West Valley newspaper publisher dies at 87

West Valley View's picture

 Ursula Freireich died July 9, 2013 at Hospice of the Valley's Ryan House after suffering a stroke the previous week.

Mrs. Freireich was born November 8, 1925 near Breslau Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland). The family left Germany in 1938 after Ursula's father was arrested and taken away, bound for a concentration camp. This occurred on Kristalnacht which was also the night before the family was to celebrate Ursula's 13th birthday. Stories vary as to how he came to return home but one of the guards knew her father as the country doctor for the area and released him. The family continued with emigration plans that had been initiated, moving first to Michigan and then on to Carlock, IL. She earned multiple degrees at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, her bachelor's being in liberal arts and her master's in education. The university is where she met her future husband Burt.

They moved to Arizona where he got a job at the Phoenix Gazette. She worked as a librarian for the county and also for the Phoenix Jewish News.

She was associate publisher of the Daily News-Sun. She and her husband bought the newspaper in July, 1960, and later converted it to weekly, twice-weekly and finally to a six-day daily before selling it to a subsidiary of Dow Jones, owner of the Wall St. Journal, in 1984. The paper was originally called the Youngtown News and Sun City Sun and had just converted to printing on newsprint from being a mimeographed sheet. Burt and Ursula were the entire staff in the early years. They wrote the newspaper using a portable typewriter set up on a card table in their living room. The circulation and classified advertising departments were on a desk in their bedroom. Each hour of the day was needed to produce the paper. Burt and Ursula took turns sleeping in shifts to be sure they didn't oversleep and miss the deadline for getting the paper to the printer.

She was vice president of the West Valley View newspaper. She was a member of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors and served on the board of directors of its foundation. She was named to the Maricopa County Commission on Trial Court Appointments in 2000. She served on the Agua Fria Foundation.

She served on several mental health boards. Among various volunteer jobs, she served two terms as president of the Sun City Information and Referral Service. She enjoyed reading and was a member of two book clubs. Ursula is survived by her husband, Burt; son, Elliott (Marquita); grandchildren, Rachael and Marissa; daughter, Debbie Kipp; and grandson, Jesse Kipp.

Funeral services are Friday July 12 at 10 a.m. at Sinai Mortuary, 4538 N. 16th St., Phoenix.

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