Served as publisher and general manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register for nearly three decades
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WHEELING, W.Va. — G. Ogden Nutting, who for nearly three decades served as president and publisher of Wheeling-based Ogden Newspapers Inc., died Friday, August 25, 2023 at age 87.
Nutting spent a lifetime in service to the newspaper industry. He started his journalism career in 1956 at The Journal of Martinsburg in West Virginia. He moved to Wheeling in 1958 to take a position as assistant business manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register. He became general manager of the newspapers in the late 1960s, and in 1970, he was named president and publisher of Ogden Newspapers Inc., which at that time owned seven daily and two weekly newspapers in West Virginia and 19 other newspapers across the country.
Active in national and state newspaper and journalism associations, he served on boards and committees of the American Newspaper Publishers’ Association, Southern Newspaper Publishers’ Association and the West Virginia Press Association.
Nutting received both state and national recognition for his newspapers’ efforts to shine light in dark places. In 2010 the West Virginia Press Association honored Nutting with its highest honor, the Adam R. Kelly Premier Journalist Award, for a lifetime of service to informing West Virginians. The award is given in memory of the late Adam R. Kelly, legendary “Country Editor” columnist and former owner and editor of the Tyler Star News in Sistersville, West Virginia.
Upon learning of Nutting’s passing, West Virginia Press Association Executive Director Don Smith said Nutting was one of the “… great publishers in the history of newspapers in West Virginia.”
“The West Virginia Press Association, the newspaper industry and this state have lost an iconic leader and a gracious man,” Smith said. “Ogden Nutting symbolized the family newspaper ownership that served as the structure of our association during the last century and ensured a free and independent press across West Virginia.”
The West Virginia Press Association in 1994 named Nutting a Life Member “in appreciation for years of outstanding service” in publishing community newspapers.
Nutting was still serving on the WVPA Hall of Fame committee.
National recognition included the Southern Newspapers Publishers’ Association awarding Nutting in 2012 its highest honor, the Mayborn Leadership Award, for his “vision, community leadership, and significant contributions to the newspaper industry.”
In bestowing the Mayborn award, Donna Barrett, president and CEO of Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., called Nutting “the very model of a newspaper editor and publisher.”
“He is deeply committed to the cities and towns his newspapers serve,” she said. “He celebrates the successes of those communities and heralds stories of people at their best. He shares their losses and is committed to reporting their failings – particularly when those failings are the fault of elected leaders. Above all, he underscores the importance of what we leave behind to the next generation.”
A former member of the Visiting Committee of the West Virginia University School of Journalism, Nutting was instrumental in establishing the Ogden Newspapers and Nutting Family Journalism Endowment Scholarship Fund for juniors and seniors studying print media, which to date has handed out nearly $170,000 in scholarships. Ogden Newspapers and the Nutting family also created the West Virginia University Journalism Library Endowment Fund, the Ogden Newspapers Multimedia Classroom, the Nutting Family Studio and the Ogden Newspapers Endowed Visiting Professor position, held for a decade by the late Dr. George Esper, a legendary Associated Press correspondent.
The Ogden Newspapers Seminar Series at West Virginia University has attracted many high-profile figures to exchange ideas on important issues of the day. The speakers have included Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker; legendary sportswriter Frank Defour; journalists Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington; political cartoonist Mike Lukovich; and Ari Fleischer, former spokesman for President George W. Bush.
Nutting served on the West Virginia University Foundation Board of Directors in the 1960s and then later, from 1988-2008. In 1996, Nutting was recognized for his service to West Virginia University and the state of West Virginia when he received the “Most Loyal West Virginian” award. In 1998, he was honored with West Virginia University’s prestigious Distinguished Service Award for “exceptional leadership in the state and nation.” Honored again in 2000 by West Virginia University, Nutting received the first Paul A. Atkins “Friend of the Journalism School” award.
He was inducted into the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame in 2002 and in 2007 was inducted into the Order of Vandalia, West Virginia University’s most prestigious honor for service to the university and state. In 2012, he received an honorary doctorate from the university. The Nutting Foundation also received the WVU Foundation’s “Outstanding Philanthropy Award” in 2012.
Nutting served for 45 years as a member of the Board of Trustees at Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia, from which he received an Honorary Doctorate in 2001 and was chosen for Bethany’s Communication and Media Arts Department “Wall of Fame” in 2012. He was a board member of The Linsly School and also Wheeling Country Day School, both located in Wheeling.
Nutting was active in civic and community affairs in his hometown of Wheeling. He served for more than 40 years on the Wheeling Park Commission and as a member of the Oglebay Foundation. Nutting was an advocate for, and strong supporter of, the Community Chest/United Way his entire career. The United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley named him as recipient of its “Building a Better Community” award in 2018, and the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce honored him in 2019.
Nutting also served on multiple other boards in Wheeling. He was a bank director for 50 years, and served as chairman of the board of the Half Dollar Trust and Savings Bank. He was a life member of the Wheeling Elks, BPOE No. 28, and a member of the Rotary Club of Wheeling for decades.
He believed strongly in giving back to his local communities, with his philanthropic efforts ranging from working with major organizations to specific projects such as the Nutting Art Gallery at West Liberty University in West Liberty, West Virginia, the Nutting Winter Sports Complex at Oglebay Park in Wheeling and Nutting Hall at Blaney House, the president’s residence at West Virginia University.
He was named to the Wheeling Hall of Fame in 2013 in the Business, Industry and Professions category, joining his grandfather, H.C. Ogden, who was inducted in 1982 in the same category. Nutting’s wife, Betty Woods “Snookie” Nutting, joined him in the Wheeling Hall of Fame in 2017 for Public Service, making them the first married couple in the Hall of Fame as individual honorees and for different contributions to the city.
