Wayne Ezell, former Boca Raton News editor, dies in Iowa bicycle crash
By Tony Doris – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 7:33 p.m. Sunday, July 24, 2016
Wayne L. Ezell, 72, a former editor for the Boca Raton News and Florida Times-Union, died Sunday in Iowa after a pickup truck hit his bicycle.
The Omaha World-Herald reported that Ezell, who was to participate in the Des Moines Register’s annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, apparently was on his way to dip his bike in the Missouri River, a tradition before the weeklong trek. The pickup crashed into his bike from behind at about 6:40 a.m., the paper said, citing the Iowa State Patrol.
The driver, Robb Philippus, 34, was uninjured. There’s no word on whether he faces charges, as the crash remained under investigation.
The 467-mile bike ride began its first stage Sunday. A “Mile of Silence” was dedicated to those injured or killed while bicycling.
Ezell, of Jacksonville, had retired as an editorial writer and former reader advocate and business editor for the Times-Union. He previously served as publisher of the Winter Haven News Chief and editor of the Boca Raton News and was on the boards of the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition and Florida Philharmonic Boca Raton.
“You would have enjoyed working with Wayne,” said Randall Murray, whom Ezell hired as editorial page editor in Boca in 1990. The newspaper had a young staff and, “Wayne was very caring about the kids,” Murray said.
“It was many years later that I finally realized what a caring, competent leader he was for all those young reporters and editors,” Scott Simmons, another veteran of the Boca newsroom and current editor of Florida Weekly, said in a Facebook post Sunday.
Murray said that during Ezell’s tenure, from the mid-1980s to mid-’90s, Ezell helped lead the Knight-Ridder-owned newspaper through a challenging transition called the 25-43 project, remaking the paper to attract baby boomers. “Wayne was one of the prime movers,” Murray said. “We did a lot of very hard work.”