John Clifford “Kip” Dixon, Denver Post pressman for 40 years

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John Clifford “Kip” Dixon died Aug. 26, 2017, in Centennial, Colo., after several years of medical problems. He was born in Butte, Mont., on Nov. 19, 1937, to Joseph J. Dixon Sr. and Ann Ruth Pullum. He graduated from St. Lawrence grade school in 1952 and Butte High School in 1956.

Dixon worked for a few years at the Berkeley Pit, a former open-pit copper mine, and the Washoe Sampler smelter, both located in Butte. In 1959 he moved to Denver and worked as a pressman at The Denver Post for 40 years, until he retired in 1999. He was elected a union steward by his peers and eventually became chapel chairman for Local Pressman Union #22.

He married Kathleen Murphy in 1965; they had a daughter, Sheila, and a son, Timothy. In his spare time, Dixon enjoyed fishing and golfing, family and friends.

He is survived by his former spouse and friend, Kathleen Dixon; daughter Sheila Fowler (David); son Timothy (Karyn); three grandchildren, Thomas Elliott, Parker Dixon and Grey Dixon; two sisters, Joan Dixon and Mary Tucker (Richard); two brothers, Joe Dixon (Pat) and Frank Dixon (Judith); and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Patricia Fawcette (Grant). A celebration of his life took place Sept. 9 at the Monaco Inn Restaurant, Denver.

George H. Luby, former editor of The Pueblo Chieftain

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George Harvey Luby, former editor of The Pueblo Chieftain, died Sept. 7, 2017, at age 93 at a Denver care center of heart trouble. He was born on July 27, 1924, in Van Nuys, Calif., and would eventually live in Colorado for more than 60 years.

Said an obituary by Peter Roper in the Chieftain: “Luby loved the newspaper business and made his career as a respected reporter and editor, including nearly 40 years at The Pueblo Chieftain, where many senior staffers considered him a mentor.” Another obituary noted: “George loved words, writing his own stories, editing the reports of other, crossword puzzles, word games and especially puns ... He loathed misspelled words, grammatical errors and hominy grits.”

He had just finished his freshman year at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) when he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Over the next three and a half years during World War II, he served on six Pacific Ocean islands and in the occupation forces in Japan soon after the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

Luby graduated from the University of Denver and soon thereafter joined the staff of The Pueblo Star-Journal and Chieftain in 1949. Luby also reported for and edited his high school newspaper, the Antelope Valley (Calif.) Joint Union High School Sandpaper, as well as the University of Denver’s Clarion, newsletters for his veteran Marine Corps company L-3-6, and his assisted living facility.

He married Rosemary Mauro on Oct. 2, 1954, in Vineland, Colo. They were married for nearly 60 years, until her death in 2014. They had two children, Patricia Vick (Ron), of Denver, and David Luby, of Pueblo. He was also most proud of his grandchildren, Kevin Vick, “a finalist in the 2011 Colorado State Spelling Bee,” and Christina Vick, about whom he was “overjoyed upon the national publication of a short story” she had written.

In retirement, after “covering every beat and serving as editor at most desks in The Chieftain newsroom,” he reconnected with a group of his former Marines at periodic reunions. At his urging, many wrote their memoirs, which Luby edited. The collection was published in 2004 as “Island Hopping With L-3-6.”

A viewing and funeral service took place Sept. 15 at T.G. McCarthy Funeral Home with interment on Sept. 16 at Roselawn Cemetery, both in Pueblo.

Tom Mullen, former Gazette editor & publisher

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Thomas Joseph Mullen, former editor and publisher at The Gazette in Colorado Springs, died Sept. 9, 2017, at age 77. In a Gazette article Sept. 12, Rich Laden noted Mullen had led the publication’s “transformation into a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper and never wavered in his passion for journalistic excellence, press freedom and individual liberty.” He was well-known as a “fierce advocate” for the First Amendment.

He was born Oct. 9, 1939, to Bernard and Helen (Schmidt) Mullen in Lima, Ohio. A 1957 graduate of Lima Senior High School, he attended Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati. Mullen began his career in 1958 as a reporter for his hometown newspaper, The Lima News, which he had delivered as a boy. By 1964 he was named the newspaper’s editor at age 24. Reported Laden: “Locals dubbed him ‘the boy editor,’ according to The Lima News.” While there, he also met his wife, Margaret Vicky Vastano, a copy girl, in 1960. They married Nov. 25, 1961, and would be together for nearly 56 years.

In 1981 Mullen was named editor of The Gazette, then called the Gazette Telegraph, owned by Freedom Communications, as was The Lima News. In 1986, Freedom bought and closed the other city’s daily, the Colorado Springs Sun, telling Mullen and Publisher E. Roy Smith to now work to make The Gazette “the best U.S. newspaper of its size, then with a daily circulation of about 100,000,” noted Laden. “Freedom invested money to make it happen; Mullen and Smith took the mandate and ran with it.”

They added a second floor at the newspaper’s former headquarters east of downtown to house the newsroom, for which they recruited reporters, editors and photographers from across the country. They also redesigned the newspaper “with a livelier look and feel.” By 1990, The Gazette won its first Pulitzer Prize, awarded to reporter Dave Curtin for feature writing – the winning entry a special section that took months to develop as Curtin told the story of a brother and sister severely injured in an explosion at their home east of Colorado Springs, their hospitalization and recovery.

In 1991, Mullen left to take the job of publisher back at The Lima News. By 1999-2000 he was central regional vice president of Freedom’s Community Newspaper Division, overseeing six newspapers in five states. In 2000 he won Freedom’s R.C. Hoiles award, named for the chain’s founder, for “stoking the flames of individual effort and achievement.” Also that year, he returned to The Gazette as publisher. He headed the Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp., and served on boards for the Colorado Springs Sports Corp. and the Colorado Press Association. He retired in 2004 after a 46-year career with Freedom.

He is survived by his wife; daughters Molly McKanna (Michael), of Denver, and Shelly Chamberlain, of Austin, Texas; a brother, Jack Mullen, of Broken Arrow, Okla.; and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Nancy Bonanno, of Boca Raton, Fla. The family planned a private memorial service.

Sandra “Sandy” Merle Stein, former Pueblo Chieftain columnist

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Sandra “Sandy” Merle Stein, who wrote a social column for the Pueblo Chieftain for 26 years, died July 26, 2017, at age 74 after a 14-month battle with cancer. She was born on Sept. 23, 1942, in Tucson, Ariz., to the late Norman and Rhoda Hayutin Fuchs. She graduated from West High School in Phoenix, Ariz., in 1960. Four years later, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she was recognized as one of five outstanding women in her class. She married Pueblo native Marvin Stein in 1964 and moved to that city. She was social columnist for The Chieftain until the newspaper discontinued the position.

Stein was involved in more than 40 local, state and national organizations in Pueblo and beyond, including the initiation of the battered women’s shelter and development and building of the Buell Children’s Museum. She received more than 25 awards for her charitable work, including induction into the 2001 City of Pueblo Hall of Fame and 2016 Pueblo Chamber of Commerce “Citizen of the Year.”

She is survived by her husband of 53 years; daughters Shari Munitz (Andy), and Mindy Carton (David); a brother, Henry Fuchs; five grandchildren; and other family members. She was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Marsha (Fuchs) Playman; in-laws Emanuel and Ruth (Dobin) Stein; and a sister-in-law, Sheila (Stein) Horton. Stein donated her body to the Colorado Anatomical Board; there was no memorial service scheduled.