of Cathlamet, WA
September 11, 1927 - July 2, 2004
Tom Dearmore, age 76, of Cathlamet, Washington, formerly of Mountain Home and Little Rock, Ark., who retired in 1991 as edictorial director of the San Francisco Examiner, died Friday. He began his newspaper career on his family's weekly nespaper, the Baxter Bulletin at Mountain Home, and wrote editorials for the Washington Star and the Arkansas Gazette before joining the Examiner. The son of Benjamin and Ethel Shiras Dearmore, Thomas Lee Dearmore was born Sept. 11, 1927 in Mountain Home. He attended New Mexico A and M College at Las Cruces, N.M. in an Army Air Corps program and served in the U. S. Air Force from 1944 to 1946, editing the base newspaper at Spokane, Wash. He also attended Drury College at Springfield, MO. He married Reba Byrd on Nov. 5, 1950, and she was a distinguished teacher, accomplished musician and recognized businesswoman in Mountain Home before her husband's career took them out of state. As a young Ozarks newspaper editor-publisher, and member of pioneer homesteading families of Baxter County, Arkansas, Dearmore was friends with Orval Faubus, who published the Huntsville paper in the nearby hills. But after Governor Faubus began to loudly defy federal desegregation orders, the Baxter Bulletin took a stong stand against him. Faubus had placed Dearmore on the state Publicity and Parks Commission and a recent Arkansas newspaper history, ''Community Diaries,'' says Dearmore was told to leave the commission, but ''refusing to do so, he remained, giving trouble to the end of his term.'' In part because of his stand in the desegregation crisis, he became Arkansas' first Nieman Fellow, studying at Harvard University in 1959-1960. During his tenure as co-editor and co-publisher of the Baxter Bulletin with the late Pete Shiras, the paper became the largest weekly in the state and the frequent winner of Arkansas Press Association awards. He left Arkansas to write editorials for The Washington Star in the nation's capital from 1970-1976, honing his writing skills and continuing his study of the national political scene first hand. He returned to his native Arkansas as Associate Editor of the Arkansas Gazette from 1976-1978. He was recruited to a new position created for him as editorial director of the opinion page of the San Francisco Examiner in 1978 and was actively involved in local, state, national and international political issues until his retirement in 1991. In 1980, he was one of five finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished editorial writing and the same year, he won the national Walker Stone Award for distinguished editorial writing from the Scripps-Howard Foundation, on the highest national honors for editorial writers. The judges noted that ''Tom Dearmore is one of those rare editorial writers who wraps his message in the beauty of the language. He makes his editorials so beautiful that they must be opened.'' Reg Murphy, his editor at the Examiner, once wrote that Dearmore ''is one of the best in the business. He has been one of the nation's leading practitioners of editorial writing ever since he started newspapering on the family-owned Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home, Arkansas. ''His serviced took him from Mountain Home to the Washington Star for the stormy years of the Nixon presidency. It was his editorial writing that distinguished the Star in those days. ''A true craftsman with words, Dearmore bleeds at the keyboard, where he writes an average of a thousand words a day, but he works even harder at reading. His desk is a clutter of everything from the Economist to the New Republic to pamphlets from all the cause groups. A burly, rumpled story-teller, Dearmore is as likely to quote from Rolling Stone as from Ralph Waldo Emerson.'' On his retirement as editorial director of the San Francisco Examiner, Publisher William Randolph Hurst praised Dearmore's ''thousands of editorials'' in his ''award-studded tenure that has had an impact on many issues on both the national and local levels.'' Dearmore was a member of the Society of Professional Jounalist, Society of Nieman Fellows, National Conference of Editorial Writers and American Society of Newspaper Editors. His articles have appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine and other magazines. Dearmore was preceded in death by his wife. He survived by a daughter: Diana Dearmore of Woodland, Cal., a San Francisco mortgage banker, and a son, Wahkiakum County Undersheriff Jonathan Dearmore of Naselle, Wash., and Jonathan's wife, Lori, and their daugher Kaelee, Tom Dearmore's beloved granddaughter. Visitation will be from noon-9:00P.M. Tuesday at the Roller Funeral Home in Mountain Home with the family receiving friends from 6-8:00P.M. Funeral Services will be 2:00P.M. Wednesday in the Roller Chapel. Interment with military honors will follow in Mountain Home Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Mountain Home Cemetery Fund.
Diana and Jonathan, it's been many years since I've spent time in Mountain Home, and when I think of it, I invariably think of the Dearmore family and how much your parents meant to our own family, and how much my mother loved and cherished them. When I learned of your father's passing today, the memories nearly overwhelmed me, and I was struck by what a gift and a blessing they were to so many people. My condolences to you both and to your loved ones, and my very best regards.
Dear Diana and Jonathan,
We loved the Baxter Bulletin! Your Dad and Mr. Pete Shiras were the best. After we moved to Bentonville, we continued to subscribe to the Baxter Bulletin for several years. We lived in Mountain Home from 1951-1962. Your Mother and I (Mary) were teacher friends at the 6-12 school on South College. We corresponed
after your family moved from Mountain Home. She loved to write about both of you and often sent pictures. I would love to have your addresses.
Mary and Jodie Jones
703 NW 8th
Bentonville, Ar. 72712
My parents admired your father so very much, and I follwed his career because of this. He was a truly nice and wonderful man. Your mother was my favorite teacher (2nd grade) because she was the nicest and the prettiest, and she loved to have fun. You have been blessed with great parents - and I'm sure you realize this. I'm glad they shared their lives with us in Mountain Home for a while.
Diana and Jonathan: My husband is the great grandson of Arch Dearmore and Elizabeth Lonon.
I have a lot of information from your Mother that has been passed through the family.
We both extend our sincere sympathy. I kept thinking that I would get in touch with him, but time flies. I have heard only great thins about your Dad and know that he leaves a wonderful legacy for all of us
Like many people, I always considered Tom to be my friend. Unfortunately I wasn't favored by visiting with him for a number of years, but his death is a loss to me. He had the capacity for retaining the common touch despite his many honors. He will be fondly remembered.
We would like to extend our sympathy to Tom's family at this time.
Several years ago, we corresponded with Tom in reference to our Dearmore family research. He was so very kind to share some of his Dearmore information and stories with us.
( My sister read of Tom's death in the Jonesboro, AR paper and called us. I am the great grandson of Martha Ann Dearmore and Newton Edney. )
Again, our condolences to Tom's family.
Wayne & Carolyn Allison from Cushing, Oklahoma
Dear Diana & Jonathan,
I extend sincere sympathy to you & your families. Tom held a very special place in the lives of my family. Mother (Doris Studdard) enjoyed her years working with Tom at the Baxter Bulletin. I remember your Mom as my 3rd grade teacher. Mother resides in a nursing home near me. She suffers from dementia; no longer communictes nor recognizes anyone. I know she would want to be there in person to see you if she were able. Please know I send words of sympanty for her.