Jack A. Rye, a newspaper veteran who was a versatile reporter, editor and top-notch rewrite man at The Bee, died July 5 of age-related causes, his family said. He was 94.
A Midwesterner, Mr. Rye moved to Sacramento and joined The Bee in 1956 on the Superior California desk, which oversaw coverage by reporters and stringers in outlying Northern California communities. He filled a variety of newsroom roles for 25 years, including reporting, editing, writing a column and laying out pages. He served as editor of a TV tabloid and religion news at the same time.
Before computers and email, Mr. Rye was a go-to person for rewrite duties, especially on breaking news. A fast, two-fingered typist, he took phone calls from Superior California reporters who dictated raw notes that he combined with his own original reporting. He sprinkled in additional background from news services and clippings to produce solid, well-crafted stories on deadline.
"There was a consensus that Jack was probably one of the best rewrite men The Bee ever had," former reporter Jon Engellener said. "The art of rewrite is filling in the blanks that the reporter in the field doesn't have, and he always seemed to have the resources to do that."
A son of Danish immigrants, Jack Aage Rye was born July 16, 1918, and raised in Chicago. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Illinois in 1941. He worked at the Daily Leader in Pontiac, Ill., for six months before he was drafted into the Army. He spent most of World War II working on newspapers and magazines at stateside military bases and served with the 54th Troop Carrier Wing and the 5th Air Force Headquarters in the Philippines and Japan. He was discharged in 1946.
Mr. Rye returned home to join the Herald & Review in Decatur, Ill., for 10 years and was state editor before joining The Bee. He retired in 1981.
"By the time computers were coming along, he was ready to go," said his son Jack, a former city editor at the Woodland Daily Democrat. "To him, the days of linotype and teletype were the golden days of newspapers."
Mr. Rye volunteered in public relations for the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee for many years. He was married to his first wife, Sally, for 39 years until her death in 1980. He is survived by his second wife, Janet, of Woodland; two sons from his first marriage, Jack of Sacramento, and Kirk of Roseville; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
A private service is being planned. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Woodland Community Care Car, 2001 East St., Woodland 95776; the Woodland Food Closet, www.woodlandfoodcloset.org; or the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center, www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/alzheimers.
Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @bob_davila.