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Tom Dearmore wrote with eloquent voice.

Tom Dearmore punched some of the more prestigious and interesting tickets in his field during a distinguished career in newspaper opinion writing that ended with his death at age 76.

NCEW members who attended the San Francisco convention in 1983 will remember his steady hand as convention chair.

He was a Southerner, Arkansas-born, who started his career writing editorials for the Baxter Bulletin, his family's newspaper in Mountain Home, Arkansas. He went on to grace opinion pages of the Washington Star and The Arkansas Gazette with his editorial writing. He was the first Arkansan to win a Nieman Fellowship (1959-1960). He retired in 1991 from the post of editor of the San Francisco Examiner.

A former Star colleague, James Heavy of the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote "racial equality and fairness became a lifelong theme of Dearmore's eloquent editorial voice." He said Dearmore brought a rare "blend of country warmth, humor and hard-eyed political perception."

The Gazette, in a farewell editorial, told of Dearmore's early alliance with a fellow country publisher, Orval Faubus, helping Faubus win election and then breaking with the governor when he embraced segregation as a political philosophy.

"Tom Dearmore would have none of it. It wasn't just his sense of right and wrong that was offended; it was his elemental patriotism. He knew this was not the American way, and said so. Again and again. In print. And when his former friend Orval tried to kick him off the parks commission, he wouldn't budge."

The editorial described him as a classic conservative who fought right-wing extremes in Arkansas and left-wing ones in California.

Survivors include a daughter, Diana Dearmore; a son, Jonathan Dearmore; and a granddaughter. His wife, Reba Byrd Dearmore, preceded him in death.
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Publication:The Masthead
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2004
Words:288
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