Longtime publisher Ogden Nutting dies at 87

Community, business leader touched the lives of many


G. Ogden Nutting, who for nearly three decades served as president and publisher of Wheeling, W.Va.-based Ogden Newspapers Inc., died Friday, August 25, at age 87.

Nutting spent a lifetime in service to the newspaper industry. He started his journalism career in 1956 at The Journal of Martinsburg in West Virginia. He moved to Wheeling in 1958 to take a position as assistant business manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register. He became general manager of the newspapers in the late 1960s, and in 1970, he was named president and publisher of Ogden Newspapers Inc., which at that time owned seven daily and two weekly newspapers in West Virginia and 19 other newspapers across the country.

Active in national and state newspaper and journalism associations, he served on boards and committees of the American Newspaper Publishers Association, Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and the West Virginia Press Association.

Nutting received both state and national recognition for his newspapers’ efforts to shine light in dark places. In 2010 the West Virginia Press Association honored Nutting with its highest honor, the Adam R. Kelly Premier Journalist Award, for a lifetime of service to informing West Virginians. The award is given in memory of the late Adam R. Kelly, legendary “Country Editor” columnist and former owner and editor of the Tyler Star News in Sistersville, West Virginia.

Upon learning of Nutting’s passing, West Virginia Press Association Executive Director Don Smith said Nutting was the “last of the great publishers in the history of newspapers in West Virginia.”

“The West Virginia Press Association, the newspaper industry and this state have lost an iconic leader and a gracious man,” Smith said. “Ogden Nutting symbolized the family newspaper ownership that served as the structure of our association during the last century and ensured a free and independent press across West Virginia."

The West Virginia Press Association in 1994 named Nutting a Life Member “in appreciation for years of outstanding service” in publishing community newspapers.

National recognition included the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association awarding Nutting in 2012 its highest honor, the Frank W. Mayborn Leadership Award, for his “vision, community leadership, and significant contributions to the newspaper industry.”

In bestowing the Mayborn award, Donna Barrett, president and CEO of Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., called Nutting "the very model of a newspaper editor and publisher."

"He is deeply committed to the cities and towns his newspapers serve," she said. "He celebrates the successes of those communities and heralds stories of people at their best. He shares their losses and is committed to reporting their failings — particularly when those failings are the fault of elected leaders. Above all, he underscores the importance of what we leave behind to the next generation."

A former member of the Visiting Committee of the West Virginia University School of Journalism, Nutting was instrumental in establishing the Ogden Newspapers and Nutting Family Journalism Endowment Scholarship Fund for juniors and seniors studying print media, which to date has handed out nearly $170,000 in scholarships. Ogden Newspapers and the Nutting family also created the West Virginia University Journalism Library Endowment Fund, the Ogden Newspapers Multimedia Classroom, the Nutting Family Studio and the Ogden Newspapers Endowed Visiting Professor position, held for a decade by the late Dr. George Esper, a legendary Associated Press correspondent.

The Ogden Newspapers Seminar Series at West Virginia University has attracted many high-profile figures to exchange ideas on important issues of the day. The speakers have included Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker; legendary sportswriter Frank Defour; journalists Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington; political cartoonist Mike Lukovich; and Ari Fleischer, former spokesman for President George W. Bush.

Nutting served on the West Virginia University Foundation Board of Directors in the 1960s and then later, from 1988-2008. In 1996, Nutting was recognized for his service to West Virginia University and the state of West Virginia when he received the “Most Loyal West Virginian” award. In 1998, he was honored with West Virginia University's prestigious Distinguished Service Award for “exceptional leadership in the state and nation.” Honored again in 2000 by West Virginia University, Nutting received the first Paul A. Atkins “Friend of the Journalism School” award.

He was inducted into the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame in 2002 and in 2007 was inducted into the Order of Vandalia, West Virginia University’s most prestigious honor for service to the university and state. In 2012, he received an honorary doctorate from the university. The Nutting Foundation also received the WVU Foundation’s “Outstanding Philanthropy Award” in 2012.

Nutting served for 45 years as a member of the Board of Trustees at Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia, from which he received an Honorary Doctorate in 2001 and was chosen for Bethany's Communication and Media Arts Department “Wall of Fame” in 2012. He was a board member of The Linsly School and also Wheeling Country Day School, both located in Wheeling.

Nutting was active in civic and community affairs in his hometown of Wheeling. He served for more than 40 years on the Wheeling Park Commission and as a member of the Oglebay Foundation. Nutting was an advocate for, and strong supporter of, the Community Chest/United Way his entire career. The United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley named him as recipient of its “Building a Better Community” award in 2018, and the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce honored him in 2019.

Nutting also served on multiple other boards in Wheeling. He was a bank director for 50 years, and served as chairman of the board of the Half Dollar Trust and Savings Bank. He was a life member of the Wheeling Elks, BPOE No. 28, and a member of the Rotary Club of Wheeling for decades.

