AddThis SmartLayers

Regional press man turned obits editor dies aged 74

A former Guardian obituaries editor who enjoyed two stints with a regional daily has died aged 74 after a battle with lung cancer.

Bill Smithies joined the now-defunct Liverpool Daily Post as a trainee in 1962 having previously edited the student newspaper at Manchester University.

After completing his three-year indentures, he headed for London and worked in both magazines and TV before joining the then newly-launched Sun newspaper in 1969.

Then after a spell outside the profession during whic he turned his hand to woodworking, he returned to regional journalism as features editor of the Daily Post in 1980.

In that role he was instrumental in introducing new computerised technology and colour printing at the Post, and this led in 1986 to his attendance at a press awards lunch.

There he had a chance meeting with Peter Preston who had trained with him and was now editor of the Guardian.

A job offer soon follow and Bill remained with the features department of the national daily until his retirement in 2000.

Among the roles he undertook at the Guardian was runing the obituaries department and, appropriately, a full Guardian obituary to him can be read here.

On his retirement, Bill moved to Crete with his wife Sandy where Bill opened a wood workshop and Sandy a shop selling fashion and antique textiles.

He is survived by Sandy, sons Ben, Tom and Joe, and three grandsons.


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • September 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

    The news of Bill’s death is tragic; he was a great journalist who brought wisdom, experience and huge talent to the Daily Post in the 1980s. He was also a true friend, something I shall always treasure.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)