Obituaries published in the October 2019 edition of the Texas Press Messenger.
CARTHAGE – Bill Holder, who served as the Panola Watchman’s publisher for 20 years and also supervised 15 East Texas newspapers under ASP Westward, died Sept. 19. He was 72.
Holder grew up in the Snap community, graduating from Carthage High School in 1965 and Panola College in 1967. He had a 17-year career in the grocery business before he joined the Watchman staff in 1989 as advertising sales representative. He retired in 2013 as publisher and vice president of ASP Westward’s East Texas Community Newspaper Group.
Colleagues recalled Holder as a “firm believer in old-school, small-town journalism rooted in knowing neighbors and the community.”
Holder served as president of the Carthage Noon Lions Club and on the boards of the Panola County Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Country Muic Hall of Fame. He was honored as the 2013 Panola County Citizen of the Year.
Holder attended Central Baptist Church, taught the Maranatha Sunday School class and was a strong supporter of Mission Carthage.
He married Pat Vaden and celebrated 31 years of marriage before her death. In 1998, he married Mary Sue Rountree Pippen. Other survivors include a daughter, two grandchildren and other relatives.
Funeral was held Sept. 24 at Central Baptist Church in Carthage. Memorials may be to Mission Carthage, P.O. Box 1208, Carthage, Texas 75633.
SAN ANTONIO – Houston Harte, the veteran newspaper publisher who served as chairman of Harte-Hanks Newspapers for more than 30 years, died Sept. 16. He was 92.
He was born Feb. 15, 1927 in San Angelo, the son of Houston and Caroline Isabel McCutcheon Harte. His father and Bernard Hanks formed Harte-Hanks in 1927.
Harte entered New Mexico Military Academy before joining the Navy in January 1945. After his discharge, he attended Washington and Lee University and graduated in 1950.
Also in 1950, he married Carolyn Hardig. They settled in Snyder, where he worked with his brother Edward to turn a weekly newspaper into a daily. In 1954, the family moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where he worked for another daily. In 1956, they moved to San Angelo when he became president of the San Angelo Standard Times.
They moved to San Antonio when Harte-Hanks bought the San Antonio Express News and KENS-TV. In 1968, he became the chief executive of the company and led Harte Hanks when it went public in 1972. Harte remained chairman of the board of Harte-Hanks until 1999.
Although the company sold the Express News in 1973, the Harte family continued to live in San Antonio, where he served on the boards of the chamber of commerce and other community organizations. Active in the First Presbyterian Church, he helped in the rescue of Mission Road Ministries and was a longtime benefactor of Mission Road Developmental Center.
Harte was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the Board of Visitors of the Air Force Academy in 1966.
He was a member of the boards of Washington and Lee University, East Texas State University and Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, AL.
In addition to his wife of 69 years, Carolyn, Harte is survived by three children, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
A memorial service was held Sept. 23 at First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio. Memorials may be made to Mission Road Ministries, 8706 Mission Road, San Antonio, Texas 78214.
HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE, Ark. — Retired sportswriter Bill McMurray, who worked for the Houston Chronicle for 36 years, died Aug. 22 in Hot Springs Village, Ark. He was 87.
Starting his career with newspapers in Killeen and Freeport, McMurray worked for the Chronicle from 1960 until 1996. He also was the longtime publisher of a magazine that covered Greater Houston football.
In 1984, McMurray published a book titled “Texas High School Football” that remains a primary reference source for the game’s history. He also played a critical role in codifying the sport’s statistical record.
A native of Belton in Bell County, he was a newspaper carrier for the Temple Telegram, among other jobs in his youth. He attended Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos. While high school sports coverage was and remains an entry-level position at many newspapers, it became a career for McMurray, who covered the sport from the days of integration during the 1960s through the expansion of playoff rosters and changes in playing styles into the mid-1990s.
Over the years, McMurray covered more than 1,000 football, basketball and baseball games, plus track meets, tennis matches, golf tournaments and auto racing. He became the dean of sportswriters covering high-school football.
McMurray was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 1980. He was twice voted Sportswriter of the Year by the Texas High School Coaches Association and was given a distinguished service award by the National High School Coaches Association. He was elected president of the Texas Sportswriters Association in 1989-90.
In his final story for the Chronicle in 1996, McMurray wrote about covering such Hall of Fame players as Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson, Thurman Thomas, Craig James and Warren McVea and teams such as the 1985 Yates Lions, 1982 Willowridge Eagles and the 1990 Aldine Mustangs.
In retirement he lived in Hot Springs Village, where he enjoyed playing golf.
He is survived by his wife, Sarah Kemp McMurray, two daughters, two grandchildren, one great grandchild and other relatives.
A celebration of life was held Aug. 31 at Balboa Baptist Church, where he was a member. Memorials may be made to the church, located at 415 Ponce De Leon Dr, Hot Springs Village, AR 71909.