Former Beacon Journal columnist, photographer and editor has died

In two weeks, the world of journalism lost three men who contributed greatly to the success of the Beacon Journal: Bill Hunter, John McMillion and Mickey Porter.

Bill Hunter, 93, former chief photographer, died on March 4.

Hunter, a US Army veteran, joined the newspaper as a cameraman in 1952 and became chief photographer in 1973. He graduated from North High in 1946 and attended Kent State University.

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From sporting events to crime scenes to high society, the award-winning photographer has always found the best angle to tell a story.

He once offered suggestions for parents to photograph their children.

“Don’t dress the children,” he advised. “Catch them with the holes in their socks or the ripped knees in their pants. This is how parents will remember their children later.

He also urged parents not to put their children down.

“Capture their characteristics,” he said. “The little things they do. The way they sit when they think.

The secret to natural photography is to forget about the lens, Hunter once noted.

“Keep a camera handy,” he said.

Hunter oversaw the newspaper’s transition to electronic equipment and improved color technology.

His colleagues described him as a gentleman, a good guy and a consummate professional.

The Portage Lakes resident retired in 1993 after 41 years of service.

He enjoyed restoring and maintaining antique wooden boats and belonged to the Ohio North Coast Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society.

Hunter’s survivors include his wife, Lucy, daughters Sue Hays (Ron) and Stacy Hunter (George), stepdaughter Carol Caldwell (Brian), stepsons Dave Green (Cindy) and Dan Green, eight grandchildren children and five great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife, Jean, and his son, Steve.

Former publisher John McMillion, 92, died March 15 in Two Harbors, Minnesota.

The Kansas native came to the Beacon Journal in 1986 after a decade as editor of the News-Tribune & Herald in Duluth, Minnesota. He has also served as editor of the Albuquerque Journal, served as New Mexico bureau chief for United Press International, and led a gubernatorial candidate’s campaign.

John McMillion

He led the paper in 1987 to a Pulitzer Prize, its third of four, for its coverage of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s successful efforts to fight a takeover attempt by British tycoon Sir James Goldsmith.

McMillion oversaw the newspaper’s controversial switch from afternoon to morning delivery in 1987.

“We knew if we were going to grow long-term, we had to be a morning paper,” he explained.

He also renegotiated the contracts with the six unions of the Beacon Journal, which at the time represented nearly 470 employees.

He retired to New Mexico in early 1990 after three years, saying he had achieved his main goals in Akron.

Reflecting on more than 35 years of journalism, McMilion noted, “I’ve had a great life; this business has done me good.

McMillion is survived by his wife, Melanie, his children John, Johanna, Jennifer and Amanda, and five grandsons.

Former columnist, journalist and editor Mickey Porter, 84, died on March 18.

His self-titled column, later known as “Porter’s People”, debuted in 1967 and was immensely popular for decades.

Mickey Bearer

The quick-witted writer poked fun at life’s shortcomings, found hilarity in banal excess, and skewered celebrities. On days when the column did not appear, readers called to complain.

His colleagues remembered his intelligence, his sardonic humor and his passion for newspapers.

Here are some examples of his humor:

“Children today are smarter thanks to television. They can name the secret ingredient of any detergent.

“My car is running so badly that I have to take a taxi to the finance company to put a deposit on it.”

“Have you noticed that obesity is becoming widespread?

“A businessman from the Amber Pub says his secretary is inept. “When I filed for bankruptcy, she even misplaced this file.” ”

“If history is repeating itself, where are those 1940 prices? »

In March 1975, he shocked readers by announcing that he was writing his last column because he had “done his job long enough”.

“After eight years, I have done this job as well – and as badly – ​​as I am likely to do in the future,” he wrote.

“My friends are anyone who has sat down to write a letter – those who have taken the trouble to pass me a kind word, those who have taken the trouble to get me back on track. I also count among my friends someone who has read so far in a column of such an obviously personal nature.

“I’ll miss you.”

He became a general-assignment reporter, then a full-time editor, but it was only a matter of time before his column returned.

In 1990, he launched “Porter’s People”, a daily report on current celebrities, interspersed with anecdotes about Akron. He wrote it for the rest of his career, and again readers loved it.

The Copley resident retired from the Beacon Journal in 2006 after 40 years.

Predeceased by his wife, Suzanne, Porter is survived by his sons Mike Porter (Amy) and Ben Porter (Natalie), and his grandchildren Jack and Leyla.

Porter’s biographical file disappeared decades ago from the Beacon Journal archives, and copy editors suspected he deleted it himself, one last joke on anyone who might attempt to write his obituary.

He probably didn’t want us to write about that seahorse tattoo on his left calf. Or how he once worked at the Green Bay Packers publicity office. Or how he got cut off by the Vulcans of Akron. Or how he loved lifting weights at the YMCA of Akron.

As Porter has noted in many chronicles: “Tempus fugit.”

It’s Latin for “time flies”.

Disorder?  What congestion?  Beacon Journal columnist Mickey Porter works in the newsroom in 1969. Yes, kids, that's a typewriter in the background.

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