MONROE, La. (AP) — Kathy Spurlock, an award-winning journalist who served as editor of several newspapers in Louisiana and Mississippi, died Friday after a long illness.
She died at her home in Monroe, Louisiana, The News-Star reported. She was 67.
Spurlock served two stints at the newspaper, including 21 years as its top editor when she retired in 2016.
She was a mentor to Barbara Leader, who is now the top Louisiana editor for Gannett, the company that owns The News-Star.
“Kathy hired me at The News-Star when I had little newspaper experience and her faith in me provided the confidence I needed to grow and succeed,” Leader said. “She not only supported and encouraged me in my career, but did the same for countless other journalists who are now working around Louisiana and in other states.
“Long after she retired from The News-Star, she stayed involved in our work. Always a journalist, she sent us news tips through social media, texts and phone calls. She will be greatly missed.”
Spurlock often said the best part of being a journalist was the ability to make a difference in people’s lives and their communities.
Spurlock graduated from Louisiana Tech University and started her career at The News-Star in 1975. She was promoted to various midlevel editor positions at The News-Star and the former Monroe Morning World. In 1982, she became editor of Louisiana Suburban Press in Baker, and moved in 1985 to the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate.
In 1989, she returned to Gannett as metro editor of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi. She came back to Monroe in 1995 as executive editor, adding general manager to her title in 2014.
During Spurlock’s tenure, the news department was transformed from a once-daily print publication to a digital and print information center. The newspaper was recognized for its investigative reporting, commentary, innovation, economic development, public service and community service work under her leadership. She also was an award-winning writer for editorial commentary and columns.
Spurlock served as a past president of the Louisiana/Mississippi Associated Press Media Editors board of directors and chair of the Louisiana Press Association’s Freedom of Information Committee and on the national board of the American Society of News Editors.
She is survived by her husband, Lindsey Wilkerson, a daughter, Anne Perrone, and two grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.