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Jack Tinsley Obituary
Former Star-Telegram Executive Editor Tinsley dies

FORT WORTH -- Jack Tinsley, a long-time newsman who guided the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to two Pulitzer Prizes as executive editor in the 1980s, died at 3 a.m. Tuesday at a Fort Worth hospital. He was 69.

The cause of death was complications of surgery for a ruptured aortic aneurysm, family members said.

Mr. Tinsley was known for his community involvement, as well as his tongue-in-cheek "Fearless Forecasts" delivered annually at the Downtown Rotary Club.

Tinsley started as a reporter at the Star-Telegram in 1959. He retired in December 2000 as vice president for community affairs.

"Jack was a dedicated journalist who cared deeply about the city he served and the newspaper where he worked for so many years," publisher Wes Turner said.

Mayor Mike Moncrief, who worked with Tinsley while he was a Tarrant County judge and a state senator from Fort Worth, echoed those sentiments.

"We've cussed and discussed many an issue, and I've always had tremendous admiration and respect for him, not only in his professional position but as a friend," Moncrief said. "Jack's had a considerable impact on our city and Fort Worth is better for him being a part of us."

Mr. Tinsley worked at the Star-Telegram from 1959 to 2000, except for a 15-month stint as editor of an in-house publication for Southwestern Bell. A reporter for his first five years, Mr. Tinsley covered the Kennedy assassination in 1963 and the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Miss.

He won the National Education Writers Association's top award in 1965 for a series on academic freedom in Texas.

Mr. Tinsley became Sunday editor in 1966 and served for five years. Later he helped lead the newspaper into the computer age as assistant managing editor/new technology and then was assistant to the editor before serving as executive editor from 1975 to 1986.

"Jack was already a Star-Telegram legend when I arrived at the paper in 1986, with two Pulitzer Prizes earned under his leadership," said Executive Editor Jim Witt.

"Even after he left the newsroom, I know the community still thought of him as the editor of the paper -- that's how big an effect he had."

Former Fort Worth Mayor Bob Bolen said Mr. Tinsley was famous for his "Fearless Forecasts," which always drew large crowds to Rotary meetings.

"He used to have a lot of fun doing it," said Bolen, mayor from 1981 to 1991. "He did it again this year. It was always really funny."

Kenneth Barr, a former Fort Worth mayor and councilman, said Tinsley's forecasts were "surprisingly accurate."

"He was an astute observer of our community in all its facets," Barr said, "and he was always ready to admit when his predictions didn't come true."

As the newspaper's vice president for community affairs, Mr. Tinsley immersed himself in professional, educational and community activities. He led the Star-Telegram's United Way campaigns and Goodfellows Christmas charity.

He also established the Jack B. Tinsley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram Endowed Journalism Scholarship Fund at the University of North Texas, which now totals more than $100,000.

Survivors include his wife, Anne Miller; a son, Ben Tinsley of Fort Worth and a daughter, Anna Tinsley Williams of Fort Worth, both reporters for the Star-Telegram; brothers Lamar Tinsley of Huntington, and Carver Tinsley of Griffith, Ind.; an uncle, Preston Jackson of Jackson, Miss.; and two grandsons.

Funeral arrangements are pending.
Published in Star-Telegram on Oct. 12, 2004
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