March 5, 1924 – June 28, 2014
Elwood M. “Woody” Wardlow, whose 27-year career at The Buffalo News included 10 years as managing editor for administration, died Saturday in Sarasota, Fla., where he had lived since 1990. He was 90.
Mr. Wardlow helped guide The News during several major transitions in the 1970s, including the move to the newspaper’s current headquarters at Washington and Scott streets, new ownership by Berkshire Hathaway Corp. and the start of the Sunday edition.
Born in Freeport, Ill., one of four children, he served stateside in the Army Air Corps in World War II, attaining the rank of second lieutenant.
Returning from service, he graduated cum laude with a degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin in 1948, then served for four years as wire editor and state editor on his hometown newspaper, the Freeport Journal-Standard.
Mr. Wardlow joined The News in 1952 as a copy editor and became assistant chief copy editor in 1958. He won Page One awards for headline writing in 1958 and 1959.
He was promoted to assistant managing editor in 1965. He was named managing editor for administration in 1969 following the death of Executive Editor Paul E. Neville.
He also was active in a wide range of civic and service organizations and a leader in national, state and regional professional journalism associations.
He was president of the New York State Associated Press Association in 1970. He was an executive board member of Local 26, Buffalo Newspaper Guild, from 1954 to 1963 and served a term as chairman of the News Unit.
He was one of the organizers of the Greater Buffalo International Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, and was chapter president in 1973 when Buffalo was host to the journalism fraternity’s national convention.
He lectured at several local colleges and universities and served on their journalism and advisory committees. He taught courses at Canisius College and St. Bonaventure University.
A director of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, he was associate chairman of its annual drive in 1977. He was a director and executive committee member of the Convention and Visitors Bureau and a director of the Better Business Bureau.
He also was a board member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst and vice chairman of the Buffalo-Kanazawa Sister Cities Committee.
After Mr. Wardlow took early retirement from The News in 1979, he held the Spencer Chair in journalism at Syracuse University in 1980 and then became associate director of the American Press Institute in Reston, Va., where he led seminars for editors and publishers from around the world.
While at API, he wrote “Effective Writing and Editing: A Guidebook for Newspapers,” which had five printings.
After retiring to Sarasota, he continued to lecture occasionally and judged many newspaper contests.
He was a member of the board of directors of the Palm-Aire Country Club in Pompano Beach, Fla., and served as secretary for three years. He also was a member of Manatee County’s Fifth District Advisory Board for 12 years.
Survivors include his wife of 64 years, the former Rosemary Fonken; a daughter, Ann; a brother, Merle; six grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
– Dale Anderson