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IZZARD, WESLEY SHERMAN

IZZARD, WESLEY SHERMAN (1900–1983). Wesley Sherman Izzard, journalist and newscaster, the oldest of four children of Arthur J. and Cora (Sherman) Izzard, was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1900. In 1906 the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and settled in nearby Independence. After graduating from high school, Izzard saw active duty in the United States Army during World War I and then worked briefly for the Kansas City Journal before entering the University of Illinois in Urbana, where he majored in English. During the summers of his college years he continued in his position with the Journal and also worked part-time as a pit piano player at the Orpheum Theater. On February 3, 1922, before his graduation, he married Helen Easterday; they had a son and a daughter.

After graduation Izzard worked full-time for the Journal as night city editor and in 1924 moved to Amarillo to join the staff of the newly organized Globe under Eugene A. Howe. Over the next few years he served in various capacities in that paper's editorial department, including entertainment writer, sports editor, police reporter, wire editor, and city editor of the Amarillo Daily News, which Howe acquired in 1926. Eventually, as assistant to the publisher, Izzard handled features and special copy concerned with the paper's promotions.

In addition to his newspaper work he developed an interest in radio and gave his first newscast over Amarillo's first station, WDAG, in 1928. Some months later he began broadcasting over the city's second radio station, KRGS. By the time the two stations merged as KGNC and were purchased by the Globe-News Company, Izzard had nearly seven years' experience as a newscaster and commentator. Subsequently he became production manager, and later general manager, of KGNC, where he did 10,000 editions of his 12:30 P.M. news and 7,800 presentations of his 5:45 analysis. Beginning in 1953 he helped manage KGNC (now KAMR) TV, Amarillo's first television station, until it was sold, along with the radio station, in 1965. During that time Izzard gained recognition in the radio world as holding the first and second place records for consecutive sponsored newscasts.

In 1949 Izzard made an extended six-month tour of Europe with Lawrence Hagy, during which time he contacted the Allied underground workers who had helped his son Bob, a pilot, escape to safety after he was shot down behind German lines and "presumed dead" for 100 days. After Gene Howe's death in 1952, Izzard became editor and publisher of the Amarillo Daily News. At that time he began his daily front-page column, "From A to Izzard," originally a chronicle of his experiences in Europe. The column caught on and for over thirty years was characterized by an upbeat, positive quality in reporting day-to-day happenings. Excerpts from it were reprinted in several newspapers nationwide.

Izzard was also popular as a public speaker throughout the state and nation. He served as president of the Panhandle Press Association in 1942 and was a member of the American Newspaper Publishers Association and the American Society of Newspapers. Among the civic organizations he supported and served as an officer were the Amarillo Little Theater (now Theater Center), the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, the Downtown Kiwanis Club, Cal Farley's Boys Ranch, the Amarillo Study Club, the Knife and Fork Club, and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society. He was a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, and served that body in various leading capacities. An avid outdoorsman, Izzard enjoyed fishing and golf and in 1965 was named to the board of directors of the Tri-State Senior Golf Association. In January 1975 he was honored with an area-wide reception and banquet commemorating his fiftieth year in the journalism profession. Wes Izzard died on August 6, 1983, and was buried in Llano Cemetery, Amarillo.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Amarillo Daily News, August 8, 1983. Amarillo Globe-Times, January 1, 15, 1975. Amarillo Sunday News-Globe, August 7, 1983. Reference File, Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University.

H. Allen Anderson

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

H. Allen Anderson, "IZZARD, WESLEY SHERMAN," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fiz01), accessed September 16, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.