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Dexter Eure, 91, fought for inclusion in media

Brian Wright O’Connor | 7/23/2015, 6 a.m.
Dexter Dillard Eure Sr., a longtime Boston Globe executive who fiercely advocated for greater integration of newsrooms, died July 2 ...
Former Boston Globe Community Relations Director Dexter Eure advocated for inclusion inside the newsroom and on the broadsheet’s pages. Photo by Don West

Dexter Dillard Eure Sr., a longtime Boston Globe executive who fiercely advocated for greater integration of newsrooms, died July 2 of complications from dementia. He was 91.

During a July 10 funeral service at the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury, Eure was remembered as an outspoken champion for increasing the ranks of people of color in editorial and executive suites and making reporting more accurately reflect communities little understood or covered by the mainstream media.

Carmen Fields, a well-known former print and broadcast journalist, said in her eulogy that Eure used his position as a director of community relations at the Globe to castigate and cajole colleagues into changing not just the complexion of those reporting the news but their mindset as well.

Recalling his unique style, Fields said Eure’s familiar gap-toothed smile came at times with a bark and a bite, demanding, in earthy utterances, both action and accountability from those he expected to embrace social justice.

“Over and over he recalled scenes of demonstrations or the sixties riots all over the country. He quoted the Kerner Commission report on the effects of media that illustrated how the lack of diversity and balanced reporting about African Americans affected the nation. We were taught our obligation to take that charge seriously. And how could we do so effectively if we had no connection or knowledge of the people, our institutions, our issues and our communities at our best and worst,” said Fields.

Shortly after riots swept urban communities in the wake of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968, Boston Globe editor Tom Winship handed Eure a column to add an alternate voice to the paper’s coverage. Both in the column and in his community relations role, which he assumed in 1971, Eure pushed for greater hiring of black, Asian and Latino reporters and served as the paper’s link to Boston’s growing ethnic communities.

Philip Eure, an attorney serving as inspector general of the New York City Police Department, said many of the issues his father pushed in his column are still relevant today.

“He was talking about racial injustice, the underrepresentation of minorities in positions of power and tensions with the police. He wasn’t afraid to call out his own employer. He even took liberals in Newton to task over housing issues. He held everyone’s feet to the fire,” he said.

Eure, an only child born in Suffolk, Va., never knew his father, and his mother died when he was 12. Dividing his youth between family members in Suffolk and Philadelphia, he graduated from high school in the City of Brotherly Love and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia State College.

After a short stint working in store advertising at Macy’s in New York City, Eure moved to Boston to work at Stop & Shop. Drafted during the Korean War, he was stationed at Fort Hood in Texas, where he met his future wife, Marjorie Ann Lowe. They moved to Sharon, Mass., where they raised their three sons.

Eure joined the Globe’s circulation department in 1963 after working as a commercial artist and running his own advertising business. He retired from the paper in 1988 but retained a seat on the board of the Boston Globe Foundation.

“My father had a passion for life and social justice and that was very apparent in discussions about politics and current events,” said Philip Eure. “He brought home six daily papers a day. That was a big part of our lives growing up.”

Eure is survived by his former wife and three sons: Dexter Jr., a customer relations executive with Delta Airlines who lives in Sharon; David, a professional musician living in Natick; and Philip. He also is survived by two grandsons.

Interment was in Mount Hope Cemetery.