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Athens Newspaper Plaza Dedicated to Honor Production Director

Athens Newspaper Plaza Dedicated to Honor Production Director

Gary Cleveland

Gary Cleveland, former production director of the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald, loved his family, his friends and co-workers at the newspaper - and barbecue.

About 150 family members, friends and colleagues gathered in November to dedicate the Gary Cleveland Memorial Plaza at the front of the News Building and later shared memories of Cleveland during a barbecue lunch.

Cleveland worked hard to maintain the building where he worked as production director since 1980, said Jeff Wilson, a former publisher for the Banner-Herald.

"This building meant the world to Gary," Wilson said.

Cleveland managed all responsiblities of newspaper production for close to three decades until his death from cancer in 2009.

Will Morris, CEO of Morris Publishing Group, served as the Banner-Herald's publisher in the early '90s and had the chance to learn tips of the newspaper trade from Cleveland.

"I think it's a great tribute to him," Morris said of the dedicated plaza.

Pressroom Superintendent Eugene Poole also wrote a poem in honor of Cleveland. Cleveland encouraged him to write poetry and helped make him comfortable with reciting it in front of other people, Poole said.

"He brought all that out," Poole said.

Brenda Cleveland, Gary's wife, was touched by the outpouring of affection for her husband and family.