Gil Savery, whose 44-year career at the Lincoln Evening Journal included a Pulitzer Prize, died Friday at age 101.
Born in Shelby, Savery's family moved to Lincoln when he was 12. He graduated from Lincoln High School and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Savery was hired as a police reporter at the Journal in 1941 and became the longest serving news editor in the paper's history.
He was involved in the paper's successful campaign to establish a presidential primary election in Nebraska, which gave the state's residents a voice in who the political parties chose as their nominees for the nation's highest office. For that effort, the Journal was awarded the Pulitzer for Public Service in 1949.
Savery retired as managing editor of the Journal in 1985.
He was inducted into the Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame last year, and on Savery's 100th birthday, Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler proclaimed Oct. 14, 2017, "Gil Savery Day."
Kathleen Rutledge — who worked for the Journal before it merged with the Lincoln Daily Star, then served as editor of the newly named Lincoln Journal Star — remembered Savery's coaching during the early days of her career.
"I don’t recall his title, but his domain was the copy desk," Rutledge said. "Once I graduated from clerkdom, I was a copy editor for a time, and discovered that the standards for the copy desk were high. I recall having an awkward headline thrown back to me for revision over and over and over. I think this reflected Gil’s and his colleagues’ proud expectations."
According to Rutledge, Savery's lofty standards were matched with a kindness.
"In one small headline of mine that somehow made it to print, I erroneously called jury members 'jurists,'" she said. "My first big mistake. He was gentle but firm in correcting me."
That nature was also evident to Rutledge in 1981 when he allowed her to cover the Statehouse.
"Although perhaps not without some trepidation, it was a big step for the Journal, which hadn’t had a woman on that beat," she said. "He supported me throughout my career, and beyond."
Savery is survived by his wife, Averil, four children, three stepchildren, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Southminster United Methodist Church, 2915 S. 16th St.