Bill Wagner, a longtime Texas journalist who served as the executive editor of San Antonio’s afternoon newspaper, died at age 85 after a lengthy illness affecting his central nervous system.
Wagner was the managing editor of the San Antonio Evening News when President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. He and his staff put out seven editions that day, “just one after the other,” said Sterlin Holmesly, who was managing editor of the Evening News’ sister paper, the morning Express.
The two papers merged in 1984, becoming the San Antonio Express-News.
Long before type-setting and printing was computerized, “it was a significant accomplishment to put out seven editions,” Holmesly said.
Wagner flew 35 combat missions as a B-17 navigator during World War II before landing his first job in journalism with the Houston Chronicle. He began work in San Antonio in 1947, working in nearly every capacity from reporter to managing editor at the morning and afternoon newspapers.
He later moved to Austin to work for the Texas Department of Human Resources and taught journalism at Concordia College in Austin.
At the time of his death, he was the editor of the monthly publication of the Lutheran Church in Texas.
Wagner is survived by his wife of 61 years, Bobbye; a son, two daughters and five grandchildren.