Professor emeritus of journalism died June 23

June 27, 1995
Contact: Bernie DeGroat bernied@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—Wesley H. Maurer, the oldest active newspaper publisher in the United States and professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Michigan, died June 23 in St. Ignace, Mich. He was 98.

Maurer, publisher of the St. Ignace News and the Mackinac Island Town Crier, began his teaching career at the U-M in 1924 and, a year later, he became an assistant professor and director of the journalism laboratory at the University of Ohio. He returned to the U-M in 1928, became an assistant professor of journalism in 1932, associate professor in 1941 and professor in 1948. He also chaired the U-M journalism department beginning in 1949 until his retirement in 1966.

“His services to the Journalism Department also included provocative teaching and imaginative curriculum development; the founding and supervision of the Michigan Journalist, a laboratory newspaper that enabled students to see their work through actual newspaper presses; and the establishment of a foreign and domestic internship program, which has greatly benefited students,” said the U-M Regents upon Maurer’s retirement from the University.

Maurer bought the Mackinac Island Town Crier in 1957 as a laboratory for graduate students interested in community journalism. He also owned the Harbor Springs Harbor Light from 1963 to 1971, providing additional opportunities for professional internships.

In 1975, Maurer purchased the St. Ignace News and the Les Cheneaux Islands Weekly Wave, which later merged with the News.

Maurer, a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, organized Michigan’s first teachers union, the Michigan Federation of Teachers, and served as its president in 1936-37. He also formed the Ann Arbor Citizens Council, was active in the Wesleyan Foundation and served on the national committee of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Maurer earned three bachelor’s degrees—in journalism, economics and business—from the University of Missouri in 1922. He served as news editor of the Mexico (Mo.) Ledger from 1922 to 1924, held various editorial positions with the Athens (Ohio) Messenger from 1925 to 1928, and contributed to or consulted for many other newspapers throughout his career.

Born Jan. 18, 1897, in Bunker Hill, Ill., Maurer is survived by wife, Margaret; son, Wesley Jr. of St. Ignace; daughters, Margaret E. Shelton of Ypsilanti and Marilyn E. Baker of Dublin, Ohio.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. June 29 at the United Methodist Church in St. Ignace. Burial will be at 1:30 p.m. June 30 at the Protestant Cemetery on Mackinac Island.

Memorials can be made to the Mackinac Island Public Library, Mackinac Island, MI 49757; and to the Mackinac Straits Hospital, Long-Term Care Unit, St. Ignace, MI 49781.

University of MissouriLong-Term Care Unit