Thurston Twigg-Smith, former Advertiser publisher, dies at 94

Thurston Twigg-Smith, former Advertiser publisher, dies at 94

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thurston Twigg-Smith, the former longtime publisher of the Honolulu Advertiser, died Saturday at 94, the Star-Advertiser reports.

Twigg-Smith served in several different roles at the Advertiser before taking over as publisher in 1961 and remaining at the top spot for more than three decades.

In 1995, his Persis Corp. sold the newspaper to Gannett, after his heirs showed no interest in the family business.

In its obituary Saturday, the Star-Advertiser credited Twigg-Smith with turning the Advertiser into Hawaii's dominant newspaper, and bringing the tone of its coverage "more in line with Hawaii's multi-cultural readership."

Twigg-Smith started working for the newspaper after returning from World War II. At the time his uncle, Lorrin P. Thurston, ran the Advertiser.

In 1961, Twigg-Smith completed a takeover of company stock and ousted his uncle, taking over the publisher's desk.

Former Advertiser editor Gerry Keir, who worked at the newspaper from 1968 to 1995, said Twigg-Smith "gave the newsroom the resources to do its job and then he stood back."

"He was the best kind of local family ownership for a newspaper," he said. "He understood the city and understood the role the paper could do in civic life, but he left the newsroom to do its job."

Twigg-Smith was also active in Hawaii's contemporary art scene. As a philanthropist he helped create the Contemporary Museum (now the Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House), and supported Punahou School, Yale University, and other institutions.

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