He believed strongly in giving back to his local communities, with his philanthropic efforts ranging from working with major organizations to specific projects such as the Nutting Art Gallery at West Liberty University in West Liberty, West Virginia, the Nutting Winter Sports Complex at Oglebay Park in Wheeling and Nutting Hall at Blaney House, the president’s residence at West Virginia University.

He was named to the Wheeling Hall of Fame in 2013 in the Business, Industry and Professions category, joining his grandfather, H.C. Ogden, who was inducted in 1982 in the same category.

Nutting’s wife, Betty Woods “Snookie” Nutting, joined him in the Wheeling Hall of Fame in 2017 for Public Service, making them the first married couple in the Hall of Fame as individual honorees and for different contributions to the city.

His work in West Virginia was recognized in 2005 by then-West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise who presented him the “Distinguished West Virginian” Award.

He also was involved in endeavors outside of Wheeling. In 1996, Nutting joined with Kevin McClatchy’s partnership group to ensure the Pittsburgh Pirates remained in Pittsburgh. He later worked with McClatchy to help design and open PNC Park in 2001.

A lifelong sports enthusiast, Nutting regularly was found at local sports events, cheering on area athletes. A skilled tennis player and enthusiast of skiing, he regularly skied at Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Hidden Valley Resort in Pennsylvania along with other ski areas across the country, as twice was chronicled in Ski Magazine for likely skiing at more ski resorts than anyone had skied before.

He founded the original Wheeling Junior Soccer Club and also was a founding officer of the Wheeling Ironmen professional football team.

The newspaper company Nutting oversaw for years was founded by his maternal grandfather, H.C. Ogden, who published the first edition of the Wheeling Evening News on Sept. 22, 1890.

Today, Nutting’s son Robert M. Nutting serves as president and CEO of Ogden Newspapers Inc., his son William O. Nutting serves as vice president and his granddaughter Cameron Nutting Williams serves as regional manager and chief revenue officer. They are in the fourth and fifth generations of the family that has owned and managed the company based in Wheeling for nearly 133 years.

The family has deep roots in the industry. Robert Nutting is a past president of the Newspaper Association of America and a past president of the West Virginia Press Association, while William Nutting served as a past president of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and a director of The Associated Press. Cameron Nutting Williams currently serves as president of America’s Newspapers.

The Ogden Newspapers Inc. has expanded since its founding to now include newspapers, websites, magazines, phone directories and related businesses in 18 states.

Nutting is survived by his spouse, Betty Woods “Snookie” Nutting; his brother, oldest friend and lifetime business partner, William C. Nutting; his two sons, William O. and Robert M. Nutting; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

There will be no visitation or public service. Those desiring to do so should make contributions to the church or charity of their choice.

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register Editorial
Aug. 28, 2023

Nutting led a life of service

There's perhaps been no more beloved and influential citizen in our Upper Ohio Valley and the state of West Virginia over the past half-century than G. Ogden Nutting. From serving as publisher and general manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, to spending decades helping local colleges — both public and private — educate future leaders, to serving a vital role on any number of community and civic organizations aimed at improving life for those living in our communities, Nutting selflessly gave of his time and talents in an effort to serve others.

Nutting died Friday (Aug. 25) at age 87. He leaves an unparalleled legacy of service to our city, our region, and our state.

For more than 50 years, he led The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register as its publisher and general manager. His life's work focused on providing the latest and most important and relevant news, sports and feature content to readers, and also providing context on just what that information meant, and its impact on residents and our communities.

Nutting was a believer in the power of local newspapers to bring people and communities together. He had a passion for stories that focused on local people doing extraordinary things — particularly local students excelling in the classroom or on the field of play.

Yet he also was the first to stand up when an injustice occurred — particularly if that injustice was handed down by a public official. He was a newspaperman, and understood both the importance of informing local communities and also the responsibility of ensuring that it was done in a fair and unbiased manner. And the newspapers' editorial pages under Nutting's leadership provided a principled approach to matters of local and state interest.

Nutting also served as a trusted adviser to many. When important matters arose in our communities or our state, Nutting was called to weigh in, offering decades of wisdom, experience and guidance to the process.

He offered an even-keeled approach to tackling any issue.

Nutting was passionate about causes surrounding education. He spent 45 years on the Board of Trustees at Bethany College and more than 20 years on the Board of the West Virginia University Foundation.

His service to the state of West Virginia earned him the "Most Loyal West Virginian" award, and his contributions to WVU and the state earned him induction into the Order of Vandalia.

He oversaw the growth and development of Oglebay Park over the past several decades as a member of the Wheeling Park Commission.

He served on numerous local boards and committees. His life centered on what he could do each day to improve life for others in our region. He always put others first.

Nutting's own thoughts when late Wheeling News-Register editor J. Michael Myer died in 2021 are more than fitting to repeat here, as Nutting recalled then perhaps the shortest editorial ever written: "A family loved, a community and state served, a life well lived."


Rest in peace, Ogden Nutting. Your insight and leadership made a difference and will truly be missed.

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