Oldham, Darrell (1937-2002)

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 8/27/2005
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 7450
Darrell R. Oldham helped to organize Seattle's original alternative newspaper, The Weekly (now Seattle Weekly), in 1976 and guided its advertising and marketing program for eight years. He also helped to found the national Association of Alternative Newsweeklies in 1978 and Seattle's Northwest Bookfest in 1995.

Darrell Oldham was born in Pullman, Washington, on November 22, 1937. He attended Washington State University and took a bachelor’s degree in communications from San Jose State College. He worked a variety of jobs before moving to Denver, where he co-founded Ski Racing magazine and the Mountain Gazette.

After meeting journalist and publisher David Brewster in Seattle, he enlisted on the original staff of The Weekly, whose first edition hit the streets March 31, 1976, and which remains the region’s largest weekly newspaper. Oldham remained with the paper until 1986, and later joined the marketing staff at The Seattle Times. He retired after a decade to develop his own media consultancy.

Darrell R. Oldham died of lung cancer on February 16, 2002, in Seattle. He was 64 years old. Hundreds attended his memorial service at St. Marks Cathedral in Seattle.

In remarks made at the service, Steve McNamara, editor and publisher of Pacific Sun, said: "Darrell loved the business and was very good at it. But more than that he was a kind, ethical and loving human being. He was short on ego, long on generous spirit. As an industry we could not have been called to order by a better exemplar” ("Hundreds Attend...").

Sources: Angela Lo, “Darrell Oldham, Leader in Local Publishing,” The Seattle Times, February 18, 2002, p. B-6; "Hundreds Attend Memorial Service for AAN Founder," February 26, 2002, Association of Alternative Newspapers website accessed on August 25, 2005 (http://aan.org/gyrobase/Aan/ViewArticle?oid=oid%3A7294).
Note: This essay was expanded on August 26, 2005.

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