Former Publisher ‘Clif’ Caldwell Dies at 87

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Clifton “”Clif”” Floyd Caldwell, 87, a 46-year newspaper owner and publisher from Christopher, Ill., died Feb. 29 in Somerset, Pa., following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Caldwell was the former owner and publisher of The Progress in Christopher, as well as Herrin Spokesman newspapers. His newspaper career covered five states and stops in Oklahoma, Texas, Massachusetts, Florida and Illinois. The veteran publisher’s career was highlighted by his election to the SIU Editors Hall of Fame, located at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Caldwell started his newspaper career in Ada, Okla., in 1946 after graduating from Oklahoma University. Soon after, he accepted the advertising manager position at a weekly newspaper in Shamrock, Texas. In 1947 Caldwell went to work for the Texas City Sun, Texas City, as an advertising manager. He later became publisher of the Sun and its neighboring daily newspaper, The Galveston News.

In 1967, he accepted the publisher’s position at the Fitchburg (Mass.) Sentinel. He continued as its publisher until 1973 when he was named publisher of the Lake City (Fla.) Reporter.

Caldwell’s newspaper career expanded into the ownership of the Progress and Herrin Spokesman, a group of Illinois weeklies, in 1974. His emphasis on local coverage provided news to communities in Sesser, Zeigler, Royalton, Johnston City, and Carterville, as well as Christopher and Herrin.

Joined by his wife, Verna Mildred “”Millie”” Caldwell, he instituted zoned editions of his weeklies that provided published local news for the seven different southern Illinois communities.

In his award-winning newspaper column “”Clifhanger,”” Caldwell addressed issues affecting his readers and often didn’t shy away from local controversies, including disagreements with local politicians.

In 1987, Caldwell sold the Christopher Progress and the Herrin Spokesman to American Publishing. He retired after the sale of the newspaper and settled in Christopher.

A World War II Navy veteran, he served from 1941-45 in the Pacific and Atlantic theatres, including stints in the Aleutian Islands and missions hunting German submarines in the English Channel.

Caldwell was committed to local communities, and was involved in Lions Clubs throughout his newspaper career.

Caldwell died at the home of his son Douglas Caldwell, publisher of the Daily American, and daughter-in-law Mary Ann Caldwell, surrounded by his family. He is survived by Millie, his wife of 61 years; four children, Denis, Dave, Douglas and Cindy Caldwell; and daughters-in-law Peggy Caldwell and Mary Ann Caldwell.

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