His work in West Virginia was recognized in 2005 by then-West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise who presented him the “Distinguished West Virginian” Award.
He also was involved in endeavors outside of Wheeling. In 1996, Nutting joined with Kevin McClatchy’s partnership group to ensure the Pittsburgh Pirates remained in Pittsburgh. He later worked with McClatchy to help design and open PNC Park in 2001.
A lifelong sports enthusiast, Nutting regularly was found at local sports events, cheering on area athletes. A skilled tennis player and enthusiast of skiing, he regularly skied at Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Hidden Valley Resort in Pennsylvania along with other ski areas across the country, as twice was chronicled in Ski Magazine for likely skiing at more ski resorts than anyone had skied before.
He founded the original Wheeling Junior Soccer Club and also was a founding officer of the Wheeling Ironmen professional football team.
The newspaper company Nutting oversaw for years was founded by his maternal grandfather, H.C. Ogden, who published the first edition of the Wheeling Evening News on Sept. 22, 1890. Today, Nutting’s son Robert M. Nutting serves as president and CEO of Ogden Newspapers Inc., his son William O. Nutting serves as vice president and his granddaughter Cameron Nutting Williams serves as regional manager and chief revenue officer. They are in the fourth and fifth generations of the family that has owned and managed the company based in Wheeling for nearly 133 years.
The family has deep roots in the industry. Robert Nutting is a past president of the Newspaper Association of America and a past president of the West Virginia Press Association, while William Nutting served as a past president of the Southern Newspapers Publishers’ Association and a director of the Associated Press. Cameron Nutting Williams currently serves as president of America’s Newspapers.
The Ogden Newspapers Inc. has expanded since its founding to now include newspapers, websites, magazines, phone directories and related businesses in 18 states.
Nutting is survived by his spouse, Betty Woods “Snookie” Nutting; his brother, oldest friend and lifetime business partner, William C. Nutting; his two sons, William O. and Robert M. Nutting; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
His obituary is below:
George Ogden Nutting, 87, of Wheeling, WV, passed away Friday, Aug. 25, 2023.
He was born Oct. 21, 1935 in Washington, D.C., the son of the late Dr. George K. Nutting and Margaret Ogden Nutting. He attended high school at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., and graduated magna cum laude from Williams College with a degree in history where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity — Delta Psi.
Nutting worked for more than 60 years at his private and family-owned Ogden Newspapers Inc., serving in various roles including publisher, general manager and president. The Wheeling Evening News, founded by Nutting’s maternal grandfather H.C. Ogden on Sept. 22, 1890, formed the basis of the company that became the Ogden Newspapers Inc., which now has more than 50 community newspapers in 18 states.
An Episcopalian by faith, Nutting served for years as a Sunday School teacher at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Wheeling, and served in the Vestry and as a Trustee of Lawrencefield Chapel. He was active at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and also St. John’s in later years.
He served on the boards of numerous community, statewide and national organizations with particular interest in West Virginia University and Bethany College, both of which presented him with honorary doctorate degrees and other recognition. He also served on the boards of The Linsly School, Wheeling Country Day School, was a founding officer of the Wheeling Ironmen and the Wheeling Junior Soccer Club, and was chairman of the board of the Half Dollar Trust and Savings Bank.
In 2013, he was inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame in the Business, Industry and Professions category, joining his grandfather, H.C. Ogden, who was inducted in 1982 in the same category. Nutting’s wife, Betty Woods “Snookie” Nutting, joined him in the Wheeling Hall of Fame in 2017 for Public Service, making them the first married couple in the Hall of Fame as individual honorees and for different contributions to the city.
In 2005, West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise honored Nutting with the Distinguished West Virginian Award.
The West Virginia Press Association awarded him its highest honor, the Adam R. Kelly Premier Journalist Award, in 2010. The Southern Newspaper Publisher’s Association in 2012 awarded Nutting its highest honor, the Mayborn Leadership Award, for his “vision, community leadership, and significant contributions to the newspaper industry.”
In 2007, West Virginia University inducted Nutting into the Order of Vandalia, its most prestigious honor, for service to the state of West Virginia.
Nutting also served on boards and committees of the American Newspaper Publishers’ Association, Southern Newspaper Publishers’ Association and the West Virginia Press Association.
In 1996, Nutting joined with Kevin McClatchy’s partnership group to ensure the Pittsburgh Pirates did not leave Pittsburgh. He later worked with McClatchy to help design and open PNC Park in 2001.
Nutting also served in the West Virginia National Guard, where he attained the rank of staff sergeant.
Nutting was an avid skier who skied until the age of 86 regularly at Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Hidden Valley Resort and many other areas. He twice was featured in Ski Magazine for likely skiing at more ski resorts than anyone had skied before. He also was an avid tennis player and lifelong promoter of growing tennis in Wheeling.
He is survived by his wife Betty Woods “Snookie” Nutting and his brother — who was his oldest friend and lifelong business partner — William C. Nutting and his wife Pauline. He also is survived by his two sons, William O. Nutting and his wife Veronica Zoani Quinterno, and Robert M. Nutting and his wife Leslie; five granddaughters: Cameron Nutting Williams and her husband Christophe; Taylor Nutting Gurbacs and her husband Gabor; Lachlan Nutting; Veronica Nutting; and Alexia Nutting; one grandson: Ogden William Nutting; and three great-grandchildren: Nolan Williams, Olivia Williams, and George Gurbacs. He also is survived by two nephews: Robert and Christopher Woods.
There will be no visitation or public service. Those desiring to do so should make contributions to the church or charity of their choice.