McClure, Former Gannett Exec, Dies

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(AP) J. Warren McClure, a former owner of the Burlington Free Press who became an executive at Gannett Co. before turning to philanthropy in retirement, has died at age 84.

McClure died Wednesday of pneumonia. He had suffered in recent years from Alzheimer’s disease, said his wife, Lois.

“”He was a remarkable person who did everything he could to win at everything he was doing,”” said Allan H. Neuharth, founder of Gannett’s flagship newspaper, USA Today, and the company’s former president and CEO.

McClure worked his way up to publisher at the Free Press before buying the paper with associates in 1961. A decade later, they sold it to Gannett in a deal that left McClure the company’s largest individual stockholder.

McClure became Gannett’s first vice president of marketing, a position he held until his retirement in 1975, at age 55.

McClure then became a well-known philanthropist. He and his wife donated to dozens of organizations, including the Shelburne Museum and the University of Vermont.

Gifts to the museum included $1.7 million to restore the Ticonderoga, a 220-foot paddlewheel steamboat that had operated on Lake Champlain and is now displayed at the museum.

“”He just was a dreamer and a mover and a shaker,”” said Lois McClure, who married him in 1954. “”Where he went, I followed.””

McClure was born in Clairton, Pa. The couple had four children.

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