William F. McIlwain, NF ’58, a longtime reporter and editor who led newspapers in New York, Boston, and Florida, died at his home in North Carolina on August 8. He was 88.
McIlwain worked at several newspapers in the South after graduating from Wake Forest College in 1949. In 1954, he joined Newsday as chief copy editor, rising to editor in chief before leaving in 1970 for a residency at his alma mater.
He returned to newspapers in 1972, working as an editor at the Toronto Star, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record, the Boston Herald-American, The Washington Star, and the Arkansas Gazette. In 1982, he became founding editor of Newsday’s New York City edition, then left in 1984 to take over as executive editor of the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune. He retired in 1990.
McIlwain was the author of several books. He wrote “The Glass Rooster,” a novel about the civil rights era, during his Nieman Fellowship. He also contributed to “Naked Came the Stranger,” a raunchy literary spoof created by a group of Newsday reporters led by Mike McGrady, NF ‘69.
He is survived by a son, two daughters, and five grandchildren.