State loses strong voice

Posted: Friday, May 09, 2008

Our condolences to the family of Alaska journalist pioneer Lew Williams Jr.

Williams wrote columns for the Ketchikan Daily News, but it was his reputation for a strong editorial voice that gained the respect of lawmakers in Juneau and Washington, D.C., and those heading our state's university.

Despite retiring as publisher, Williams was still writing columns up until a few weeks ago.

He died May 3 at the age of 83.

Williams was active in the state's affairs as a journalist for about 60 years -- impressive by any standards. He and his wife, Dorothy, published newspapers in Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka and Ketchikan.

He was involved in many aspects of the state's development and served on local school boards, state boards for every governor through 1999, and was on the University of Alaska's Board of Regents that appointed current president Mark Hamilton 10 years ago.

"He was pretty fearless," Hamilton said. "He jumped out there and said what pretty well needed to be said."

Williams had a passion for Alaska and found a cause worth fighting for and did, as vocally as a newspaper man could.

His words will live on, as will the respect he earned by them.

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