Frances DeVore, Longtime ‘Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner’ Reporter, Dies

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Frances DeVore, an award winning journalist at the Ocala Star-Banner for almost 60 years, has died. She was 92.

She died Wednesday at her home near Reddick, the newspaper said.

Devore began at the paper in 1947 and, except for a brief stint at the Orlando Sentinel, never left. She worked as a proofreader, society writer, covered city, county and school district government, and even made police rounds on horseback during her early days as a reporter. As the paper’s first regional editor, she trekked to Williston, Inverness and Wildwood.

“There were only about four or five of us on staff in those days, so you did a little of everything and she did everything,” former Star-Banner Editor David Cook said. “You could always count on her to do an excellent job. Whatever she did, she did with distinction.”

DeVore helped found the Florida Women’s Press Club in 1951 to fight inequities that prevented women from career advancement in the news industry.

“We felt at the time that women on all papers needed a place to learn something,” DeVore told the Star-Banner in 1997. “Back then, men just laughed at us.”

The Florida Women’s Press Club later allowed men to join and changed its name to the Florida Press Club. Its annual award for public service journalism is named for DeVore, who also won it on multiple occasions. Her journalism honors also included The New York Times Chairman’s Award for her first-person account of a battle with cancer and a National Freedom Forum award for photojournalism.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 28 at First Presbyterian Church in Ocala. Instead of flowers, the family requests donations in the name of Frances DeVore to the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity of Marion County or the Ocala Rape Crisis/Domestic Violence Center.

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