By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer
William W. "Bill" Hunsberger, president and publisher of the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., and vice president of circulation for the Enquirer from 1995 through 1998, died early Sunday morning of an apparent heart attack. He was 55.
The Clarion-Ledger reported that Mr. Hunsberger had chest pains around 2 a.m. and was taken to St. Dominic/Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Mr. Hunsberger elicited respect from his colleagues.
He "exhibited the three characteristics you would most want to see in any executive - intelligence, ethics and the greatest sense of caring for his employees," said Dave Hunke, president and publisher of the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle, who worked with Mr. Hunsberger during his tenure at the Enquirer. "He was truly a great leader."
A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Mr. Hunsberger attended the University of South Florida and started his career at the Tampa Tribune. Over the years, he worked in circulation management in Richmond, Va.; Beaumont, Texas; Montgomery, Ala.; and Brevard County, Fla.
He was director of circulation at the Clarion-Ledger from 1985 to 1990 and president and publisher of the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American from 1991 to 1995, before coming to Cincinnati.
"From his first day at the Enquirer, everyone quickly came to know Bill Hunsberger as a strong, unassuming, low-key but professional newspaper person," said former Enquirer president and publisher Harry Whipple.
"He was always friendly and straightforward. Bill was a down-to-earth person, who put people quickly at ease - and he inspired all of us to reach just a bit further in order to accomplish each goal. The Enquirer and Cincinnati lost a wonderful leader when Bill accepted the publisher's post at the Clarion-Ledger. But to no one's surprise, he led his newspaper to a new level of public service."
Mr. Hunsberger returned to Jackson to be the Clarion-Ledger's president and publisher when he left Cincinnati six years ago.
"He was a wonderful friend," Whipple said.
"His family and all of us who knew him mourn his loss, and will miss him deeply."
Survivors include: three daughters, Blythe Huguley of Charleston, S.C., Kelley Hunsberger, of Memphis, Tenn., and Ashleigh Hunsberger, of Ridgeland, Miss.; and his former wife of 14 years, Melanie Hunsberger.
Visitation is 6-8 p.m. tonight at Wright & Ferguson Funeral Home in Jackson. A memorial service is 3 p.m. Wednesdayat St. Matthew's United Methodist Church in Madison, Miss.
Memorials: Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, 525 E. Capitol St., Suite 2B, Jackson, MS 39201.
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