|On February 18, 2007, Belo lost one of its greatest leaders, James M. “Jimmy” Moroney, Jr., at the age of 85. For more than 60 years, Jimmy helped drive the evolution of Belo into one of the nation’s largest media companies. Jimmy’s forward thinking led Belo’s expansion into broadcast television and new markets outside of Dallas. He exerted a steady and powerful influence on the Company’s transitions and expansions over half a century, and in many instances, he was the pivotal influence. In the 1970s, he played a critical role in converting Belo from a privately-held company founded by his grandfather, George Bannerman Dealey, into a vibrant publicly-traded company.Jimmy began working part-time for the company during summers while he was a student at the University of Texas in Austin. He joined The Dallas Morning News as a reporter in 1946 after serving in the U.S. Navy. He held numerous positions with the Company and in 1951 was named assistant treasurer, followed by his election to the board of directors in 1952. He was named treasurer in 1955, and vice president and treasurer in 1960. In 1970, he was promoted to executive vice president of Belo Corp. and president and CEO of Belo Broadcasting Corp. Four years later, he was named chairman of Belo Broadcasting. In 1980, Jimmy became president and chief executive officer of The Dallas Morning News and president and chief operating officer of Belo. He became chief executive officer of Belo in 1983 and the following year was elected chairman of the board. During his tenure as CEO, Jimmy was instrumental in the purchase of the Corinthian Broadcasting Group from The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation. At the time, the $606 million transaction was the largest ever in U.S. broadcast history. Jimmy retired as chairman of the board and chief executive officer in December 1986 at age 65. From 1987 to 2000, he remained on the board, serving as chairman of the executive committee, and upon retirement from the board, he was named chairman emeritus. Jimmy Moroney will be remembered always for his personal humility and unwavering belief in Belo’s institutional purposes.|
|James M. Moroney Jr.: 1921-2007|
Longtime executive shaped Belo, Dallas
Retired CEO, News publisher known for genial nature, tireless church, civic support
02:09 PM CST on Monday, February 19, 2007
By JOE SIMNACHER / The Dallas Morning News
For almost half a century, James M. "Jimmy" Moroney Jr.'s vision, generosity and genial nature shaped The Dallas Morning News, its hometown and its parent company, Belo Corp. He died Sunday at the age of 85.
James M. Moroney Jr.'s colleagues said he had steady leadership and constant concern for the company, its employees and its customers.
Mr. Moroney's life linked the founding of The News to Belo's expansion into broadcasting and its emergence as one of the nation's largest publicly traded publishing and broadcasting companies.
He was the last surviving grandson of George Bannerman Dealey, who founded The News at the behest of Col. A.H. Belo in 1885.
He served a record 48 years on Belo's board of directors, where he was chairman emeritus at the time of his death. He held virtually every senior management job at the company over a period of 40 years.
Colleagues credited him with steady leadership and constant concern for the welfare of the company, its employees and its customers.
"He will be remembered always for his personal humility and unwavering belief in Belo's institutional purposes," said Robert W. Decherd, Belo's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Jimmy Moroney exerted a steady and powerful influence on the company's transitions and expansions over half a century. ... In many instances, he was the pivotal influence."
Mr. Moroney's son, James M. Moroney III, publisher and CEO of The News , said his father was motivated partly by a keen sense of duty to the founders of the company, particularly his grandfather.
WFAA-TV remembers James M. Moroney Jr.
Mr. Dealey "made a real impression on him, as he did so many people," Mr. Moroney III said. "My dad always felt a duty, a responsibility, to serve the company in the legacy of G.B. Dealey. His sense of dedication and loyalty to the company is what really distinguishes his relationship to the company.
"He loved the newspaper business, and he loved the TV business – he really did," Mr. Moroney III said. "And he liked people."
Mr. Moroney was a major supporter of the religious and civic activities of the Catholic Church. Some of those contributions were quite public, if only because they were so hard to miss.
Mr. Moroney and his wife made a gift to complete the bell tower of the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas. A lack of money had forced the cathedral to go without a bell tower for more than 100 years until 2005.
But often, friends said, Mr. Moroney contributed quietly, behind the scenes.
Ed Schaffler, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Foundation, said he had never known Mr. Moroney to reject a request, whether for financial help or leadership.
"Jim has been one of these philanthropists who has been very visible in some of the things he's done and in some of the things he's supported," Mr. Schaffler said. "But he's also one of these guys who doesn't tell you everything he does. ... He's done a lot of things that he just keeps private."
Mr. Moroney was an active member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Dallas for more than 50 years.
"Jim was always a little bit more noble than the rest of us," said Harry "Buzz" Crutcher, a longtime friend of the Moroneys. "He always did the right thing.
"You couldn't find a person who lived his faith any more true and consistently than Jim. He was just a great example of a Christian."
