Les Gent, editor of the then Bolton Evening News from 1979 to 1986, died at the town’s Royal Bolton Hospital on Friday morning.
Les, pictured, joined the newspaper as a 17-year-old trainee and rose through the ranks to become editor in the course of a 48-year career in the industry.
Ian Savage, current editor of The Bolton News, said staff were “deeply saddened” by the news.
After retiring as editor, Les launched and produced the paper’s ‘Looking Back’ nostalgia column, which still features daily.
He also wrote about his time at the newspaper as part of a souvenir publication marking its 150th anniversary this year.
Les also wrote two local history books – Bolton Past and Making Headlines – as well as receiving an Honorary Fellowship at Bolton Institute in 1998 “in recognition of outstanding contribution to journalism and local history.”
He leaves a widow Barbara, to whom he was married for 48 years, and two children, Mark and Susan.
Said Ian: “Everyone is deeply saddened by the news. He was an excellent journalist, cared passionately about his home town of Bolton and supported his local newspaper to the end.
“In our 150th anniversary special publication he wrote a brilliant piece about his time with the newspaper and his pride at being involved in such a local institution shone through in his words.
“On a personal note, Les also supported me from the beginning of my career and I was lucky enough to work alongside him for a number of years before he retired.
“When I took over as editor in 2008, he wrote a lovely letter to me, with advice and support. It meant so much because he – like me – is one of the privileged few to have sat in the editor’s chair and he understood the challenges I would face.
“He was always on hand if I needed someone to talk to about the issues you face as a local newspaper editor.
“He will be sadly missed by a lot of people in Bolton.”