Former Times Leader Media Group Executive Editor George Spohr, who led the newsroom for nearly two-and-a-half years, has died.
He was 37.
Spohr, who was executive editor of the Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press at the time of his death, succumbed to cancer Thursday night, the paper reported.
“We were saddened to hear of George’s passing,” Times Leader Media Group Executive Editor Joe Soprano said Friday. “On behalf of the newsroom staff, we send our condolences to George’s family and friends.”
Spohr, who had been named one of the newspaper industry’s top editors under 35, came to the Times Leader in September 2013 from The Sentinel in Carlisle, Cumberland County, where he had been executive editor. He previously held that title at The World in Coos Bay, Ore.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Spohr’s family moved to St. Lawrence County, in upstate New York, when he was 5. They later moved to Utica, N.Y., where Spohr landed his first newspaper job.
He is survived by his parents, George Spohr Sr. and Linda Spohr, a sister, Kristen, and two nephews, all in the Utica area, the Courier & Press reported.
Spohr was a reporter for what was then the Gannett-owned Utica Observer-Dispatch from 1999 until 2002. He went on to work for the Central New York Business Journal and The Princeton Packet before being named assistant business editor for the Press & Sun-Bulletin of Binghamton, N.Y., in 2006. He was named metro/business editor for the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., the following year.
In 2010, Spohr was named state editor for the Watertown Daily Times in Watertown, N.Y., a position he held until being named executive editor at The World in September 2011. Spohr moved back East in July 2012, when he took over the helm in Carlisle.
Spohr was hired in Wilkes-Barre the following year. He departed the Times Leader in February 2016 to become news director of the Gannett-owned Journal & Courier in Lafayette, Ind., later rising to executive editor.
He moved to Evansville in October 2017, and in addition to leading the Courier & Press served as regional editor for Gannett’s Indiana newspapers outside of Indianapolis, leading journalism efforts in Lafayette, Richmond, Muncie and Evansville, as well as at The Gleaner in Henderson, Ky.
“I can’t emphasize enough how much he loved being in Evansville,” Jeff Taylor, executive editor/news at USA TODAY and former executive editor of the Indianapolis Star told the Courier & Press.
“He told me time and time again how he loved being in Evansville,” added Taylor, who hired Spohr to lead the Lafayette newspaper.
“He really felt like he was in a great place and at a great moment in his career.”