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Published: Thursday, 12/28/2006

Assistant managing editor had 32-year Blade career

William P. Day, 80, whose life work was journalism, as a reporter, then assistant managing editor and assistant to the publishers of The Blade and as a university journalism instructor, died Sunday in Lake Park Comfort Care, Sylvania.

He had Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, his wife, Liz, said.

Mr. Day retired in 1991 from the University of Toledo, where he was an assistant professor of communications.

He retired from The Blade July 31, 1984, as an assistant managing editor and assistant to the publishers, ending a 32-year career at the newspaper.

"He was a good friend for many, many years," said Bernard Judy, retired editor-in-chief of The Blade.

His duties placed him the public eye frequently. He gave speeches, recruited reporters and copy editors, and belonged to professional and community groups on the newspaper's behalf.

He also acted as readers' advocate. The newspaper, in a mid 1970s advertisement, said to readers, "Got a beef? If you have, let us know." His photo and phone number were in the ad.

"It was really a satisfying experience," Mr. Day told The Blade in 1984. "It taught us a lot about readers and their reactions to what we do. It also showed that we as editors occasionally get too tied up in our own circles and lose touch."

In turn, Mr. Day was the voice in the newsroom of the publishers, Paul Block, Jr., and William Block, and Mr. Day had frequent conversations with Paul Block in particular about the news of the day, Mr. Judy said.

Mr. Day, sports editor of the newspaper at Findlay High School while a student, received a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. He also was editor his senior year of the BG News. He was a staff member at the then-Findlay Republican-Courier for two years after graduation.

In his youth, "he had a little neighborhood newspaper," his wife said. "As long as he could remember, he used to like to write."

He became a Blade reporter in 1952 and was assigned to the state desk. He later was a copy reader and a Sunday section editor before he became state editor in 1961. Promotions to assistant to the publishers and assistant managing editor followed.

He was a former president of the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and of the Associated Press Society of Ohio. He served eight years as regional director and a member of the national board of directors of the Society of Professional Journalists.

He was a founder and the first president of the Toledo Press Club.

He taught for at least 20 years before he left daily journalism, first as a visiting lecturer at BGSU, teaching copy editing and press management. He taught at UT beginning in the late 1960s. He was on the accrediting committee of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

"He always said he had the best of both worlds," his wife said. "He really liked them both" - the newspaper and the classroom.

At his retirement from The Blade, he became an assistant professor of journalism at UT and taught press management, media ethics, and public relations. He was faculty adviser to the student newspaper, The Collegian, and to the student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

He received an Outstanding Teaching award in 1987 during the UT Honors Day convocation. In 1990, the UT Panhellenic Association named him faculty member of the year.

The reward of teaching, he said when he received the teaching award, was "the satisfaction of seeing the students' minds light up, seeing them acquire understanding of the subject and really get into it."

He received a master's degree from UT.

He received the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1980 from BGSU, which recognized his role in the alumni association's reorganization. He later was elected to the BGSU journalism hall of fame.

His community activities included stints as president and board member of the foundation that operates WGTE-TV, Channel 30, as a director of the Toledo Symphony, and as an adviser to the Greater Toledo Chapter of the American Red Cross.

He belonged to First United Methodist Church-Sylvania.

He liked to golf and play tennis and was fond of bird watching. In retirement, he and his wife spent several winters in Fort Myers, Fla.

Mr. Day was an Army veteran of World War II. His infantry took part in the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp.

Surviving are his wife, Liz, whom he married June 21, 1952; daughters, Rebecca Miller and Jennifer Wilson; son, Steve Day; sister, Mary Lou Wortman; brothers, Tom, Larry, Mike, and Patrick Day, and three grandchildren.

Memorial services are pending. Arrangements are by the Reeb Funeral Home, Sylvania.

The family suggests tributes to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, the Alzheimer's Association, or Caring Visiting Nurse Hospice and Health Care.



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