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Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame

Bob Dillard

Bob Dillard
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Bob Dillard

Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch

Hall of Fame Class of 2020

In 1961, Fort Worth Elks Lodge #124 named Bob Dillard “newspaper boy of the year.” He would later become known as the cornerstone of his community and his weekly newspaper, “the water cooler everybody gathered ‘round on Thursday mornings.”

A Tyler native, Bob Dillard moved with his family to Corpus Christi and then to Fort Worth. From there, he worked on the Eastern Hills High School student newspaper until he graduated in 1963. After graduation Dillard worked for T&P Railroad in Fort Worth and left after enrolling at Baylor University in Waco, where he worked as a plumber’s assistant.

Dillard continued his education at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he served as sports editor and later as managing editor of The Shorthorn. In 1973 Dillard met and married Christi Miles.

In 1976, after graduation from UT-Arlington, the Dillards bought a share of the Alpine Avalanche and settled in Fort Davis. Dillard operated and co-edited the Avalanche until 1990.

In 1982, the Dillards purchased the Big Bend Sentinel in Marfa and owned the newspaper for a decade. In 1983, the Dillards founded the Jeff Davis County News in Fort Davis and in 1993 changed the newspaper’s name to the Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch.

In 1995, the Dillards bought the Stanton News in Martin County and changed the newspaper’s name to the Martin County Messenger. In 1996, the Dillards founded the Greenwood Ranger, a newspaper serving a Midland suburban community.

While publishing five newspapers, Dillard served a term as county judge for Jeff Davis County. Beyond his love for the news, Dillard was a relentless advocate for the children of Fort Davis and other Far West Texas communities. He was active in 4-H and Future Farmers of America, making trips to New Mexico, Iowa, Kansas and other states to pick up show pigs and deliver them directly to families all over West Texas. He was often found on weekends and holidays barbecuing beef brisket for community events.

Dillard served on the Big Bend Livestock Association, the Jeff Davis County Livestock Association, the Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce and the Fort Davis Independent School District, Friends of Fort Davis National Historic Site and Friends of the Jeff Davis County Library. Dillard edited the Jeff County Mountain Dispatch and the Martin County Messenger until he died July 20, 2019, in a Lubbock hospital. He was 74.