By DAVID TYLER and TAMI ZIMMERMAN
Stewart F. Hancock III, 58, who led the creation of Eagle Newspapers, the parent company to Spotlight Newspapers, in 1992, died at his home on Jan. 15.
Mr. Hancock, of Salt Springs Road, Fayetteville, Onondaga County, was born in Syracuse, the son of Judge Stewart F. Hancock Jr. and Ruth Pass Hancock.
A graduate of Deerfield Academy, he attended Colgate University. He was an active participant in the Central New York business and political community for his entire life. He was a newspaperman, a husband and the father of five children.
Mr. Hancock began his newspaper career as a summer intern at the Syracuse Herald-Journal in the mid-1960s and then worked as a reporter at the Brattleboro Reformer in Vermont. After working as an advertising executive in the Syracuse area, he became publisher of Manlius Publishing Corporation in 1986. In 1992, Mr. Hancock led the successful merger of the Baldwinsville-based Brown Newspapers and Manlius Publishing to form Eagle Newspapers, which continued to grow during his 11-year tenure as publisher. The company now has 14 weeklies in the Syracuse area and 12 weeklies in the Albany market. Under Mr. Hancock's leadership, the company won dozens of New York Press Association awards.
Stew was a very intelligent, energetic and dynamic individual with an unrivaled knowledge of political spheres and the publishing world, said Richard Keene, president and CEO of Eagle Newspapers, who worked alongside Mr. Hancock for nearly two decades. "He was a friend and a mentor and will be missed."
Those in the Eagle Newspapers family will remember him as the ultimate ideas man. Most days, he could be found behind his large wooden desk in a tattered golf shirt, old V-neck sweater and Eagle Newspapers baseball cap, poring over both the Eagle papers and dozens of other local publications, searching for news and advertising ideas for his company to pursue.