Obituaries published in the June 2018 edition of the Texas Press Messenger include:
JOSEPH EVANS LOFTIN, JR.
TYLER – Joseph Evans Loftin, Jr., a retired professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Tyler, died May 6 in Tyler. He was 75.
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Loftin attended Louisiana State University Agricultural and Mechanical College, where he earned his bachelor of arts in journalism in 1966, a masters of arts in journalism in 1968 and his doctor of philosophy in history in 1977.
He also served as the sports editor of the Daily Reveille while at LSU.
He taught at Northwest Missouri State University, the University of Texas El Paso, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Northeastern State University in Oklahoma and the University of Texas at Tyler, where he taught from 1990 until his retirement in 2007.
He is survived by his wife, Karen Gibbs Loftin, three children, a grandchild and other relatives.
DALLAS - Philanthropist Margaret McDermott, who along with her late husband, Texas Instruments co-founder Eugene McDermott, bestowed millions upon institutions linked to the arts, education and science, died May 3. She was 106.
A journalism graduate of the University of Texas, McDermott was a journalist for 20 years, writing for the Dallas Times Herald and serving as society editor of The Dallas Morning News in the 1930s. She married in 1952.
The McDermotts and their foundation allocated millions to civic, cultural and educational recipients, including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, UT Southwestern Medical Center and the University of Texas at Dallas.
Following her husband’s death in 1973, she continued his support of UTD with a $32 million donation to establish the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program.
She also continued her support of fine arts programs, museums and other facilities in Dallas.
She is survived by a daughter and a granddaughter.
Memorial services were held May 8 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.
ANDREWS – Serena Nelson, advertising sales director for the Andrews County News for 54 years, died May 8 in Fort Worth, where she resided since retiring from the newspaper in 2016. She was 77.
A native of Menard, she was six years old when her family moved to Andrews in 1946.
She graduated from Andrews High School in 1959. She started her advertising sales career with the Andrews County News in 1962, two years after marrying her high school sweetheart, Jack Nelson.
She had the distinction of working with every publisher in the history of the newspaper, starting with Charles Roberts Sr. and retiring while working with the current publisher, Blake Roberts.
Nelson placed a large role in the newspaper’s success and was an integral part of the staff, according to Randall Roberts, son of former longtime publisher James Roberts.
The pivotal aspects concerning her longevity in the business stemmed from her ability to adapt and from her genuine friendliness, Roberts said.
“She had a sincere motive to help the businesses in any way she could to keep their customers coming in,” Roberts recalled. “I don’t think it was as much as making a dollar as it was helping the people. They were much more than customers to her,” he said.
“And even though the challenges of the old school method of doing things came, Serena was always able to adapt to things like smartphones,” he added.
She and her husband played a pivotal role in the Andrews community over the years.
Most recently, they served as key organizers with the Andrews Exes Reunion, among other activities.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by three children, eight grandchildren and other relatives.
Services were held May 14 at the First Baptist Church of Andrews with interment in the Andrews Old Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Samaritan’s Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, North Carolina 28607 or www.samaritanspurse.org.
LUBBOCK - Retired newspaper publisher Jim Reynolds, 80, of Lubbock died April 29.
A native of Tulia, he graduated from Lockney High School and attended Texas Tech University and Watson Business College in Plainview.
After college, he became the publisher of the Lockney Beacon and married his high school sweetheart, Beth McLaughlin, in 1958.
In 1972, Reynolds and his family moved to Crosbyton, where he purchased the Crosbyton Review and published it for 16 years. He assisted in publishing the Floyd County Hesperian for a couple of years before the family moved to Tulia, where he was the publisher of the Tulia Herald for another six years.
The newspapers he owned and published received more than 200 awards for excellence.
Reynolds completed his career working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for 11 years.
Some of his accomplishments include being named Man of the Year in Crosbyton and serving as a longtime member of the Lion’s Club, as well as holding many offices.
He served on a committee of three to help bring the All-American Football Game to Lubbock, which funded a kidney dialysis clinic for Lubbock. He was a charter member of Brazos Offset Printing and Blanco Offset Printing and was an accomplished breeder of quarter horses.
He was an active and dedicated member in each of his home churches in addition to being a deacon and chairman of the deacons in the First Baptist Churches of Crosbyton and Tulia.
Since residing in Lubbock, the Reynolds attended church services at Raider Ranch.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Funeral services were held May 2 at the First Baptist Church in Tulia. Burial followed in Plainview.
GARY CLAYTON SMITH
GRANBURY – Hansford County Reporter-Statesman Publisher Gary Clayton Smith, Sr., 63, died April 4 in Granbury.
He and his wife Cathy owned and operated newspapers in Texas for more than 30 years, starting with the Eldorado Success and later the Devil’s River News and the Hansford County Reporter-Statesman in Spearman.
