George Bannerman (G. B.) Dealey, publisher and civic planner, was born on September 18, 1859, in Manchester, England, to George and Mary Ann (Nellins) Dealey. In the mid-1860s the family moved to Liverpool, where he began his schooling and worked as a grocer's apprentice. In 1870 his family immigrated to Galveston, Texas, where he continued in public school and worked at various odd jobs. He took the position of office boy at the Galveston News on October 12, 1874. He worked for this publishing concern the rest of his life.
Dealey took evening classes at the Island City Business College and rose steadily at the News. He became a traveling correspondent who sent news stories and business and circulation reports back to Galveston. When the Dallas Morning News was founded in 1885 he was appointed business manager. By 1895 he became manager of the paper. He became a board member of both newspapers in 1902, vice president and general manager of the corporation in 1906, and president in 1919, upon the death of Cesar M. Lombardi. In 1926 Dealey bought the Dallas Morning News, the Journal (an evening edition), the Semi-Weekly Farm News, and the Texas Almanac from the heirs of Alfred H. Belo and acquired the majority of the company stock.
Dealey was a principled journalist. The News was perpetually enlisted in the cause of civic planning. A Dealey campaign of 1899 led to the foundation of the Cleaner Dallas League, which became the Dallas Civic Improvement League in 1902. Dealey's efforts were instrumental in the adoption of the original plan to improve Dallas by city planner George E. Kessler in 1910. Dealey refused advertising that he considered dishonest or immoral, including ads for hard liquor and even for oilfield promotions, since he could not determine sound from unsound petroleum ventures. The News also crusaded against the Ku Klux Klan's influence in the 1920s.
Dealey's other business interests included the G. B. Dealey Land Company and the West Commerce Realty Company. He pioneered in newspaper-owned radio stations by opening WFAA in 1922. He helped establish Southern Methodist University and was instrumental in obtaining the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas for the city.
Dealey's personal involvement in civic activities included serving on the board of governors of the American City Planning Institute (1920–21), as vice president of the National Municipal League (1923–24), on the advisory council of the American Planning and Civic Association, and on the national committee of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. He was a director of the Children's Hospital of Texas and was president of the Family Bureau, a pioneer Dallas social agency, from its inception in 1908. He was also president of the Philosophical Society of Texas, a member of the Texas Press Association, an honorary life member of the Texas State Historical Association, founder (1922) and lifetime president (from 1933) of the Dallas Historical Society, second vice president of the Associated Press (1923–24), an honorary national president of Sigma Delta Chi (1940–41), and an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa (1943). He received honorary doctoral degrees from Southern Methodist University (1921), Austin College (1924), and the University of Missouri (1925), the last of which invited him to accept a gift to its school of journalism from the British Empire Press Union.
On April 9, 1884, Dealey married Olivia Allen; they had five children. Dealey was a Thirty-third-degree Scottish Rite Mason, Knight Templar, Shriner, and member of the Red Cross of Constantine. He was a Presbyterian and Democrat. Dealey Plaza in Dallas is named for him. The New York Times called him the dean of American publishers. He died at his home in Dallas on February 26, 1946, of a coronary occlusion.