Wayne C. Sargent, a former senior vice president of United Press International and past member of The Herald's readers advisory committee, died Saturday Nov. 3 after a sudden illness.
Mr. Sargent, 87, had moved to Carmel in 1986 after retiring as editor of the San Bernardino Sun. He also had been president and publisher of the Nashville Banner after spending 24 years with UPI, which was the Associated Press' primary competition for decades.
"Wayne was incredibly insightful about journalism and the newspaper industry," said Royal Calkins, editor of The Herald. "Having coffee with him was like attending a graduate seminar on marketing, circulation and newswriting."
Mr. Sargent was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but raised in Northern California. After graduating early from Los Gatos High School, he enrolled at San Jose State College at age 15. Two years later, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He washed out as a pilot, however, and was assigned to the Signal Corps.
He later obtained a journalism degree from Stanford and joined UPI in 1948, working as a correspondent in San Francisco, Las Vegas and Sacramento. He attended the national nominating conventions from 1948 until 1960. He was the first to report that Earl Warren would become chief justice of the Supreme Court.
From 1960 to 1964, he coordinated the wire service's coverage of racial unrest and the civil rights movement in the South. He said he was banned from the California Senate once for writing
Relatives told the San Bernardino Sun that he had a photographic memory. Grandniece Pam Shaw of Sacramento said he could flip through a deck of cards and recall the order."
"He was an amazing and brilliant man," she said. "He did a lot of things I would have liked to have done."
Mr. Sargent was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Marybeth Derham Sargent. In addition to grandniece Pamela Shaw and her husband, Gregory, he is survived by their three children and spouses, their seven grandchildren and his close friend Marie Saulsbury.
Mr. Sargent moved to the business side of UPI in 1960 in Los Angeles, selling UPI subscriptions to all but one Southern California paper before moving on the manage UPI sales operations in the South. He established the first wire service bureau at Cape Canaveral. He was promoted to senior vice president for marketing in New York, where he spent eight years.
Mr. Sargent's career made a full circle when he returned to daily journalism as editor of the San Bernardino newspaper. There, he helped many others launch their careers. He hired and mentored business writer Russ Stanton, who would go on to become editor of the Los Angeles Times.
"I only had two years of reporting experience at the time, and I remember him asking me some questions about finance during the interview that I couldn't answer," said Stanton. "He hired me anyway, took an interest in my development, and a year later I got to attend a career-changing economics and fellowship program for journalists at the University of Missouri."
Before his health declined, Mr. Sargent was a dedicated golfer, mostly at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley. He had actively supported a golf scholarship there, and his family requests that any remembrances be in the form of contributions to the Quail Scholarship in care of the Jim Tunney Youth Foundation, Box 1440, Pebble Beach 93953.