Calvin Clyde Jr., longtime Tyler newspaper publisher, dies at 92

TYLER (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Longtime Tyler newspaper publisher Calvin Nelson Clyde Jr. is being remembered as a man who loved his community, had a razor-sharp wit and many enduring friendships

Clyde, 92, died Sunday in Tyler. He was publisher of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, the former afternoon paper the Tyler Courier-Times and the Sunday Tyler Courier-Times--Telegraph, sustaining a family tradition in journalism that continues today.

"This marks the end of an extraordinary era for our family and our organization," said Nelson Clyde, his grandson and head of the family publishing company. "My grandfather led this organization with great dignity. He really belonged to this community and felt there were no limits to what it could become. His great love was interaction with people.

"Once you met him, it could mean you would receive a postcard from an obscure location or postmark with a subject you noted to him held interest for you.

He cared deeply about people. His ability to connect with a broad spectrum of people led him to know clerks at flea markets in Central Texas to presidents of the United States.

"In my experience, he was larger than life from the day I remember him until the day he died."

Funeral services are pending.


On learning of his death, those who knew Clyde said they had lost a good friend and that the community lost a leader.

"He was a gentleman, a family man, a civic and religious leader and veteran," said longtime friend James Perkins, president and chairman of the board of Citizens 1st Bank. "He enjoyed life with a great sense of humor. He loved his family, Tyler and appreciated everyone. Having Calvin Clyde as a friend and a role model has been a great gift to me and my family. He will be greatly missed."

"He was a giant in Tyler history," friend Harold Beaird said. "He has been involved in so many events in the course of growth in our town. … His newspaper has served us well through challenging times."

Beaird said one of the first things he did after being elected president of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce in 1990 was to pay Clyde a visit.

"I knew of his dedication and love for the city. … We stayed two hours talking. I got a lot out of that. That (conversation) was one of the treasures I look back on. This is a sad day for our city."

Mayor Barbara Bass agreed that Clyde loved Tyler.

"He was a phenomenal force in our community," she said. "He had the respect of the business community, and the respect of everyone who knew him. He nurtured our community through the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

"He will always be remembered as a man who loved Tyler and wanted to do what was right for our wonderful community. … My heart goes out to the family."

Elmer Ellis, president of Tyler-based East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System, said early every Sunday morning for years, he met Clyde in a sitting area at the old Albertson's grocery store in Tyler and talked about life.

"Calvin and I would sit there together and he would tell stories. He was a great storyteller. … He had such a wonderful intelligence about him. He had that kind of personality. It was just marvelous."

Ben Fitzgerald, of Tyler, a retired real estate industry leader and developer, knew Clyde for more than 50 years.

"He and I were hunting buddies. I'm sorry to lose him," he said. "He was one of the most respected citizens in Tyler and he earned that respect. Tyler was lucky to have him. He was good for Tyler."

Fitzgerald said they worked on projects, worshipped together at Marvin United Methodist Church and enjoyed good times.

"We will sure miss him. He had nothing but friends. He had more friends than anyone in Tyler."

William Dillard II, son of the founder of Dillard's department stores, was a friend of Clyde for more than 57 years.

"He was real special to me and my family," Dillard said.

Clyde served as a director of Dillard's Inc.

"He was a great director of our compan, and at one of the last board meetings with us, he reminded us that we had done a great job of cutting expenses, but how about growing the business? There was always something that needed to be accomplished," Dillard said.

State Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, said: "My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Clyde family. Calvin was a one-of-a-kind community leader that will never be replaced. He did so much for our community."

Henry Bell III, chief operating officer of Tyler Chamber of Commerce, said Clyde quietly went about his business ,and people respected what he had to say.

"He was one of the last of the old great leaders of our community."


Clyde was born on April 6, 1921, the son of Calvin Nelson and Emma Butler Clyde.

He graduated from Tyler High School in 1937, the same year he began his journalism career as a reporter trainee at the Tyler Courier-Times--Telegraph, the newspaper his grandfather, Thomas Booker Butler purchased 27 years earlier. He earned a journalism degree from Southern Methodist University, graduating with honors.

In 1941, Clyde married his former high school sweetheart Patsy Elizabeth Kittrell. They were married 70 years. Mrs. Clyde died last year.

Clyde won an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy on the basis of an exam score. During World War II, he served in the Navy in aviation squadrons.

From 1950 to 1951, Clyde served as a press officer for the U.S. Navy. He was honorably discharged with the rank of lieutenant commander.