A native of North Carolina, Smith served in the U.S. Army before starting college at Pembroke State University. He graduated from North Carolina Wesleyan University in 1976 with a degree in psychology and was called to the ministry. He attended North Carolina Baptist Seminary from 1978-1979 and later earned a master of theology and a divinity of theology doctorate degree.
Smith served as pastor of churches in North Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana and Texas until he retired in 2015. He was very involved in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), serving on the Regional Committee on Ministry, and heading the High Plains Commissioned Ministry Training Program, in which he trained and worked with non-ordained ministers for pastoral service.
He was a member of Hansford Lodge No. 1040 A.F. & A.M.; a member of Borger Chapter No. 437 Royal Arch Masons, Borger Council No. 437 Royal and Select Masters, and Borger Commandery No. 96, Knights Templar.
Among his many interests was magic. He performed as a magician for schools in North Carolina under the name of Gypsy Smith, and later in Texas schools as the Prime Minister of Laughter. He was awarded the Cross and Flame Award from United Methodist Church in 1995 for his work with the Boy Scouts of America.
In addition to his wife, Smith is survived by three children and two grandchildren.
Funeral services were held April 7 at Martins Funeral Home in Granbury.
ERNESTINE SCOTT GIBSON WHEELOCK
AUSTIN – Veteran journalist and writer Ernestine Scott Gibson Wheelock, 93, died April 28 in Austin.
A native of Knox City, she grew up in Petersburg, on the southern edge of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression, where her parents ran a newspaper and sometimes traded newspaper advertising for food and housing.
She graduated from Texas Tech in 1946 with a journalism degree and embarked on a career that included stints as reporter for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, food editor for the Austin American-Statesman and editor of Austin Homes and Gardens.
In the 1960s, she reported for a newspaper in Cali, Colombia, while her husband, Carter Wheelock, was establishing the English department at La Universidad del Valle. She was also a writer on the staff of Texas Attorney General John Ben Shepherd and served as public information director for St. Edward’s University.
She served as national public relations director for the Association of Women in Communications.
Before retiring in 1993, she served 12 years as editor of Alcalde magazine of the University of Texas Exes.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years.
She is survived by two children, two grandchildren, a great-grandchild and other relatives.
A memorial service was held May 11 at University Baptist Church of Austin, where she was a member for seven decades. Memorials may be to the church.
PAUL EDWARD WHITWORTH
RAYMONDVILLE – Raymondville Chronicle & Willacy County News Publisher Paul Edward Whitworth, 80, died April 29.
At the time of his death he was in his 42nd year as publisher of the Raymondville newspaper and his 57th year in the newspaper business.
A native of Harlingen, he served in the National Guard and worked in retail sales before starting his newspaper career in ad sales for the Temple Telegram in 1961, as he and his wife Edelmira “Edie” Flores Whitworth were starting their family.
In 1963, he went to the Houston Post, where he sold advertising in the Sharpstown Mall area of Southwest Houston. After a two-year stint with the Daily Oklahoman & Times in Oklahoma City, he returned to the Houston in 1967, when the Post began a rotogravure magazine in the Sunday edition. He directed sales for the magazine until it closed two years later, then returned to retail advertising sales.
In 1973, Whitworth joined Casa Grande Valley Newspapers as advertising director for newspapers in Casa Grande, Eloy, Coolidge, Florence, Gila Bend, and Showlow, Ariz.
Having decided that buying a weekly newspaper to run without interference from supervisors was his best option, Whitworth moved his family back to Texas when the Raymondville Chronicle & Willacy County News became available. In 1976, he purchased the newspaper from Mr. and Mrs. Carl Miller, who had owned and operated it since 1941.
The Whitworths ran the newspaper together until Edie Whitworth passed away in 2001. He remained publisher until his death.
In 2011, Whitworth was presented the Golden 50 award by the Texas Press Association celebrating his 50 years in publishing.
Later the same year he was inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo.
Whitworth served in many civic organizations over the years, including the Raymondville Lions Club. He was instrumental in Willacy County politics and worked tirelessly exposing corruption and serving local citizens.
He balanced a career as a small business owner with regular road trips to Austin to attend Texas Longhorn football games with his children. He was also an avid reader and fan of Texas history.
His time in Arizona piqued his interest in Native American history, culture and art.
He is survived by four children and nine grandchildren.
Funeral mass was held May 5 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Brownsville.
PLAINVIEW – Rober Bluhm, newly appointed editor of the Plainview Herald, died just weeks after taking the position.
Bluhm, 50, died in a Lubbock hospital May 1, four days after he was injured in a one-car accident in Plainview.
A 32-year newspaper veteran, Bluhm came to the Herald April 16 from Elk City, Oklahoma, where he was also editor. Previously, he had worked at newspapers in Dodge City, Kansas, and North Platte, Nebraska.
He was survived by his wife and two daughters.
A memorial service was planned in North Platte.