John Killeen, left, joined the Hendon Times as a trainee in 1987 and rose to become its editor in the course of a 19-year career with the paper.
He left the Newsquest-owned title in 2006 and his death was reported in the paper this week.
One of his former colleagues described John as “the best first editor a journalist could wish for.”
John was editor of the North London weekly and its sister Newsquest titles from 1999 until 2006.
He had originally been hired by the then group editor Barry Brennan after coming in on a week’s work experience in 1987.
Said Barry: “I’d interviewed him, a Dublin University graduate, and felt he had the talent to be a fine newspaper reporter.
“After a week’s work experience I told this young Irishman I was signing him up.”
John went on to become Barry’s deputy and then his eventual successor.
“When I retired in 1999 I was delighted that Newsquest appointed him my job. He did well there too,” said Barry.
Added Barry: “He was a very trustworthy man, he had a good moral outlook, he enjoyed a pint of Guinness and was always very helpful to everyone he worked with.
“He was a cheerful man and was absolutely rated by his fellow journalists.”
Nicole Lampert, one of John’s former colleagues, said: “John was the best first editor a journalist could wish for: wise, funny and kind.
“He had a dry sense of humour but always had a wry smile on his face – however stressful the situation. I learned so much from him.”
Vanessa Thorpe, who worked at the Hendon Times with John in the 1990s, said: “He was great to work with because he was so relaxed and yet he got still got things done – creating a stylish arts and listings supplement while I was there.
“He was very pleasant to be with, while being ironic and funny too. “