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Isabelle Thomason Decherd Dies

October 11, 1998

DALLAS (AP) _ Isabelle Thomason Decherd, the daughter of a prominent Texas politician and the wife of the one-time chairman of A.H. Belo Corp., died Saturday at her home in Austin. She was 81.

Mrs. Decherd was born in El Paso, where her father, Robert Ewing Thomason, served as mayor. Thomason also served as speaker of the Texas House, a U.S. representative and a federal judge.

Mrs. Decherd graduated in 1936 from the University of Texas at Austin, where she met her husband, H. Ben Decherd.

He was chairman of the board of Belo, which owns The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV, when he died in 1972 at the age of 57.

Mrs. Decherd helped establish the Dallas County Heritage Society and served as its president from 1970-72.

``Americans are finally becoming aware of how late we are in rescuing our historic places and buildings before they are bulldozed or paved over,″ she said in a 1971 interview. ``We inherit air, water, land and buildings, and we ought to protect all these things that will enrich the life of the people.″

Mrs. Decherd is survived by her children, Dealey Decherd Herndon of Austin and Robert W. Decherd of Dallas, both of whom are directors of Belo. Decherd serves as chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of the company.

In addition to her children, Mrs. Decherd is survived by four grandchildren and her brother, William E. Thomason of College Station.

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