Obituary: Charlie Lenox, former Daily Advertiser editor, dies + obituary
Kris Wartelle, The Advertiser, Sept. 13, 2018
Lenox led the city newspaper through some of the most groundbreaking moments in history including several hurricanes, numerous oil booms and busts and the rise of Lafayette from a small town to a bustling city with a population of more than 120,000.
Lenox began his career as a sports writer at the Lake Charles American Press in the 1960s then became the sports editor at the Lafayette Daily Advertiser from 1962-1968. He later became the city editor of the paper from 1968-1972, the managing editor from 1972-1996 and finally executive editor 1996 until his retirement in 2004.
Longtime sports editor Kevin Foote said he owes a lot to his former boss.
"I still appreciate many things about Charlie," Foote said. "One is that he allowed a very young, very skinny, very green, 16-year-old kid in high school to join the sports department as a part-timer. Sports editor Bruce Brown and Charlie were both instrumental in giving me my start in this business."
Foote now has his own sports talk show on radio, thanks in part to Lenox.
"When the opportunity came my way, he supported me, giving it a try," Foote recalled. "He was just a nice man who was very well connected with so many people in town."
Richard Zuschlag, CEO and founder of Acadian Ambulance has called Lenox a friend for more than 40 years. Zuschlag credits The Daily Advertiser and Lenox in particular with helping to make Acadian Ambulance the powerhouse it has become today. Zuschlag said without the support and scrutiny of the paper, as well as Lenox's constructive criticism, Acadian could not have continued to improve.
"There were so many things he did that were a check and balance," Zuschlag said. "I would bring him letters to the editor (about Acadian) to review and I would give him the good ones and the bad ones. We had some problems we had to deal with. Nobody is ever perfect. And in order to get this company to be as best as it could be, I would tell people, if you call with a complaint and we don't resolve it, then write a letter to the editor. That kept senior management on their toes."
Zuschlag and others agree that Lenox had a sense for the Acadiana community that translated into a tremendous influence on it and helped to fuel Lafayette's growth.
He pointed to examples of how Lenox, along with former publisher Richard D'Aquin, could make things happen when others could not.
"He was a serious newspaper man," Zuschlag added. "And he was a lot of fun."
D'Aquin was emotional when he heard that his friend for more than four decades has passed away.
"He was a good editor and he loved Lafayette," D'Aquin said. "He just loved his job and always very loyal to the paper and to the city."
Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco knew Lenox as a journalist first and foremost.
"He was part of a team of people at the Advertiser that knew Lafayette had to be promoted as a community if we were to move beyond," Blanco said. "UL was not a football powerhouse, but he gave it coverage like it was.
"He fully believed in the people and the community and wanted to showcase Lafayette in the very best light. But he painted as clear a picture as possible. He was a true journalist."
During his career, starting in 1978, Lenox served as a part-time adviser to The Vermilion, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's student newspaper, and L'Acadien yearbook, according to James Savage of UL's Office of Communications and Marketing. Lenox remained there part-time until his retirement from the Advertiser. He then joined the University's Department of Communications as a full-time lecturer, teaching introductory news writing and editing courses. He was also director of student publications, and continued to advise the newspaper and yearbook. He remained student publications director until 2017, and retired from teaching in May of this year.
Charlie Lenox is surrounded by students/staff of the L'Acdien yearbook. (Photo: L'Acadien yearbook / University of Louisiana at Lafayette.)
Lenox was active in numerous civic organizations including on the board of directors of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, the boards of directors of Lafayette General Medical Center, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Junior League, and Leadership Lafayette.
Funeral arrangements will be handled by of Walters Funeral Home of Lafayette.
Charles "Charlie" Lenox
August 16, 1938 ~ September 11, 2018 (age 80)
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in the Sunrise Chapel at Walters Funeral Home for Charles Lenox, 80, a retired journalism instructor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and longtime editor at The Daily Advertiser.
He died Sept. 11, 2018, at his home in Lafayette.
The family will welcome Lenox’s friends and former colleagues for visitation from 1 p.m. until the time of services Saturday. Interment will take place following the funeral service in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.
The Rev. Andrew Schumacher, parochial vicar of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, will celebrate a Catholic Word Service. Stephanie Hoffpauir, organist and vocalist, will perform, “Ave Maria”, “America the Beautiful”, “I Heard God Today”, and “Let There Be Peace On Earth.” James Savage, Charlie’s friend and former Advertiser colleague, will deliver a eulogy.
Lenox spent a lifetime helping to shape hundreds of journalists, first at the newspaper for 42 years and then at the University.
He became a full-time lecturer in the Department of Communications in 2004. He had been part-time adviser to The Vermilion, UL Lafayette’s student newspaper, and L'Acadien, its yearbook, since 1978. In addition to teaching courses in newswriting and editing, Lenox served as director of student publications, and continued to advise the newspaper and yearbook. He remained in that role until last year, and retired from teaching in May 2018.
Lenox began working at The Advertiser in 1962 as sports editor. In 1968, he became city editor; he was named managing editor in 1972. Under his direction, the news staff received numerous Louisiana Press Association awards, including General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards. The news team also earned the prestigious 1992 Thomson Award for Deadline Writing for its coverage of Hurricane Andrew.
He was tapped as executive editor in 1996. He was editorial page editor from 1997 until his retirement from the newspaper in 2004. The editorial page was honored as best in Thomson Newspapers for 1997. It was cited as best in its class in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002 by the Louisiana Press Association.
Lenox was a columnist throughout his career.
As a representative of the newspaper, and through his service on boards of directors and as a member of many local organizations, Lenox was an influential leader who colleagues and community members dubbed “The Pen of Acadiana.”
He served on the board of directors of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce from January 1978 to January 1993, including a term as its vice president. He was also a member of the boards of directors of Lafayette General Medical Center, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Junior League, and Leadership Lafayette. Lenox was a member of the Human Relations Council and a member of the Vermilionville Historic Foundation from 1990 until 2003, including terms as president and vice president.
He held a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Louisiana State University. While attending LSU, he worked on The Reveille, the student newspaper, and in the sports department of the Morning Advocate newspaper on weekends. After graduation in 1961, he was hired as a sports writer for the Lake Charles American Press.
Lenox was a native of Sand Springs, Oklahoma.
His survivors also include nine grandchildren. They are Jason Lenox, Lauren Guidry, Brandi Lenox, Christopher Lenox Jr., Victoria Lenox, Reed Lenox, Kyra Lenox, Cody Lenox and Aspen Lenox; six great-grandchildren, Madison Lenox, Ava Lenox, Alexandria Johnson, Jacob Smith Grayson Lenox and Liam Lenox.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Helen Lenox.
The Lenox family wishes to thank the fifth floor ICU staff at Lafayette General Medical Center and Hospice of Acadiana for the care they gave Charlie in his final days.
There's still time to send flowers to the Visitation at the Walters Funeral Home from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM on September 15, 2018.