James C. Weeks, a former publisher of The Press Democrat who went on to become president and chief operating officer of the New York Times Regional Media Group, has died. He was 64.
Weeks died unexpectedly Monday on a trip to New York, said Mary Jacobus, the newspaper group’s current president and chief operating officer. The cause of his death was not immediately available.
Weeks led The Press Democrat for two years starting in 1985. The newspaper’s first publisher after it was bought by the New York Times Co., he oversaw the construction of a new printing plant that allowed the paper to print its first color images.
The Press Democrat’s circulation also saw a major increase under Weeks’ leadership, said current publisher Bruce W. Kyse.
“Jim came in a ball of fire of ideas and enthusiasm,” Kyse said. “The paper grew significantly under his direction.”
Weeks also oversaw the Santa Barbara News-Press for several months while serving as The Press Democrat’s publisher. He left both newspapers in 1988 for a position in Atlanta as vice president of operations for the newspaper group. He was promoted to president and chief operating officer of the company before retiring in 1999, Kyse said.
After retirement, Weeks remained in Atlanta and enjoyed skiing at his vacation home in Aspen, Colo.
Weeks began his career in 1964 as a retail advertising salesman for the Gainesville Sun in Gainesville, Fla. He went on to become publisher of the Star-News in Wilmington, N.C., before taking over The Press Democrat.
He is survived by his wife and two children.