Chattanooga publisher, civic leader Ruth Holmberg dies, age 96

Ruth Holmberg, Chattanooga civic leader and former publisher of The Chattanooga Times, died Wednesday at her home. She was 96.

Further from the Times-Free Press:

Holmberg was the granddaughter of Adolph Ochs, the 19th-century patriarch of The Chattanooga Times who rose to world prominence as publisher of The New York Times in the early decades of the 20th century.

Over time, Holmberg was deeply involved in Chattanooga civic life, serving in leadership roles in the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Association, the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Chattanooga Urban League and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She was named Tennessee Woman of the Year in 2003.

“She had a spectacular life,” said her son Michael Golden, vice chairman of The New York Times. “On behalf of her children, we are extremely proud of the leadership role that our mother played in Chattanooga in education, civil rights, beautification and the arts.”

Holmberg was also active in the upper echelons of the newspaper industry, serving on the board of directors of both The New York Times Co. and The Associated Press. She was a past president of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.

For 28 years, 1964 to 1992, Holmberg was publisher of The Chattanooga Times. She was chairwoman of the Times Printing Co. from 1992 until 1999, when the company was sold to Walter E. Hussman Jr., chairman of Little Rock, Ark.-based WEHCO Media. Hussman purchased the morning Chattanooga Times and afternoon Chattanooga News-Free Press in the late 1990s, and combined the newspapers in early 1999.

Note: Statement issued by U.S. Sen. Bob Corker:

“While the world knows Ruth Holmberg’s family for starting the New York Times, anyone who knew Ruth knew her heart was always in Chattanooga,” said Corker. “In her quiet way, she was one of the kindest and most generous champions for our city that I have ever known and her impact will be felt for many years to come. Her long-time leadership and stewardship of the Chattanooga Times informed generations of our citizens and her advocacy for the arts helped transform our community and establish it as a place with tremendous heart and soul. She was a friend to so many and will be greatly missed.”

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