Former ‘Dallas Morning News’ Publisher John Rector Dead At 86

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By: E&P Staff

John A. Rector Jr., the first publisher of The Dallas Morning News to come from outside the family of the newspaper’s co-founder G.B. Dealey, has died at age 86.

The Morning News reported that Rector died Thursday of pneumonia at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.

Rector worked nearly 40 years at the Morning News, rising from an ad salesman in 1947 to publisher in 1985.

According to a Morning News obituary by Joe Simnacher, Rector had an unconventional management style, once donning a gorilla suit for the day and another time sneaking a boa constrictor into a meeting of the newspaper company’s board of directors.

“John had a challenging opportunity as the first non-family publisher of The Dallas Morning News,” the paper’s current publisher and CEO, James M. Moroney III, said in the obituary. “He carried out those duties as publisher in a way that continued the excellence of the newspaper he inherited.”

A native of Oklahoma, Rector served in the Army during World War II, returning after the war to complete his journalism degree at the University of Oklahoma. He joined the Morning News in 1947.

He was promoted to retail advertising manager in 1960, and then advertising director in 1968. He was named vice president of sales and marketing in 1975, and executive vice president in 1980. Rector became president in 1983, and publisher two years later.

He retired in 1986.

He is survived by wife, Marilyn Rector of Dallas; a son, John Rector III; two daughters, Susan Waddington and Meg Rector; a brother, Don; and four grandchildren.

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