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Eugene Patterson | 1923-2013

He made a mark

Eugene Patterson, a former Times Publishing Co. editor and CEO who crusaded for civil rights in American society and higher standards in America’s newsrooms, died Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013.

During his 41 years in journalism, Mr. Patterson won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing, served as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and led the Times through an era of rapid growth and recognition by Time magazine as one of America’s 10 best newspapers.

Mr. Patterson also served in World War II in George S. Patton's Third Army and was a high-ranking editor at the Washington Post. But his enduring legacy came with an editorial he had written at the Atlanta Constitution after four little girls died in a church bombing in Birmingham, Ala. In "A Flower for the Graves," he wrote: "If our South is ever to be what we wish it to be, we will plant a flower of nobler resolve for the South now upon these four small graves that we dug."

At the Times, Mr. Patterson also helped cement an ownership structure that has ensured its independence all of these years. A tile block at the Poynter Insitute for Media Studies, which owns the Times, contains a quote from Mr. Patterson that sums up his approach to his life and career:

"Don't just make a living, make a mark."

Oct. 15,1923

Born to a school teacher and a bank cashier, he was raised on a farm near Adel, Ga.


A.B degree in journalism, University of Georgia.


Served in the Army, discharged as a captain, having been decorated three times including a Silver Star for gallantry.


Early newspaper jobs included stints in Texas and Georgia before joining United Press.


UP's London bureau chief.


Executive editor of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.


Editor of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.


Served as vice chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission after being appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.


Wins Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.


Managing editor of the Washington Post.


Professor in political science at Duke University.


Editor of the St. Petersburg Times and its Washington publication, Congressional Quarterly.


President of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.


Becomes CEO of Times Publishing Co. upon the death of Nelson. Poynter.


Named chairman of the board and CEO of Times Publishing.


Oversees the launch of CQ's Governing Magazine.




Died Jan. 12, 2013.

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