PINEVILLE - Randy Cline was an avid supporter of local newspapers and dedicated his life to community journalism, serving as owner/publisher of the Pineville Independent Herald for 32 years and the Gilbert Times for 15 years.
Cline (1933-2001) will be one of two weekly publishers inducted into the West Virginia Press Association Hall of Fame during the WVPA's annual convention at LakeView Resort in Morgantown on Saturday, Aug. 3.
Cline was born in Pineville on Aug. 8, 1931, and attended Glenville State College and graduated from King College, in Bristol, Tennessee. Cline started his career as a businessman, working for Delta Airlines, managing three terminals in large U.S. cities. He was also a traveling salesman for Pro-Shu golf shoes.
Cline later returned to Pineville, where he remained for the rest of his life.
Cline was known as an activist for his community and county as a member of the Larry Harless Community Center Foundation. His tireless efforts were responsible for making the community center a reality in Wyoming County.
Cline was also known for his weekly "Growin' Up" column, admired and well-liked around the area. Cline shared stories from his boyhood days in southern West Virginia. He earned the nickname the "Will Rogers of Wyoming County" for his quick wit and sense of humor.
Cline was elected to the House of Delegates and served as communications director for John D. Rockefeller IV. He also served as executive secretary of the West Virginia Press Association.
"The name Charles 'Randy' Cline has been synonymous with service to the community," Gov. Cecil Underwood said in tribute to Cline after his death. "Through his ownership and management of community-based newspapers in southern West Virginia, Mr. Cline has made a lasting contribution to his readership."
Every other year, member newspapers of the WVPA elect two members from a slate of four nominees presented by the Hall of Fame committee.
They are honored at the convention and with a display at the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University.
John C. Ailes (1913-1991) of the Hampshire Review is the other inductee.
John Andrew Grose (1864-1943) of the Braxton Democrat and Marg Hood (1931-2000) of the Piedmont Herald were the other nominees and will again be eligible for induction in 2023.
"All of the nominees this year received strong support from the membership," said Don Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Press Association and a member of the Hall of Fame Committee. "We are thrilled that John C. Ailes and Randy Cline will comprise the Class of 2019, but it's rewarding to know that nominees John Andrew Grose and Marg Hood also had support from the membership. All four were worthy of this honor."
Smith is joined on the Hall of Fame committee by Dean Diana Martinelli of the Reed School of Media at WVU, Ogden Nutting of Ogden Newspapers, Frank Wood, retired publisher at Beckley Newspapers and Phoebe Heishman of the Moorefield Examiner.