John E. ‘Jack’ Person led Sun-Gazette with an accent on goodwill

From 1964 to 1990, John E. “Jack” Person Jr. served as president of the Sun-Gazette Co.

While it was clear he took that stewardship seriously, it was just as clear he did not use the title for anything other than goodwill.

Mr. Person, who died recently at age of 100, revered the role of a family owned newspaper.

That family included all Sun-Gazette employees. It did not matter who the employee was or what their title or role was. If he passed them in the office, there was a smile, a “hi” and a “how’s your day going?” awaiting them.

A visitor to the Sun-Gazette, not aware of the distinctive bow tie that seemed permanently attached to Mr. Person, would never have known he was president of the newspaper.

And that’s the way “Jack” liked it.

The family he revered notably included the entire community that the newspaper touched. He quietly served on the boards of a wide array of community organizations representing a broad range of causes.

Under his leadership, the Sun-Gazette was extremely generous as a giver to community activities and initiatives.

And the pattern was always the same — give to meet a community need and let that be that, no need to puff your chest out and announce it to the world.

And that’s the way “Jack” wanted it.

The family also included the newspaper’s customers — the advertisers and the subscribers. He wanted all of them to feel they were treated well by the Sun-Gazette. As for the people whom the editorial arm of the Sun-Gazette dealt with, he wanted them to feel they were treated fairly, with a premium on simply reporting the news and not embellishing it.

He was kind. He was understated. He was considerate. He was a down-to-earth leader and steward of the Sun-Gazette.

And for all that, the community was blessed.