Service set for longtime Hennessey Clipper publisher

William 'Bill' Walter

A memorial service for retired Hennessey Clipper publisher William 'Bill' Brent Walter will be Friday.

Walter died Monday at age 82.

The service will be 10:30 a.m. Friday at First United Methodist Church, 201 S. Cherokee, in Hennessey.

Walter was a third generation publisher of The Clipper, which was in his family from 1904-2014.

Walter loved photography and was the newspaper's expert in that department. His collection of cameras was donated to Hennessey Public Library several years ago and still is on display.

The recipient of many awards for his photography, editorial and news writing, Walter was inducted into Hennessey High School Hall of Fame in 2004; Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 2008, and theOklahoma Press Association Half Century Club in 2013.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Barb; five children, Courtney B. Walter, St. Louis; Jill D. Jenkins, Edmond; Tracy L. Anderson, Perry; Amy C. Carpenter, Edmond, and Nick Walter, Hennessey; eight grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

After more than 100 years in the Walter family, The Hennessey Clipper was sold to Paul and Maria Laubach, of Okeene, in 2014.

The Laubachs purchased three other community newspapers — the Okeene Record, Canton Times and Dewey County Record — July 1, 2013.

Bill and Barb Walter ran The Hennessey Clipper for the past 35 years. Barb remained on staff after the sale, and Bill continued to work at the newspaper a few days a week.

In a January 2014 story in the Enid News & Eagle, Bill said he got his start at the Clipper as a kid, working for his father and doing whatever jobs he was capable of doing without losing his fingers.

William said he remembered the newspaper used to print cards when members of the community would pass away. One of his first jobs was taking those cards to each of the businesses downtown. As he grew older, William was tasked to do more at the newspaper — from setting hot type to pouring lead and eventually running the press.

William said he had a “lot of fun” running the newspaper the last 35 years. When asked if he had the chance to do it all over, he didn’t hesitate to answer, “Absolutely.”

“It’s been a great ride all the way through,” he said. “From starting when I was 8 years old and handing out those things (obituary cards) all the way up to owning the newspaper, covering the good stuff and the bad stuff and telling people about the community.”

Bill said Barb got her start in the newspaper business at the age of 16, when one of the Oklahoma City newspapers hired her to write news from a student’s point of view. He said she then worked for Oklahoma Press Association after graduating from high school.

His great aunt Mabel Walker purchased The Clipper in 1904. It was combined with the Frank G. Tierney’s Press-Democrat in 1914 and the two became co-publishers.

Bill's father, Art Walter, Mabel Walker’s nephew, began working at the paper at an early age and brought his wife and son to Hennessey in 1936 to stay. Art purchased Tierney’s half-interest in 1953, becoming co-publisher along with his aunt. She ceased participation in the newspaper operation due to ill heath in 1956, and Art purchased her share.

Art ran the paper until 1977, when he died of a stroke. His wife, Jean, took over until her heath forced her to retire in December 1977.

Upon his mother’s retirement, Bill took over the newspaper and became publisher. His mother died in September 1980, leaving William as the sole owner of The Clipper.

The Clipper was founded June 13, 1890, by J.B. Campbell.

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