Dwayne McClellan, who wrote news and sports for The Salem News spanning four decades, died Monday at Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis.
McClellan, 57, took a job as editor of the newspaper in June of 1984, writing news and feature stories and covering Salem Tiger sports. He worked full-time until 2012 when he started kidney dialysis and then worked part-time for about two more years. In September of 2014 as his health continued to deteriorate, he retired due to medical reasons.
“Dwayne is a legend in Salem,” said Donald Dodd, owner and publisher of The Salem News. “When you are a writer at a small-town newspaper, everyone knows you because you took their picture, put their name in the paper and wrote about their lives. Dwayne not only did that, but loved it and did so with a passion. Nothing made him happier than to bump into a former Tiger or Lady Tiger and have them tell him how much they appreciate what he did. He literally chronicled their lives. There is no telling how many copies of his stories are in scrapbooks, providing memories for a lifetime.”
McClellan teamed with former reporter Brenda Jessen for most of the 30 years he was at The Salem News, as the two combined to give the newspaper one of the best reporting staffs at any small-town newspaper in Missouri, winning numerous statewide Missouri Press Association awards for writing.
“We were extremely lucky to have two veteran, skilled writers for such a long duration,” Dodd said. “They not only complemented each other well, but they worked well together and had quite a working relationship.”
McClellan is survived by his wife, Cathy. Funeral arrangements are pending and under the direction of Wilson Mortuary.
“I have never managed a more dedicated, willing reporter in my career,” Dodd said. “No one loved being a part of a newspaper more. His nickname was Scoop, and he just loved that. Dwayne was always available, always on the job and well respected by the people he covered and those who read our paper.”
McClellan was particularly fond of covering sports, and did so for the entire 30 years he worked at The Salem News. Highlights included coverage of a Final Four appearance for volleyball in the 1990s and a string of great football teams in the late ‘90s and early 2000s that played for state championships.