Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sam Williams, former Trib city editor, dead at 68

The Oakland Tribune reports that Samuel Guy "Sam" Williams III, its former city editor and a real-life Oscar Madison figure, died April 1 at Oakland's Kaiser Hospital after a brief illness. He was 68. From the obit:
    "He was Oscar Madison to the nth degree," said his friend, Kristin McCloy, referring to the disheveled sports writer depicted in the "Odd Couple" movie. 
    "He was a big man in every way — his size, his spirit, his laugh and, most of all, his heart," she added. "He was as generous with his booming laugh as he was with a drink, and had one of the most agile minds one could ever hope to meet." 
    Williams was a newspaperman for 45 years, the last 20 with the Tribune, where he became city editor in 1988. 
    "He was knowledgeable and diligent in his love of Oakland," said Tribune reporter Cecily Burt. "I'll always remember how he could sit and yak about anything and everything under the sun — a book, movie, world history, the arts, science, whatever. And when the copy came in, the chatter stopped and he was all business." 
    McCloy, a novelist, met Williams seven years ago and was living with him when he passed away. "He mentored all manner of younger people in every kind of way," she said, "doing everything possible to make their dreams come true. He was an amazing editor who helped me make my third book more readable."
There will be no funeral, but a memorial service for Williams will be held at 9 p.m. April 24 at McNally's Irish Pub, 5352 College Ave.

In the photo, Williams helps copy editor Tim Loughman with his Halloween costume in the Oakland Tribune newsroom. (Photo credit: Flickr / allaboutgeorge 2000)

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