WAYCROSS, Ga. – On Wednesday, October 23, 2019, Waycross Journal-Herald publisher, Roger Williams, was found dead at his office, authorities reported.
The Waycross Journal-Herald had been a home to Williams, 71, all his life. He had served as its helm for 27 years and his grandfather, Jack Williams, Sr., purchased it in 1916.
His brother, Jack Williams III, was the editor.
Waycross Police Department officers responded to a call on Wednesday morning around 10:30 a.m. When they arrived at the Isabella Street location, they found Williams dead of an apparent suicide.
The Ware County newspaper had recently ceased publication in September due to financial issues, citing the overwhelming loss of advertising dollars to Facebook and other outlets.
In a fey post still visible on the newspaper’s website, editor Jack Williams’ message, “Stop the Presses,” remains in a striking red box:
There is no easy way to break this news. It’s been a long time coming as advertising accounts fled to Facebook, websites, data streaming, ‘marriage mail,’ TV, radio and several other mediums, followed by reduced print subscriptions as Americans and Waycrossans turned to cellphones to get their news. The Waycross Journal-Herald, which has been owned and operated by the Williams family since 1916, will cease publication as of September 30, 2019.
The Waycross Journal-Herald, which has been owned and operated by the Williams family since 1916, will cease publication as of September 30, 2019.
Subscribers will be reimbursed in the days ahead for those newspapers they paid for but will not recieve because of this decision. We will be giving refunds next Tuesday, Oct 8, from 9:00am – 2:00pm at 400 Isabella St. Waycross, Georgia 31501.WJHNews.com
Two weeks after the newspaper’s closing, former sports editor Rick Head made an announcement that he had secured a deal to keep it going as a weekly instead of printing six days a week.
The GBI is assisting the Waycross Police Department in the investigation into Williams’ death.
Williams was an active member of his community. His funeral was handled by Music Funeral Home where his obituary is posted.
A lifelong resident of Waycross, he graduated in 1966 from Waycross High School and was a graduate of the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism. Roger was a member and elder of First Presbyterian Church. Roger was the publisher and president of the Waycross Journal-Herald. He served in numerous civic organizations and on their boards including the Salvation Army, YMCA, Waycross Downtown Development Authority, Waycross Jaycees, and Waycross Kiwanis.Music Funeral Home obituary for Roger Williams
Roger was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather who enjoyed spending time at home with his extended family. He also loved Georgia Bulldog football and rooting on the Bulldogs with his children and step-children. He was proud to carry on the Journal-Herald’s tradition of posting the stories of Christ on its front page each Easter and Christmas.
His funeral was held on Saturday, October 26.