Wally Lage, vice president and chief operating officer of Rust Communications, died Thursday night, Aug. 19, in Maine, after slipping off a wharf. He was 66.
Lage was widely known in the newspaper industry. He also was very active in the community. Among many involvements, he was a longtime member of the Lions Club and the Saint Francis Medical Center board of directors. He served on boards of numerous newspaper organizations and was a member of the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame.
He served in the Army in the late 1960s and graduated with a master's degree from the University of Missouri. Lage joined Rust Communications in 1993.
Survivors include his wife Dori, four children and eight grandchildren.
Lage began his newspaper career in 1969 with Winsor Newspapers in Canton, Ill. By age 25, he was publisher of the Boonville (Mo.) Daily News and publisher of free publications in Jefferson City, Mo., and Columbia, Mo.
Before joining Rust Communications, Lage was president of newspaper operations in the Paxton Media Group and general manager of the Paducah (Ky.) Sun. He oversaw acquisitions of several daily and weekly newspapers.
At Rust Communications, he oversaw the acquisition or startup of about 50 newspaper titles in eight states, including 13 daily newspapers.
The Associated Press reported that emergency workers were alerted Thursday evening when Lage fell into the water and failed to surface. Deputies say Lage and friends were unloading a boat after an outing to Portland.
One of the witnesses jumped into the water but couldn't find him. Emergency workers performed CPR, but Lage was pronounced dead at Mid Coast Hospital.