HARTFORD -- William R. Hales, the founder and longtime publisher of the Hartford Inquirer, died Wednesday, the Hartford Courant reported.
He was 73.
Mr. Hales, who founded the Hartford Inquirer in 1975, was credited by community leaders and residents with providing an outlet for blacks' perspectives on local issues. He also helped create the Waterbury Inquirer.
"Mr. Hales had the same impact in Hartford that Jet magazine did nationally," former Hartford City Councilman Steve Harris said. "We had a voice that people would hear all over the state."
Raised on a farm in Girard, Ga., Mr. Hales came to Hartford in the 1950s and opened a coin-operated laundry and electronics business on Albany Avenue before moving on to real estate and later launching the Inquirer.
Friends and colleagues say he was passionate about Hartford and cared deeply about city issues and residents.
"His newspaper articles reflected that," former Hartford mayor Thirman Milner said.
When the paper marked its 30th anniversary in 2005, Mr. Hales passed the publisher's duties on to his son but stayed involved. With his health failing, Mr. Hales published the last issue of the Inquirer on May 30, 2006.
His son, Reggie Hales, launched Inquiring News in June 2006 in hopes of carrying on his father's mission.