Former Eagle-Gazette editor Jim Sabin remembered

CANAL WINCHESTER – Everyone who knew Jim Sabin speaks about the strength of his heart. He was a man who cared about his family, his co-workers, his community and now he is being remembered by all those he touched in life.

The former Lancaster Eagle-Gazette managing editor and the media relations manager for Ohio University passed away Friday night after battling cancer.

Sabin's widow, Lucy, said she has been struck this week by how much of an impact Sabin had on so many people's lives.

"He was truly an amazing man who approached his battle with cancer the same way he approached everything thing else − with dignity, grace and a lot of humor," she said.

Jim Sabin
Jim Sabin

Lucy Sabin said while she misses her husband already, she is glad he is now at peace.

Before being named the managing editor of the Eagle-Gazette, Sabin was the local news editor at the Newark Advocate.

“Jim’s loss is weighing heavily on his former colleagues who deeply respected his work, professionalism and dedication to his family. He was an outstanding journalist. I had the privilege to hire, promote and work with him for several years. I’ll always remember his optimism, which was always evident in his updates during his battle with cancer," said Michael Shearer, former executive editor at the Newark Advocate and current editor of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Eagle-Gazette reporter Jeff Barron started working for Sabin in 2010 on a freelance basis before Sabin hired him full-time the following year.

"There is no doubt Jim was a great editor," Barron said. "He knew the business well and I respected him and admired him for that. But he was also a great teacher like all good editors are. As a veteran reporter, I wasn't sure what I could learn from Jim. But I was wrong. I learned a lot from him. Jim also firmly backed me up on two occasions when people came at me for things I had written. I most appreciated that.

"But more than anything, Jim was a good friend. I'll never forget in April when we saw his beloved Shinedown in concert. We had a great time, but there was a deep sadness, also, because we knew what Jim's eventual fate may be. That fate came to pass and I'm deeply saddened by the loss of a great friend. Just so thankful I got to see him one last time the day before he died."

Eagle-Gazette sports writer Tom Wilson worked with Sabin at the Newark Advocate in 2007 before working for him at the Eagle-Gazette beginning in 2013.

"When I think of Jim, I think of a true newsman," Wilson said. "He was a great editor in that he held you accountable and he truly cared about the product we were producing as a newspaper. He always had his employees' backs at all times, and that was greatly appreciated. While Jim was an outstanding editor, he was also compassionate, and his office door was always open.

"He and I had several personal talks, and it was nice to know that I could go to him with personal things. I know he loved baseball, and he always talked about his wife, Lucy, and sons, Christopher and Alex. They were his pride and joy. I am so glad I was able to spend a little time with Jim last week before his passing, He will be truly missed."

Fairfield County Economic Development Director Rick Szabrak is a former Eagle-Gazette publisher and was Sabin's supervisor for several years. He said Sabin left a great impact during his short time on earth.

"Jim was the consummate coach," Szabrak said. "He was a team player through and through. He was a coach for all his employees, all of the staff. For him, their success was what mattered to him. As a small newspaper, we would see people come through and get trained and move out. Jim never stood in their way. He knew that his role was to help make them better. And I think a whole lot of people were better off for having worked for him."

Szabrak said Sabin cared about the communities of Lancaster and Fairfield County.

"He knew the importance the role a newspaper filled trying to not just be a watchdog to the community, but help lift up a community," he said. "Of all the papers and editors I worked with, the Eagle-Gazette and Jim were one of the best in doing that. And making sure that we weren't just reporting on the community, but that we were truly a part of it."

Calling hours for Sabin will be from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Dwayne R. Spence Funeral Home in Canal Winchester with a 2 p.m. funeral service.

A fundraiser has been set up at for his family.

This article originally appeared on Lancaster Eagle-Gazette: Former Eagle-Gazette editor Jim Sabin remembered