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Friskie & Gil

Gil Savery in 2017 with his companion, Friskie.

Nebraska lost a gem Nov. 2 when Gil Savery, longtime editor for the Lincoln Journal and a columnist during retirement for the Neighborhood Extra, died at age 101.

Savery's 44-year career at the Lincoln Evening Journal included winning a Pulitzer Prize for the newspaper's successful campaign to establish a presidential primary election in Nebraska. He was hired as a police reporter in 1941 and became the longest-serving news editor in the newspaper's history. He retired in 1985 as managing editor.

Neighborhood Extra readers will recall that Savery often mentioned his dog Friskie, a constant companion, in columns during his later years. His column began as the Front Porch Journal and continued for over a decade.

"Gil was a great ambassador of our profession and an incredible source of Lincoln history," said Neighborhood Extra founder and longtime editor Dennis Buckley. "He was in charge of page design for the Evening Journal in 1941, when our country first became involved in World War II. I will always remember him for his community support. He was a treasure and will be greatly missed."

I haven't been editor of the Neighborhood Extra long enough to have known Savery well, and that's unfortunate. But his occasional encouraging phone calls and emails, telling me that he liked a particular story I wrote -- especially when I was hired as editor of the Journal Star's Star City Health publication in 2004 -- meant a great deal to me.

Savery will be missed by so many, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Averil and their family.

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