Ex-journalism professor, publisher in Miss. dies

Published 10:45 pm Saturday, August 30, 2008

S. Gale Denley, the longtime publisher of the weekly Calhoun County Journal and mentor to a generation of journalism students, died Friday. He was 72.

Denley died of complications from kidney disease at a hospital, the Mississippi Press Association said.

A native of Coffeeville, Denley was publisher of The Calhoun County Journal in Bruce and a professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Mississippi where he taught from 1963 to 1996. Denley also taught journalism at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1958-59.

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Also at Ole Miss, Denley was director of the Student Media Center, which was renamed in his honor following his retirement as director in 2003.

A third-generation Mississippi newspaper publisher, Denley and his parents, Sellers and Maggie Ellen Denley, established The Calhoun County Journal in August 1953. His grandfather, George Elias Denley, purchased The Coffeeville Courier in 1907.

“Gale Denley was the most influential Mississippi journalism educator of his generation and a truly beloved newspaper man of the old school,” said Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, who was a longtime friend and business associate.

McComb Enterprise-Journal publisher emeritus Charles Dunagin, an Ole Miss classmate, called Denley “a man of unquestioned integrity.”

“Gale demonstrated an ability throughout his adult life to both practice and teach good journalism,” Dunagin said. “Moreover, he thoroughly understood and appreciated Mississippi politics, history and the varied cultures that make up our rather complex society.”

Denley was inducted into the Mississippi Press Association Hall of Fame in 1996. He was a former president of the Mississippi Press Association and the MPA Education Foundation.

Denley was awarded the “Silver Inky” from Mississippi University for Women for outstanding contributions to American Journalism. He received the Golden Em from Ole Miss in 1983 — one of only four educators to win the award since its inception in 1958. The award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to journalism education at Ole Miss.

Survivors include his wife, Jo Ann Scott Denley of Bruce; three daughters; his mother; and seven grandchildren.

Funeral services are 3 p.m. Sunday at Bruce United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in Bruce Cemetery.