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Former SV Herald publisher Walter Wick dies at 85

Walter Wick, the former publisher of the Sierra Vista Herald and one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the Wick Communications newspaper chain, died Christmas morning at his home in Hereford.

Company officials announced Wick's death, which followed a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, on Wednesday.

Along with his brother Robert, Walter Wick grew the family newspaper business into a company with holdings in 11 states, with a concentration in Southern Arizona.

The Sierra Vista-based firm, still run by Wick family members, publishes in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon and South Dakota. Other than the Herald, other Arizona newspapers put out by the company include the Bisbee Review, Green Valley News, Sahaurita Sun, Nogales International and Douglas Dispatch. For a period, Wick also owned the Tucson Weekly and Inside Tucson Business, before selling to the 1013 Communications newspaper chain in 2014.

“I was blessed as much as any brother ever could be with Walter’s presence in my life. We at times had our differences but we each knew our love transcended all problems,” Robert Wick said in a company news release. “In my life this great soul is passed but his reverberation will ripple throughout all those who have known him.”

Wick became a part-owner of the firm in 1965. The company was founded in 1926, when Walter and Robert's father, Milton Wick, purchased the family's first newspaper in Niles, Ohio, with their uncle, James.

Walter’s daughter, Rebecca Rogers, sits on the company’s board of directors; while nephew Francis Wick is president and CEO; daughter Pat Wick is the assistant general manager at the Herald/Review and her son, Andrew Saenz has been named interim general manager of the International.

“Walt was a shepherd of the Wick family and stalwart of the Wick organization. His leadership and teachings have created a strong foundation for the company to continue under family ownership for years to come,” Francis Wick said in the announcement. relies on contributions from our readers to support our reporting on Tucson's civic affairs. Donate to today!
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“My brother Walter was a brilliantly unique human being. With a ferocious memory for literature, history, and newspapering,” Robert Wick said.

From the company:

Walter was born at Northside Hospital, in Youngstown, Ohio on February 4, 1931 to Milton and Rosemary (Lomas) Wick of Niles. He was born into a pioneering Norwegian family of Lutheran and Presbyterian pastors and ministers. He attended Washington Junior High School and McKinley High School, both of Niles, graduating in 1949. He attended college at Kent State University and the University of Minnesota.

Walter married Joyce M. Nelson in Minneapolis, MN in June of 1951 and then moved and worked as a publisher of the Niles Daily Times until 1961. He also served a term as president of the Niles Chamber of Commerce. In 1962 Wick and his family of four children (soon to be six) moved to Williston, ND, where he was publisher of the Williston Daily Herald for 14 years. They lived there until Walter was needed in Arizona when his father became ill and following the death of his teenage son, Thomas Walter in 1973. Walter was named publisher of the Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review and also served as president of the board of directors of Wick News, Inc. for many years.

He was preceded in death by his son, Thomas Walter, 16, in 1973, and nephew, Stanley Walter, 17, in 1980, and his former wife, Joyce M. Wick in 2002.

He is survived by his wife, Beverly E. (Sullivan), with whom he was first acquainted with in Niles during junior and senior high school. Beverly and Walter’s courtship was resumed in 2004 during a 55th high school reunion and they were married and moved to Sierra Vista in 2009.

He is also survived by his brother, Robert (Bob) J. (Estellean) Wick of Bisbee, his children, Robert (Robin) M. (Linda Golya) and Jonathan P. (Theresa Sowersby) both of Hereford, Christopher M. of Phoenix, Patricia Wick (Samuel Zackey) and Rebecca Rogers, both of Sierra Vista and Martha Lundin (Steve Frye) of Waukesha, WI. Grandchildren, Andrew J. (Jerusha) Saenz of Sahuarita, Morganna (John) Guzzon of Mesa, John (Claribel) Saenz of Willcox, Fiona Rogers of Tucson, Neville Wick of Flagstaff, Jessica Beam of Bronx, NY and Lucas Bostrom of Olympia, WA, Teryl (Callie) Murray of Show Low and Tyler (Larry Eberly) Murray of Tucson; great grandchildren, Zane, AJ, Markus, Danika and Matthew, Emyt, Meryn, Sara and Maximino. He is further survived by his nephews Francis (Amanda), Nathan (Tera), and Horace Wick and nieces Cornelia (Alan) Gun, Rosemary Wick and stepchildren Tom (Karen) Caswelch and Doug (Coleen) Caswell, their families and former wife, Joellen (Fisher) Wick.

Walter and his brother were elected to the Arizona Newspaper Association Hall of Fame in 2004, and also received the Presidential Medallion from Kent State University as the co-founder (along with brother Robert) of the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University in memory of his son Thomas, and his nephew, Stanley. Wick also established the Walter Wick Family Foundation with the Arizona Community Foundation and contributed most significantly, along with other family members to the Sierra Vista Boys and Girls Club Building Fund.

Walter’s interests, outside of being with and loving his family, included newspapers, literature, history and poetry. He loved bird watching, fine dining, and caring for his dachshunds. He was always up on the latest news, New York Times book reviews, and health information.

Gift memorials may be made to the Wick Poetry program at Kent State University, P.O. Box 5190, Kent OH 44242; attn: David Hassler. Services are tentatively being planned for Jan. 6 in Sierra Vista, with service location and times published close to the date.

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courtesy Wick Communications

Walter Wick