Mr. Lewis W. Dickey
1927 - 2013
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(News Article) Lewis W. Dickey, Sr., who rose from radio advertising sales to manager to hard-charging owner of broadcast stations, including WOHO-AM and WWWM-FM in Toledo, died Thursday in Piedmont Hospital, Atlanta. He was 86.

He'd suffered a stroke two days earlier, said his son Lewis, Jr., chief executive of Cumulus Broadcasting, which owns hundreds of radio stations around the country. Among the firm's first acquisitions in the late 1990s were the stations of Mr. Dickey, Sr., and his Midwestern Broadcasting Co.

"I never worked for him," said his son, whose first radio station was in Milwaukee, "but always worked with him. He was my mentor and adviser and No. 1 fan."

Mr. Dickey's children grew up on Deepwood Lane in South Toledo and helped out at the radio stations, even mowing lawns on the properties. His son John is a co-chief operating officer of Cumulus, while son Michael runs Modern Luxury, a magazine publisher, and son David is in charge of an Atlanta sports radio station owned by the separate Dickey Broadcasting.

An early radio job for Paul W. Smith, now morning radio host on WJR-AM in Detroit, was selling advertising for the former WXEZ-FM in Toledo, owned by Mr. Dickey and Midwestern Broadcasting.

"He understood the power of radio and the magic of radio," said Mr. Smith, an inductee last month into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

"Lew was a hard-charging, hard-driving brilliant broadcaster," Mr. Smith said. "I learned so much about radio and radio sales from Lew. I learned how you can balance working hard and running a business and being a good father. He was always concerned about his children and setting a good example for them."

In 1972, The Blade and Mr. Dickey and his firm became owners of WLIO-TV in Lima, Ohio. The partnership lasted about a decade. WLIO is owned by Block Communications Inc., parent firm of The Blade. In Toledo, Mr. Dickey and the firm were civic boosters and sponsored community events, son Lew, Jr., said.

He and his wife, Patricia, moved away in 1980 and for several years divided their time between North Palm Beach, Fla., and Atlanta.

He was born July 19, 1927, in Steubenville, Ohio, to Pearl and Michael Dickey. He was a graduate of Yorkville High School and received a degree in business from Ohio State University. During summers he worked for a Wheeling, W.Va., radio station owned by Storer Broadcasting. After graduation, the station hired him to sell advertising and in time promoted him to sales manager. He became a sales manager for KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh and then WAGA-TV in Atlanta.

"He was really the rising star in that side of the company," son Lew, Jr., said.

But "he had the bug to be an entrepreneur," Lew, Jr., said, and he bought a moribund station in Wheeling that he had competed against. "Over a couple years, he did a remarkable turnaround and took it to No. 1," his son said. He bought WOHO-AM in 1965.

Mr. Dickey had been a member of the Toledo Country Club, Inverness Club, and Toledo Club.

He was home every night for dinner at 6. On Sundays after returning from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Maumee, the family gathered for long brunches during which "he took time to understand was going on in everyone's life and week," son Lew, Jr., said. "His family was his absolute No. 1 priority."

Surviving are his wife, Patricia Dickey, whom he married Dec. 28, 1956; sons, Lewis, Jr., John, David, and Michael Dickey; daughters, Pat Dickey and Caroline Oberg, and eight grandchildren.

Memorial services are pending. Arrangements are by H.M. Patterson & Son-Oglethorpe Hill Chapel, Atlanta.

Mr. Dickey had Parkinson's disease, and the family suggests tributes to Parkinson's research at Emory University medical school in Atlanta.

Contact Blade Staff Writer Mark Zaborney at or 419-724-6182.
Published in The Blade on Dec. 4, 2013.
No events have been scheduled at this time. Check back later or contact the funeral home for more information.
Memories & Condolences
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15 entries
May 8, 2018
i miss you papa
caroline Dickey
January 1, 2017
Valenda Newell
April 29, 2014
Lew Dickey had an important role in my life for a very brief period in 1976 and 1977. I was a broadcaster and electronics teacher at Waite High School in Toledo. I needed more experience with engineering and through an acquaintance was connected to WOHO/WXEZ-FM to maintain their antenna systems. Lew was open to having me divide my time between teaching and working at the radio station after school. That experience led me to a position teaching broadcast engineering at Northern Virginia Community College and ultimately teaching Video Technology and Communications at Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County Virginia. I remember Lew always walking around the radio station seeing how things were going and keeping those "9 to 5" business hours. He offered me an opportunity that gave me a career in education and in extending broadcast engineering fundamentals to many others through numerous articles in RADIO WORLD magazine.
Ed Montgomery
December 13, 2013
Just heard about Lew Sr's passing. I worked with Lew for 28 years. He was always more than just the "Boss" to me. He will always have a special place in my heart.
My wife Ann and I send our prayers and thoughts of peace and love to the entire Dickey Family.

Irwin and Ann Young(Oregon,OH)
Irwin Young
December 11, 2013
Wishing the Dickey family peace and sending prayers their way.
Chrystal Heidemann
December 10, 2013
Looking at my sisters Guest Book notes, i was sorry to see the loss of Lew Sr. My first reaction was a life well lived and while there is saddness there should also be joy. A truely amazing American Family who through parental example stick together in every way and represent the best of the American Dream. He and his wife, likely their parents, showed the values of hard work and family devotion that will continue on for generations to come. All the best to all the Dickey family.
Mark & Susan Nickerson
December 10, 2013
Lew Jr. and family. I was very sorry to hear about your loss. Have great memories when I was a kid of enjoying times with both of our families together. Hopefully our dads our running some great stuff together again in heaven. God Bless!
Mike Hart
December 5, 2013
We cannot find the words to say how saddened we were to hear of your loss. We just wanted you to know that Cindy and I are all thinking of you all at this difficult time. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.
Marc & Cindy Lehmuth
December 4, 2013
Grew up on Deepwood with the Dickey boys who indeed were an outstanding family! The Carroll's are very sorry for your loss!

Mike Carroll & Family
December 4, 2013
You have my deepest sympathy on the loss of a great leader, businessman, and friend. We will make a donation in his honor to the Parkinson's Disease Association. Know that he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Allan Block Block Communications, Inc.
December 4, 2013
My condolences to the entire Dickey family. Lew Sr. was a wonderful guy who was always very good to my family and I. He set a wonderful example by always putting his family first, but still finding the time to become and extremely successful business owner.
Jessica Paled
December 4, 2013
Our deepest condolences and prayers for the family.
Scott and Brenda Meier
December 4, 2013
It was a pleasure knowing Lewis W Dickey and admired his ethics and most of all his ability to offer a firm handshake and a straight look into your eyes. God Bless and May The Peace of the Lord be With You - Sincerely, Mary and Michael Spilis
Michael Spilis
December 4, 2013
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
December 4, 2013
I send my deepest sympathy to Mrs. Dickey, and Mr. Dickey's sons.
Lewis W. Dickey changed my life completely as he did for so many others. He added me to the WOHO air staff at age 16 while I was still in high school. He taught me to dream big, and we all know he was one who knew how to make things happen.
Most recently I have been working with the grammy award winning producer who
produced almost every band you hear on your radio. (John Lennon, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Madonna, the list is endless.)
This only happened because of the way Mr. Dickey always taught me to think big and use the power within. If it wasn't for Lew Dickey, I wouldn't even have ever met this producer, Steve Thompson, who was producing the records being played all these years over Cumulus and the other radio stations.
Every time I saw Lew in later years, he would always have his magic smile and run over to shake hands. Even after all those years, he still called me by the radio name he gave me on WOHO, Larry Love.
Larry Weseman
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