by Sheila Gardner

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September 7, 2012
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Former R-C owner Don Woodward dies in California

Former Record-Courier publisher Donald L. Woodward died Aug. 9, 2012, of heart failure in San Francisco. He was 84.

Woodward and his wife, Lynne, published the R-C from 1971-1988 when they sold the publication to Swift Newspapers.

"He once wrote that he viewed life with wonder, joy and gratitude," Lynne Woodward said in an interview from her California home.

The Woodwards raised their children - Andrea, Whitney and Jose - in Gardnerville while they owned the newspaper on Eddy Street.

"We thought it was a wonderful place to live," she said. "We felt really lucky to be able to buy the paper and live there. We decided this was the place we wanted to raise our family. We still have friends there."

Woodward was born in Portland, Ore., on March 9, 1928.

He graduated from Lakeside School in Seattle, and attended The Chicago Art Institute before serving as an acting sergeant in the U.S. Army, stationed in Japan after the war had ended.

He returned to the United States and studied philosophy at Harvard University. In 1950 he withdrew to focus on discovering his life's goal, his wife said.

After hitchhiking in England and Europe, Woodward became, by turn, a commercial fisherman, a lumberman, a boat and yacht salesman, a lithographer, a reporter, then editor and publisher.

As a teenager, he worked as a copy boy at The Portland Oregonian. Later, he wrote for the Watsonville Pajaronian and the Castroville Times, and edited the Folsom Telegraph, where he met his wife, Lynne Gilmer.

In 1968, he and Lynne purchased The Sparks Tribune, and in 1971, The Record-Courier.

They sold the Sparks Tribune in 1976.

"He loved observing people," Lynne Woodward said. "He was rather a quiet person, very modest, and with an incredible amount of talent."

Woodward hired longtime R-C People Editor Joyce Hollister shortly after acquiring the newspaper in 1976.

"Don guided The Record-Courier during a period of explosive growth in Carson Valley. He turned the R-C - which was a very admirable small newspaper - into a modern, three-section, award-winning weekly with high standards," she said Friday.

"That also was due to (former publisher and editor) Tom Wixon and the rest of the staff, but it was Don's vision. He insisted on high standards and modernized the R-C every step of the way from offset printing to computers," Hollister said.

Wixon, now a resident of Palm Desert, Calif., said Woodward was one of the most extraordinary men he ever knew.

"I am so sorry to hear this heart-aching news," he said in an e-mail to Lynne Woodward. "I have been thinking a lot about Don recently and wish now I had called. Jeannie (Wixon) and I have always loved the two of you, and still treasure the memories of Nevada and the wonderful, exciting years we spent together.

"Don was one of the most extraordinary men I ever knew, and he probably had the biggest influence on my life of anyone I ever met. I will always think of and love him like a father."

Survivors include his wife; his son, Donald L. (Jose) Woodward III of San Francisco; daughters, Andrea Lynne Woodward of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Whitney Suzanne Woodward of Albuquerque, N.M.; a son-in-law, Zsolt Palcza of Albuquerque; grandchildren Tas and Tulipan Palcza of Albuquerque; and Allyson and Spencer Arganbright of Santa Barbara, as well as a sister, Virginia Stone of Carmel, Calif., and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Woodward's ashes will be scattered at sea following private services.

"I was married to him for 47 years. I consider myself one of the really lucky people. I had the most amazing guy," said Lynne Woodward, who divides her time between Sonoma and San Francisco. "I had the most sensational sunset here the other night, and I thought, 'He's painting. That's good.' My overwhelming feeling is thank goodness he's not in pain any more."

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The Record Courier Updated Sep 26, 2012 01:42PM Published Sep 7, 2012 07:51PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.