Paul Akers, long-time editorial page editor of the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, passed away Friday evening in Richmond's VCU Medical Center of complications from cardiac surgery.
Akers, 63, was known and respected throughout the Virginia journalism community for a straightforward, candid writing style, an appreciation of the importance of giving everybody a voice, and a deep love for America.
He served in the U.S. Marines during the Vietnam war. He joined the Free Lance-Star as editorial page editor in 1998. His editorials upheld a conservative perspective, but he never hesitated to publish dissenting letters to the editor in a prominent place on the editorial page.
“For the past three months, Paul came to work carrying a pump that kept his heart beating. Nothing could keep him from the work he loved,” said Nick Cadwallender, publisher of The Free Lance–Star, in the newspaper's announcement of Akers' passing.
“We will miss his brilliant writing, his passion for well-reasoned argument, and his respect and graciousness toward those with whom he disagreed. We will miss his quiet, self-deprecating good humor. His death leaves a giant hole in the heart of this newspaper.”