Mr. Moroney was a Knight of the Holy Sepulcher and a Knight of the Order of Malta. He served as president of Catholic Charities and was a director and founder of Cistercian Preparatory School in Irving, the Jesuit School (now Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas), the Catholic Foundation, the Montserrat Retreat House and the National Conference of Catholic Charities.
|Moroney remembered for service to parish, family, Belo|
Mass celebrates life of a gentle man: 'Two words, not one'
08:50 PM CST on Friday, February 23, 2007
By ALAN PEPPARD / The Dallas Morning News
James M. Moroney Jr. amassed a list of monumental achievements over his long career in the family's newspaper and broadcast business, but he never allowed that record to overshadow his humility and sense of duty to family, church and city.
Friday morning, a funeral Mass was celebrated for Mr. Moroney at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, the Oak Lawn parish where the retired Dallas Morning News and Belo Corp. executive and his wife, Lynn, were members for more than 50 years.
The Rev. John Cawley, pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, prepared Communion during the funeral Mass for retired Belo executive James M. Moroney Jr. on Friday.
The last surviving grandson of George Bannerman Dealey, who founded The Dallas Morning News in 1885, Mr. Moroney died Sunday at age 85.
Belo "was the center of his life, but always second to his family and his church," said Robert Decherd, who succeeded Mr. Moroney as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Belo, parent company of The News.
"Jim and Lynn Moroney were a cornerstone of this parish," said the Rev. John Cawley, pastor of Holy Trinity, a 100-year-old church that has seen its neighborhood rise, decline and rise again. "Decade after decade after decade, Sunday after Sunday, he joined us for the Eucharist. Jim and Lynn Moroney remained in this parish when others fled."
Mr. Moroney also lived out his faith by supporting many institutions across the Dallas area. He was president of Catholic Charities and was a director and founder of Cistercian Preparatory School in Irving, the Jesuit School (now Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas) and the Catholic Foundation, among other organizations. He also was chairman of the board of trustees at the University of Dallas for many years.
At Friday's service, several church rows were reserved for members of the Catholic orders to which Mr. Moroney belonged, including the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher and the Knights of Malta. They followed the casket into the sanctuary.
Mass celebrants included Dallas Bishop Charles V. Grahmann; Monsignor Milam Joseph, former president of the University of Dallas; and the Rev. Denis Farkasfalvy, abbot of the Cistercian Abbey.
Journalist and family friend Kirk Dooley described the Moroney family home in Highland Park as a place where kids were always welcome, where the conversation was often boisterous and the fellowship inspirational.
"Mr. and Mrs. Mo created a friendly environment by creating four friendly kids," Mr. Dooley said. "And Mr. Mo's love for Lynn was so deep, his love was so strong, it rubbed off on all of us around him."
Before Mr. Moroney could marry Helen Claire "Lynn" Wilhoit, however, he first had to win her away from her then-fiancé, bandleader Ted Phillips. Mr. Dooley told a story familiar in family circles.
Mr. Moroney asked his father, Belo executive James McQueen Moroney, to advise him. The senior Moroney reportedly said: "You're not getting any younger, and you're not getting any better looking. Go get her."
After serving in the Navy during World War II, Mr. Moroney joined The News full time in 1946, the year Mr. Dealey died. Mr. Moroney shepherded the family company into a multi-platform, publicly traded media company.
In 1983, he oversaw Belo's $606 million purchase of Corinthian Broadcasting Group, the largest transaction in U.S. broadcast history at the time. Mr. Decherd said he phoned Mr. Moroney at his hotel in New York to report that the deal was done and the contracts ready.
"With his typical enthusiasm, Jimmy said, 'That's great. I've been cooped up in this room for three days practicing my signature,' " Mr. Decherd said.
When Ward Huey first met Mr. Moroney, he was a cameraman at Belo-owned WFAA-TV in Dallas. One day in the newsroom, Mr. Huey and his co-workers were told Mr. Moroney would be coming to the studio the following day.
According to Mr. Huey, "The boss said, 'I want you to try as hard as you can, even if it's for the first time, to look industrious. If you meet him, you'll like him. But then, think of the other side of the coin: Will Jim Moroney like you?' "
Mr. Huey joked that that last admonition "made for a relaxing evening." In the years that followed, the two became good friends, and Mr. Huey eventually succeeded Mr. Moroney as president of Belo's broadcast division.
To those who knew and loved him best, though, Mr. Moroney's career achievements were peripheral to the core of a devoutly religious man who once considered a career in the priesthood, a man devoted to his wife, his two daughters and his two sons.
"I would describe Jimmy Moroney in two words: 'gentle man,' " Father Cawley said. "Two words, not one."
Father Cawley said that many times after leaving the parish, he would drive through Highland Park, taking Armstrong Parkway north where it approaches the house the Moroneys shared for 47 years.
Countless times, he recalled, "I'd see Jimmy walking with Lynn, hand in hand."