JOHN STEPHEN FAGAN
INDIANAPOLIS – Steve Fagan, a Navy veteran and journalist whose career started in 1970 and who spent 11 years as editor of The Monitor in McAllen, died June 2 after complications from a second battle with pneumonia and recovery from lung cancer while at Community North Hospital in Indianapolis. He was 74.
Fagan became editor of The Monitor in 2001 and retired there in 2013. Under his guidance, the newspaper was named 2011 Texas Newspaper of the Year in its circulation category by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors.
Colleagues remembered him for his passion and “old school” style of leading a newsroom, mixing fire and brimstone with calm and inspiration, like a father to the young reporters he fostered and directed.
Prior to coming to The Monitor, Fagan served as editor at The Morning News in Florence, South Carolina, and The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois. Since his journalism career began in 1970, Fagan helped oversee projects that won two public service Pulitzer Prizes — at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1983, and in 1985 at the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth. The 1985 prize was for a series of articles that detailed a design flaw in military craft built by Bell Helicopter. This investigative series he directed and edited also won the National Headliners Public Service Award, as well as several other national honors.
Following military service during the Vietnam War, he earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and political science in 1971 from Indiana University-Bloomington, where he once served as editor-in-chief of the Indiana Daily Student.
After retirement, he moved to Indianapolis, where he frequently wrote in his blog, The Ancient Newspaper Editor.
He is survived by his wife Gail and two daughters.
A memorial gathering for Texas colleagues was held July 7 in Edinburg.
Memorials may be made to Injustice Watch (www.injusticewatch.org), or Investigative Reporters and Editors (www.ire.org).
WHITEWRIGHT – Roger Palmer, 60, publisher of the Whitewright Sun and the Pottsboro Sun, died June 9 at Wilson N. Jones Hospital in Sherman.
He was a career newspaperman, starting as a district manager while in college. He later served as circulation manager and consultant at daily newspapers and finally owned his own weekly newspapers. Palmer worked in Arizona, California, Ohio, South Dakota, New Mexico, Arkansas and multiple cities in Texas. He won numerous awards for news writing, advertising and photography. He and his wife, Kimberly, owned and operated the Whitewright Sun for almost 10 years and the Pottsboro Sun for five years.
He was a member of Fairview Baptist Church in Sherman and enjoyed many hobbies.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter and other relatives.
A memorial service was held June 15 at Fairview Baptist Church. Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association (www.donatenow.heart.org) or to a charity of choice.
DWIGHT JAMES BAKER
PEARLAND – Dwight James Baker, former managing editor for the Bay City Tribune, died June 7, one day after his 49th birthday.
Baker joined the Tribune in September 2015 as a reporter.
Previously, he had written for the Houston Chronicle, Galveston County Daily News, The Facts in Clute, Pearland Reporter-News and several magazines. He was a former board member of the Houston chapter of Society of Professional Journalists.
He left the Tribune in May citing health concerns.
Before beginning his career in journalism, he spent 18 years working in aerospace at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where he worked on the space shuttle program and the International Space Station program for United Space Alliance.
A resident of Pearland, Baker was an active member of Sagemont Church of Houston.
He is survived by his wife Elaine and three children.
Funeral service was held June 14 at Niday Funeral Home.