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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, November 5, 2006

Stephen Wilson, former Advertiser sports editor

Advertiser Staff


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Stephen David Wilson, sports editor for The Honolulu Advertiser from 1982 to '86, died Oct. 23 in Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.

He was 54.

Wilson is survived by daughter Regan, 23. His wife of nearly 30 years, Terri, died in 2005.

"It saddens me to think that their daughter, Regan, who was born here and whom I saw just a few years ago, is now without parents," said Curtis Murayama, former colleague and current sports editor of The Advertiser.

Advertiser sports writer Ann Miller called Wilson: "a gentle giant, a kind man who was a soft-spoken accomplished athlete. He was hardly a 'wannabe,' and his priorities ran far beyond sports.

"He was hardly the cigar-chomping, hard-drinking sportswriter portrayed in movies. More to the current point, he was adamantly opposed to sportswriting as it always had been, with cliches and cliched topics, and unimaginative writing allowed to run on simply because deadlines were so strict."

"He was always smiling through his bushy beard," said Andy Yamaguchi, a former Advertiser sports writer who is now night city editor. "He was a good boss and an even better person."

Wilson "revolutionized" the way we edit our stories, according to assistant sports editor Clyde Mizumoto, who served as Wilson's assistant and followed him as sports editor.

"Before Steve came aboard, we would sometimes write, edit and design the pages for our own stories," Mizumoto said. "But Steve demanded 'clean' copy. He wanted more attention and resources paid to editing and headline writing, and that eventually led to the editing system that we have today. He had a huge influence on our operation, and I will forever be grateful for the appreciation of copy editing that he instilled in me."

Wilson earned his English degree from Utah in 1976 and his master's in social work from Wayne State in 1992.

"Steve was always a stickler for grammar, and shared an interest in teaching," said Bart Asato, assistant sports editor.

"Many of the grammar and style changes he made continue to be used today by our copy editors. ... our copy desk became stronger because of him."

Asato recalled Wilson changing all references to "solo home run" to "bases-empty home run" because all homers are by one person, and are therefore, always solo.

"He loved his family and had a fanatical devotion to proper grammar and avoidance of cliches," said Yamaguchi. "If Emmitt Smith scored on a 1-yard run, he would have us call it a 'yard run.' 'Sounds like he's running through my yard,' I said. 'But 1-yard run is redundant, he'd say.' "

Wilson came to The Advertiser after serving as an assistant sports editor at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, Ariz.

After leaving The Advertiser, he joined the Detroit News, where he worked for the past 16 years.

From 1990, Wilson was assistant sports editor and copy desk chief at the Detroit News. He also worked in Salt Lake City, Utah, Dallas and Houston.

Wilson loved playing basketball and following his favorite team, the Utah Jazz.

"We spent our prime years playing hoops," Murayama said. "He always told me he enjoyed rebounding more than scoring. That's why we made a good team. I loved to shoot and he loved to rebound."

Wilson also is survived by siblings, Claudia Curtis of Holladay, Utah; Roger Wilson of Hoytsville, Utah, and Laurie Wilson-Bell of Draper, Utah.