By: Press Release
John Stephen Smetana, 67, decorated Vietnam veteran, career newspaperman and night city editor at the Reno Gazette-Journal, died Tuesday of cancer.
Smetana was an ink-stained newsman straight out of central casting.
“He was my favorite curmudgeon,” said Liz McFarland, a circulation manager with the Reno Gazette-
Journal. “He was old school, hard boiled, what you imagine a newspaper editor should be like.”
He was gruff and terse. People often took him for a sourpuss until they saw the kindness beneath the grouchy patina. He spent his nights hunchbacked over a computer, stalking factual errors and calling reporters about their stories. He hung up as soon as his questions were answered. He had no time for chit-chat.