Former Record Gazette editor James Edward Vowell, 76, passed away on Sunday, May 5, 2019 after a long struggle with frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), a rare form of dementia.
He was under hospice care for some time at a facility near his home in Yucaipa.
James was born Jan. 4, 1943.
A veteran newspaper executive, James began his journalism career in Texas, where he worked for several newspapers as a copy and news editor. He was hired by the Los Angeles Times in 1972 to work on the paper’s national copy desk. A year later he was promoted to assistant managing editor of The Times’ respected Opinion section.
After a brief stint as the assistant managing editor at the Miami Herald, Vowell returned to Los Angeles in 1978, as the founding editor of the Reader, a weekly publication that offered a cache of alternative news stories and movie, play and concert reviews. The Reader had a rich lineup of writers that covered the Los Angeles arts scene.
Vowell and his wife Codette Wallace, who was the paper’s legal counsel, later purchased the Reader in 1989 from the Chicago Reader. Vowell and Wallace sold it to New Times, Inc. in 1996, which merged it with the Los Angeles View to form New Times L.A.
After moving to Yucaipa in 2002, Vowell went to work for the Highland Community News, a Century Group Newspaper, and later was hired as editor of the Record Gazette, one of the group’s Inland Empire publications. He also designed and edited the popular national legal newsletter Quarterly Prophets.
In his leisure time, Vowell was an avid golfer and skier, and was able to enjoy both sports while residing at his mountain cabin in Big Bear.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 40 years, Codette, and his brother Gene Vowell of Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
A memorial service is pending. In lieu of flowers, charitable donations can be made in Vowell’s name to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.