton Express, died April 26 at her home in Austin. She was 89.
A native of Temple, she attended Southwestern University in Georgetown briefly before entering the University of Texas at Austin, where she met her future husband, Bill Wilkerson.
They married in 1950. In 1951, Bill joined the U.S. Air Force at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York, during the Korean Conflict. While he was stationed in New York, Judy worked as office manager for a radio station.
In 1956, they returned to Comanche to enter into the Comanche Chief newspaper family, which was owned by J.C. and May Wilkerson. Three children were born and raised in this newspaper family — David, Katie and Noel.
The Wilkersons also bought the De Leon Free Press, which they owned and served as publishers until 1998.
In 1975, Judy and Bill sold their interest in the Chief and purchased the Pleasanton Express newspaper. They served as co-publishers until Bill’s death in 2015.
Then, Judy served as co-publisher with their daughter, Noel Wilkerson Holmes.
Under the Wilkersons’ leadership, the Pleasanton Express grew from a staff of six and 24 pages to a staff of 20 producing an average of 48 pages per week, making it one of the five largest weekly newspapers in the state.
Over the past 45 years, the newspaper won hundreds of awards from the South Texas Press Association and Texas Press Association, as well as three sweepstakes awards from the Gulf Coast Press Association.
Both Judy and Bill were past presidents of South Texas Press Association, the only husband and wife team to be elected to serve in that post. Judy also served on the boards of STPA and TPA. The Wilkersons were awarded the STPA Distinguished Service Award and the Red Gibson Award.
Following Bill’s death in 2015, STPA’s highest award was renamed the Judy and Bill Wilkerson STPA Sweepstakes Award.
The Wilkersons were also active in their community, volunteering and leading many community improvement projects and serving in civic and business organizations.
They were communicants at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, where Bill served as senior warden and Judy was on the Bishop’s Committee.
While remaining publishers and owners of the Pleasanton Express, Bill and Judy retired from the everyday newspaper business in 1989 and moved to Austin, where they volunteered for community activities and supported Longhorn sports.
They also enjoyed traveling, making several European trips.
In addition to her children, Wilkerson is survived by four grandchildren, a great granddaughter and many other relatives and friends.
Memorials may be made to the Texas Lions Camp in Kerville, www.lionscamp.com, 4100 San Antonio Hwy, Kerrville, Texas 78028.
A celebration of Judy Wilkerson’s life will be held July 20 on the beach in Port Aransas, where the couple enjoyed visiting.