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Ellery McClatchy, at 86; newspaper heir, croquet star

Associated Press / September 23, 2011

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POPE VALLEY, Calif. - William Ellery McClatchy, who for years sat on the board of his family’s newspaper business and was a Hall of Fame croquet player, died Tuesday. He was 86.

Mr. McClatchy’s niece, Adair McClatchy, said her uncle, who went by Ellery, died of natural causes at his home in Pope Valley in Northern California.

The McClatchy family started its newspaper business, which includes the Sacramento Bee and the Miami Herald, in 1857 after Ellery McClatchy’s great-grandfather moved to California during the Gold Rush.

Ellery McClatchy, the middle of three brothers who inherited and helped expand the company, served as a board member and officer for 24 years.

Mr. McClatchy was a nationally ranked croquet player for many years, and in 1995 was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.

Mr. McClatchy was a great proponent of croquet and had a “desire to make croquet available to people of all ages and to see croquet lawns in a great variety of places,’’ according to a profile of Mr. McClatchy on the US Croquet Association website.

Mr. McClatchy never married or had children.