He returned to Tyler to work at the afternoon Courier-Times and the Tyler Morning Telegraph. He would contribute to the company as a leader and respected adviser for the rest of his life.

Clyde was involved in professional and civic organizations.

In 1949, the Tyler Jaycees honored him as its Outstanding Young Man of Tyler, singling him out for his "fearless, tireless devotion to the welfare of Tyler without regard to whether or not his choice was a popular or unpopular one."

He received the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce's W.C. Windsor Award in 1956 as the city's most outstanding young citizen.

As a member of Tyler Rotary Club, he served as president and district governor. An avid hunter, he was once named Ducks Unlimited's Sportsman of the Year. He was a current trustee of the Watson W. Wise Foundation.

His professional interests included service as a Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce director. He was a longtime director of Dillard's Inc. and had served as a director of Tyler Industrial Foundation, Southern Methodist University Development Board and Southwest School of Printing Management Board.

Clyde and his wife were members of Marvin United Methodist Church.

He is survived by daughter and son-in-law, Carole and Lloyd Wilson; daughter-in-law, Sherry Clyde Adams; son and daughter-in-law, Thomas and Ven-ona Clyde, all of Tyler; daughter and son-in-law, Eloise and Bill Chandler, of Virginia Beach, Va.; granddaughter, Carrie Clark, of Dallas; grandsons, Nelson Clyde IV (Elizabeth) and Andrew Clyde (Leigh); granddaughter, Anna Malone (Brandon), all of Tyler; and grandson, Dr. John Clyde, of Spokane, Wash.; granddaughters, Dr. Mimi Miles (Avery), of Durham, N.C., Caroline Chandler, of New York City, Patsy Chandler, of Virginia Beach, Va.; and great-grandchildren: Sarah Clyde, of Houston, and Calvin "Cal" Clyde V, Rachel Clyde, Jamie Clyde, Ferrell Clyde, Slade Clyde, Claire Malone and Emma Malone, all of Tyler, and Lucille "LuLu" Clyde Miles, of Durham, N.C.

CAREER IN JOURNALISM At age 36, Clyde was named Texas Daily Newspaper Association's president, which prompted the Longview newspaper to praise Clyde as "one of the smartest young newspapermen of this generation. His outstanding work of management of the Tyler newspapers has attracted both regional and statewide attention." In 1981, he received the Texas Daily Newspaper Association's Pat Taggart Award, the most prestigious honor in Texas journalism recognizing the Texas Newspaper Leader of the Year. In 2005, T.B. Butler Publishing, parent company of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, was named Texas Family Business of the Year by Baylor University.Clyde followed as publisher of the paper in the footsteps of his grandfather Thomas Booker Butler and aunt, Sarah Butler. Clyde became publisher after the death of his aunt. Clyde was followed as publisher by his son, Nelson Clyde III, and grandson, Nelson Clyde IV.After retiring in 1990, Clyde served as a travel writer under the name Anne Wanders and remained as chairman of the board of T.B. Butler Publishing until his death. Under Clyde's leadership, the Tyler paper won numerous awards for reporting and community service. The paper's editorial page called for limited government and challenged politicians to support policies encouraging economic growth through the free enterprise system. It was important to him that residents have a voice in the newspaper regardless of their standing in the community. During a community reception in 2009 to mark his 88th birthday, Clyde was lauded by dignitaries.Mayor Bass proclaimed the day Calvin Clyde Jr. Day and the Texas Legislature passed a resolution recognizing Clyde's accomplishments.U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, praised Clyde for the tradition of running a Bible verse every day on the front page. "The way this newspaper is reported, the way that it has stood up for the things that we believe in and continued to let young people read and absorb and understand everything is not like The New York Times, it has meant so much and helped many of us stay grounded," Gohmert said.Gohmert expressed gratitude for Clyde's commitment to God, family, friends and community and his dedication to educating and informing generations in East Texas.State and national leaders sent congratulatory letters. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison thanked Clyde for "outstanding service to the Tyler community and to our great state." She told Clyde, "You are an inspiration to us all. … You are a Texas legend."U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's letter read, "Throughout your lifetime you have served your community with integrity."Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples wrote, "I want to recognize your lifetime of achievement in bringing the news to residents across the great state of Texas. Your accolades bestowed upon you by your peers are well deserved. Your dedication to your family, business, community and education fields establishes the highest standards for others."


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