Texas Press Association
Hall of Fame Class of 2010
As executive director of the Texas Press Association for nearly a quarter of a century, Lyndell Williams helped lead hundreds of publishers to success in the newspaper business while building the TPA into one of the nation’s most respected and financially strong press associations.
TPA hired Lyndell N. Williams as executive vice president, effective April 1, 1974. He served in that capacity until June 30, 1998.
Williams came to Texas Press Association after serving 13 years as assistant manager of the Oklahoma Press Association, learning the ropes from his friend and mentor, OPA chief executive Ben Blackstock.
When Williams started with Texas Press, the association was $35,000 in debt. Under Williams’ management, the debt was soon retired and cash reserves multiplied. By his retirement in 1998, the association’s portfolio was worth more than $2 million.
Williams was a high-energy idea man and scrupulous manager who did much to improve the association’s array of member services. He initiated the annual trade show, advertising short courses, news-writing clinics and accounting seminars. He ushered in the computer era at the central office in Austin by outfitting the building with networked workstations and by overseeing the conversion of its upstairs board room into a computer-equipped classroom for staff training of member newspapers in such software as Adobe Photoshop and Quark Xpress.
He wrote a weekly news column about state government and was widely acquainted with state officials. Through his relationship with the late Bob Bullock, the State Comptroller, Williams convinced Bullock of the Legislature’s error in passing a sales tax on newspaper circulation in 1983. Bullock agreed that trying to turn every newspaper-boy into a tax collector for the state was simply bad business. The tax was repealed.
Efforts were also successful in preventing Texas from adopting a sales tax on newspaper advertising.
A 1950 graduate of Oklahoma University, Williams put his bachelor’s degree in business administration with minors in marketing and economics right to work at the Holdenville (Okla.) Daily News, where he was named news editor and later assistant publisher.
In 1961, he resigned to join Oklahoma Press Association. Prior to college, Williams served in World War II in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, 87th Infantry Division. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge and other ground operations in the European Theater. He was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in action.
Williams died Jan. 2, 2008, in Oklahoma City. He was inducted into the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2010 as one of four members of the Hall’s fourth class of honorees.