Tributes have been paid to John Beck, pictured left, who was features editor of the Shropshire Star when it first launched in 1964.
John passed away in a nursing home in Shrewsbury following a long illness. His funeral is due to take place tomorrow.
John was born in Tipton, Staffordshire, in 1931 and attended Dudley Grammar School before getting a a proof reading job at the town’s Herald Press title in 1947.
Nine months later he took up a reporting role at the Brierley Hill office of the County Advertiser, before undertaking national service with the RAF between 1951 and 1953.
On his return he worked at the Stafford office of Wolverhampton’s Express & Star, where he was in charge of theatre coverage.
John’s next jobs was as deputy editor of the Wolverhampton Chronicle before he joined the team led by first editor Ted Ireland to launch the Star.
He then spent time at the Birmingham Post and Mail before returning to the Express & Star, and ended his career back at the Chronicle where he resumed to his previous role.
John also wrote an autobiography based on his Black Country upbringing, national service and early journalism career, entitled Perhaps I’m Really Mervyn Davenport.
His widow Jean explained: “Mrs Beck had gone in a nursing home in Tipton. The lady in the next bed had a little boy on the same day called Mervyn Davenport.
“Both John’s family and Mervyn’s family moved away from Tipton into Coseley and John and Mervyn went to the same school.
“As a teenager, when he was playing up a bit, mum Beck used to say ‘I think they gave me the wrong baby at that nursing home. You must be Mervyn Davenport.’ And that stuck.”
The couple had two sons, Christopher and Michael, who both passed away before their father.
John’s funeral will be held on 19 December at Emstrey Crematorium, Shrewsbury.