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Obituaries in the News

November 11, 2003

Bill Miller

THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) _ Bill Miller, a journalism professor who used the Illinois Statehouse as a classroom to train hundreds of journalists to cover government and politics, died Monday after a six year battle with cancer. He was 80.

He won an Edward R. Murrow Award from the national Radio and Television News Director’s Association in 1966 and also was the recipient of 20 Associated Press awards for radio reporting dating to 1949, the year he graduated with a degree in radio journalism from the University of Illinois.

After a quarter-century as a radio reporter in Illinois’ capital city, Miller took over the Public Affairs Reporting graduate program at what was then Sangamon State University.

Miller stepped down from the academic post at what is now the University of Illinois at Springfield in 1993. The program combined classroom work and internships with news organizations covering the Capitol.

Miller was named Illinoisan of the Year by the Illinois News Broadcasters in 1989 for his work in journalism education and promoting the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

Miller spent seven years in charge of the Capitol Information Bureau, the first radio network in the state, and 17 years at Springfield’s WTAX radio, where he was a news reporter and news director.

Miller is survived by his wife, Stella, four children and eight grandchildren. A son preceded him in death.


Charles Lewis Spence

SEATTLE (AP) _ Charles Lewis Spence, whose Japanese business strategy brought prosperity to his family’s forest products export company after World War II, died Nov. 4 of complication from a broken hip. He was 86.

Spence, a past president of the Japan American Society, spent most of his adult life running Pacific Lumber and Shipping Co.

Spence funded the Charles L. Spence Asian Study Tour Endowment to help students and educators travel and study in Asia. In 2000 he was among the sponsors of Global Business Challenge, a contest that drew students from 13 nations to the campus in Seattle.

Spence’s father was working in the timber industry when he handled timber sales for rebuilding ports and other installations after an earthquake in which 142,000 people died in and around Tokyo in 1923.

Those ties with Japan were strengthened after his father formed Pacific Lumber in the early 1930s.

During World War II Spence served in Navy intelligence, mostly in the Seattle area, then joined the family business and resumed doing business with Japan at a time when many competitors held back because of ill feelings from the war.

Pacific Lumber, in turn, benefited for years as early contacts became business leaders in Japan.

Following the Columbus Day storm that leveled 15 billion board feet of timber around the Pacific Northwest in 1962, Spence pioneered a market for raw logs in Japan and prospered during the Japanese economic boom of the 1960s and ’70s.

At its peak, Pacific Lumber and Shipping owned three sawmills in Washington state. All have since been sold or closed, but the company continues to export logs.

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