Hollendonner In Hall of Fame

WHEELING – Many of the dozens of journalists, politicians and other individuals assembled Thursday at Oglebay Park had done great and important things.

But G. Ogden Nutting, publisher of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, was quick to point out that very few people make an impact and a difference in their communities. Nutting’s words came during the induction of Francis R. Hollendonner into the West Virginia Press Association Hall of Fame and were directed to Carolyn Hollendonner, the widow of the late editor and publisher.

“There are only a few who … truly make a difference in their community, their profession and the profession of newspapers,” he said. “Fran truly made a difference.”

Hollendonner served as editor of The Intelligencer from 1970-75 and as a longtime publisher of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, filling that role from 1975 until he retired in1992. He worked throughout his retirement as a consultant for Ogden Newspapers. He also worked at papers in New York and Pennsylvania.

Although Hollendonner died in 2008, Nutting said his impact still lives on.

“His greatest legacy is good newspaper people, good journalists, who are scattered around our company and also scattered around the eastern part of the United States,” Nutting said. “He had a track record of helping people be the best they can be without dictating, without dominating, being encouraging yet being demanding in terms of a high standard.”

Carolyn Hollendonner said her husband undoubtedly would be pleased and honored with the recognition, as he dedicated his life to the newspaper industry.

“He had ink in his blood, I think,” she said, adding Hollendonner’s mother was one of the first female managing editors in the country in the 1940s.

Carolyn Hollendonner said she “lived it all” during her 58 years of marriage to Francis. She added that the relationships they formed over the decades, particularly with Nutting, were an added bonus.

“He loved newspapers, and he loved Ogden,” she said. “They were really good friends, and I know they enjoyed working together for many years. He’d be very proud.”

The induction of Hollendonner and former Charleston Daily Mail publisher Lyell B. Clay into the hall of fame kicked off the annual West Virginia Press Association conference, taking place this year at Oglebay Park in Wheeling.

Clay, 1923-2007, is best known as a philanthropist, but prior to founding the Clay Foundation, he was publisher of the Charleston Daily Mail. In 1956, Clay joined the Charleston Daily Mail. Soon after the newspaper formed a joint operation with the Charleston Gazette. Heading the Daily Mail operation, he formed Clay Communications Inc.

In 1987, Lyell and his brother, Buckner Clay, established the Clay Foundation. Among other projects, the foundation supported the Clay Center in Charleston.

Also speaking Thursday evening was Robert Nutting, Ogden Newspapers chief executive officer and chairman of the Newspaper Association of America, who shared his insight on the newspaper industry with the crowd. Events, panels and informational sessions continue through Saturday.