Retired Herald-Sun editor, executive dies

Mar. 18, 2014 @ 06:15 PM

Alex Crockett, a longtime editor and executive with The Herald-Sun Papers, died Tuesday after battling cancer. He was 86.

Mr. Crockett joined the Durham newspaper company in 1962 as assistant sports editor for The Durham Morning Herald. He rose in the ranks to sports editor, managing editor and eventually to the executive office, serving as acting executive editor, assistant to company president Steed Rollins and later as vice president and secretary of the corporation. He retired in 1993.

“It was a good time for me,” Mr. Crockett said in an interview earlier this year. “We covered everything pretty religiously. I had a great time in the sports department, making three trips to Notre Dame, one to Michigan, one to Dallas and several to Georgia Tech.”

Mr. Crockett’s daughter, Lucy Crockett, said her father was elated when the University of Virginia defeated Duke on Sunday to win the ACC tournament.

“He was so happy, and he got to see that game [on television],” she said. “When Virginia had its first game on Friday, he wore the same UVA T-shirt until they won on Sunday. Forty-eight hours later, he was gone.”

Lucy Crockett said her father always loved sports and the printed page.

“He was quite a student of the newspaper world, and the changes that occurred over the decades,” she said. “He loved coaching young reporters. There were a few people he remembered hiring and watched through their careers. He took pride in that.”

In addition to his love of newspapers, Mr. Crockett had a strong interest in music, especially the swing jazz era.

“He had a huge LP collection, and in the last several years, acquired hundreds of CDs from that era,” she said. “Louis Armstrong was probably his favorite.”  

Lucy Crockett said her father’s memory remained sharp until the end, and he was receiving visitors hours before he died.

“He had an incredible memory, and would tell stories from as far back as when he was five years old,” she said. “He remembered every job he had in great detail. It was such a gift for him to maintain his mental sharpness right until the end.”

Mr. Crockett was a lifelong Presbyterian, and an elder in First Presbyterian Church in Durham.

Clements Funeral Service is handling arrangements, which are pending.