Mary Schurz, 71, a longtime editor and publisher of The (Danville) Advocate-Messenger whose family owns a chain of community newspapers, died Monday at her home in Danville after a long illness, the newspaper reported.
Miss Schurz began working at the Advocate-Messenger in 1977, when Schurz Communications, a media company founded by her father, bought the paper. She served as its editor and publisher from 1978 to 2006, when she retired and her nephew Scott C. Schurz Jr. took her place. After her retirement, she was named chairman and editor emeritus.
Because of her early career as a reporter, which included a stint with The Associated Press in New York City, Miss Schurz "understood our chores and always stood ready to fight the good fight," said John Nelson, managing editor of the Advocate-Messenger. "She will be severely missed here."
Miss Schurz was director emeritus of Schurz Communications Inc., which is based in South Bend, Ind., and owns more than a dozen newspapers in seven states, and a number of radio and television stations, according to the company's Web site. In Kentucky, the company owns the Advocate-Messenger, The Jessamine Journal, The Winchester Sun and The Interior Journal in Stanford.
Miss Schurz held leadership positions in a number of journalism organizations, and she served as a judge for the Pulitzer Prize in 1985, according to the Advocate-Messenger. In 2001, she received the Lewis Owens Community Service Award from the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Kentucky Press Association.
She served on boards of trustees at Centre College and Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill and was a major donor to the Boyle County Public Library and the Great American Brass Band Festival, which she helped start.
Visitation will be 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday at Stith Funeral Home in Danville.