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Alton ‘Bunky’ Baker Jr., owner led Oregon paper through 4 decades

In this 1975 phoAlt“Bunky” Baker Jr. stands The Register-Guard press room Eugene Ore. Baker former publisher newspaper died Sunday April

In this 1975 photo, Alton “Bunky” Baker Jr. stands in The Register-Guard press room in Eugene, Ore. Baker, a former publisher of the newspaper, died Sunday, April 27, 2014, at age 94. Baker was one of two brothers who led the family business through four decades after World War II. He retired in 1986, and his son, Alton “Tony” Baker III, is now the publisher. (AP Photo/The Register-Guard)

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Updated: June 1, 2014 6:43AM

EUGENE, Ore. — Alton “Bunky” Baker Jr., former publisher of the Eugene Register-Guard who guided the paper through four decades, has died at 94.

Family members said the cause of death was complications from pneumonia, the paper reported.

Mr. Baker joined the newspaper as a reporter in 1946, became managing editor in 1950 and publisher in 1961. He retired in 1986, and lived out his remaining years in Eugene.

He was the eldest child of Alton Baker Sr., who bought The Guard in 1927 and then The Register in 1930.

The newspaper is now operated by the Baker family’s third generation — publisher Alton “Tony” Baker III is Bunky Baker’s son. Some fourth-generation family members work at the business.

Bunky Baker and his brother, Edwin “Ted” Baker, led the paper as it expanded coverage and went through changes such as computerization, color photography and morning delivery.

They wouldn’t sell it, he said, despite offers from the likes of The New York Times and the Washington Post that he described in a 1999 interview for a family history.

“Every two weeks I’d get a letter from somebody when I was publisher and editor,” he said.

“I’d drop them in the wastebasket,” he said. “Why? We were doing fine, getting along fine, it was our paper. I didn’t want somebody running it from New York, Wisconsin or North Carolina or whatever.” AP

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