Former 'Log Cabin Democrat' Publisher Robins Dies at 80

By: Frank E. Robins III, the former publisher and last family owner of the Log Cabin Democrat newspaper in Arkansas, has died. He was 80.

Robins died Saturday at his Conway home, his former newspaper reported. The newspaper did not offer a cause of death and the funeral home handling his service declined to release any information.

Robins' grandfather, J.W. Robins, purchased the newspaper in a trade for his sawmill in 1894. The newspaper remained in the family's hands when a young Frank Robins III joined the newsroom in 1949 after graduating from Hendrix College in Conway.

Robins left Conway for a time to serve in the Air Force during the Korean War, earning the rank of second lieutenant. In 1959, he took over as publisher after the death of his father, Frank E. Robins Jr.

Former colleagues remembered Robins as a stickler for accuracy.

"He was very hard-nosed about assumptions," said John L. Ward, who also served as managing editor at the Log Cabin under Robins. "Reporters, in gathering information for a story, sometimes tended to make two or three assumptions so they could crank out one story and go on to something else. Frank hated assumptions. If you made an assumption and it was wrong, he was a hard man to deal with."

In 1989, Robins sold 49 percent of the newspaper to Stauffer Communications Inc. of Topeka, Kan. Robins continued to serve as publisher until his retirement in 1994. Stauffer was bought by Morris Communications Inc., based at Augusta, Ga., in 1995.

Robins served on the board of the Conway Corp., for many years as chairman of the agency that provides electricity, water and other services to the city. He also served as a former president of the Arkansas Press Association.

Robins is survived by his wife Dorothy O'Neal Robins, daughter Laura Robins Falls, sister Mary Virginia Ferguson and grandson Nathan Thomas Falls of Conway. A graveside service will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Crestlawn Memorial Park in Conway, followed by a 10:30 a.m. service at First United Methodist Church in Conway.


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