Grayson County TXGenWeb
  Akers Cemetery
South of Sherman on Hwy 75

 




Dana A. Blocker
5 April 1915 - 4 January 2005

Mary Ellen Blocker
13 August 1917 - 29 May 1983


Former editor Blocker dies
By Kathy Williams
Herald Democrat

In the nearly 25 years since he retired as editor of the Sherman Democrat, Dana A. Blocker never ceased to be the essence of a newsman. He kept his news sources close and his writing skills sharp. He regularly visited the newsroom of the Herald Democrat, welcoming new reporters and keeping an eye on our work.Mr. Blocker died Tuesday at 89, leaving a legacy of concern about the community in which he lived, particularly the education of its young people. Throughout his life, he championed the causes dear to journalists: Free speech, quality reporting and satisfying the public's right to know."Dana
Blocker was a remarkable man and a talented journalist," said Perry Flippin, who followed Mr. Blocker as editor of the Sherman Democrat. "He inspired dozens of us reporters, photographers and editors to pursue newspaper careers and to serve the public. I never met anyone more curious, more devoted to his craft or more honest in his dealings than Dana. He stayed hitched to his principles and to his hometown. He was virtuous in his insistence on accuracy and fairness."Dana was the embodiment of the hometown editor. He loved sports, politics, education, law enforcement, religion - in short, he loved people. I admired his energy, his compassion and his integrity. He was one of the wisest and most caring men I've ever known. He was my mentor and friend for the 16 years I lived in Sherman."When Mr. Blocker retired in April of 1980, Flippin quoted him, "I like newspaper work because it offers a way to make a contribution to our system, our way of life ... Newspapers ought to make people think. Good people who are well informed usually find the right answer."He contributed in many ways to his community and his country. In 1942, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps at Perrin Field, where he served as a reporter and began a newspaper on the base called the Perrin Pilot. However, his newspaper career began in his high school days when he worked at the school newspaper and the Texarkana Gazette. When he received his discharge from the service, he went straight to work at the Sherman Democrat. His newspaper career spanned 50 years. Although his primary professional focus throughout life was journalism, he was deeply involved in his church, with congregations of the Walnut Street Church of Christ, the Wood Street Church of Christ, the Travis Street Church of Christ, and later at Western Heights Church of Christ. He was committed to excellence in education and expressed that commitment in many forms. He worked with the Texas Press Association to pioneer the concept of hiring summer college interns to learn the newspaper business. He served as a challenging mentor to many young writers and celebrated their successes, even as his own career wound down. He served on the boards of development for what was then Oklahoma Christian College and Abilene Christian College. He taught journalism at ACC as an adjunct professor for a short time. Mr. Blocker also worked through the Sherman Jaycees, Rotary Club and Kiwanis Club to discharge his civic responsibilities. He was one of the Jaycees' founders and served as its president. His broad interests also drew him to the Grayson County 4-H in which he held honorary membership. He and his first wife, Mary Ellen Pate Blocker who died in 1983, reared two daughters, Ellen and Martha. He gained two stepsons, Phillip and Jerry, and a stepdaughter, Pat, when he married Mary Chisholm Smith in 1987.Asked to comment on the passing of his friend and colleague, Wilburn Grisham, who served as wire editor and city editor of the Sherman Democrat, said, "First, my heart goes out to his wife Mary and the rest of his family. I share in their grief and loss. As for me, I feel I've lost more than someone I worked with for 30 years. I've lost a good friend." Dana was a tough boss, but to me he was always fair. He demanded the best his reporters could give him. Simply, he was a good newspaper man." I found Dana to be also a very compassionate man. I know on numerous occasions, he shared in both the joys and the difficulties of the folks around him. He will be missed. "Mr. Blocker worked to improve the world by honing his own reporting and writing skills, by encouraging journalists to better themselves and by lobbying for open government laws. He was active in both the Associated Press and
United Press International, serving a term as president of UPI Managing Editors. However, he effected change in his profession primarily through daily activities as a reporter and editor. In a career that extended from the days molten lead "hot type" to the computer age, he followed but one professional path. "Dana was pure newsman," said Herald Democrat Editor Don Eldredge. "He lived and breathed newspapers. And that didn't change with retirement. He kept in touch; knew all the reporters who came to work in the 25 years since he retired. He always took an active interest in what was in the newspaper. He came in to give us tips. He never let that fire die. He was the consummate newspaper man. "Services for Mr. Blocker will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Western Heights Church of Christ with burial at Akers Cemetery
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     Akers Cemetery

Elaine Nall Bay 2006