Former Toledo ‘Blade’ Editor-in-Chief Bernard Judy Dies at 90

By: E&P Staff

Bernard F. Judy, editor-in-chief of The Blade during downtown Toledo’s revitalization, died June 29 after having suffered a stroke in April. He was 90, and is survived by a wife and four children.

Judy went to work for the Blade straight out of Columbia University in 1948 when he and other journalism students ran a half-page ad in Editor & Publisher magazine during the publishers convention in New York City. Having created the ad, Judy put his name first. Writing for the Blade, Jack Lessenberry relates that Judy had impressed then-publisher Paul Block Jr., who “hired him on the spot.”

Called “the eyes and ears” of Block, Judy became close enough to the late publisher that eventually he was named editor-in-chief, a position he held until his 1989 retirement.

Noting Judy’s knowledge of Toledo, Lessenberry credits the origination of major stories with tips from Judy to staffers left “wondering how he found it out first.”

Doug DeGood, Toledo’s mayor from 1977 to 1983, called Judy “the public face of the newspaper” and the staffer with whom local leaders often talked to “get an initial read on what the reaction of the newspaper would be.”

Judy served in Army counterintelligence during World War II. A pitcher for Grove City College’s baseball team, he was asked to try out with a New York Yankees farm team, but went on to receive a degree from Washington and Lee University and a master’s from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

While working for years as a general assignment reporter, Judy also reviewed movies, helped on the business desk and contributed freelance reporting, including seven cover stories, to Business Week. He moved on to success as a knowledgeable and persuasive editorial writer. Appointed an associate editor in 1959, he was named editorial director in 1971 and editor in 1973.

An award-winning writer himself, Judy served on at least four Pulitzer Prize juries, was a founder and board member of the Toledo Press Club, and was a past president of Sigma Delta Chi’s local chapter. He was a director of The Toledo Blade Co. and later, under Block Communications, a vice president of the Blade’s board of directors.

In the Blade, Lessenberry also reports that Judy was known for his contemporary-art collection and for the notion that he could “edit” the works with “a splash of color here and there.” He even changed the name of a newspaper in a copy of a Juan Gris painting to “Blade.”

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