- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 28, 2005

Paul Rhodes Mattix III, night news editor of the Baltimore Sun, died Aug. 22 at Johns Hopkins Hospital from complications of lymphoma, according to the newspaper. He was 53.

Mr. Mattix was born and raised in Bethesda and graduated in 1969 from Walter Johnson High School. He studied at the University of Maryland, earning his first bachelor’s degree in English in 1973 and a second in journalism in 1976.

Mr. Mattix got his start in newspapers in 1977 in layout and copy editing at the Charleston (S.C.) Evening Post. He later worked at the Annapolis Capital and the News American of Baltimore before joining the Sun in 1981 as a news-page designer. He held various editing positions at the newspaper before he was promoted to chief of the features copy desk in 1992, deputy chief of the news copy desk in 1996 and night news editor two years later.

“Reporters, editors, headline writers, photographers, designers all came to Paul for guidance,” said Sandra A. Banisky, the Sun’s deputy managing editor for news. “He was one of the last editors to sign off on the paper before it went to press. It is an enormous responsibility that he took very seriously. He was the combination of brilliance and integrity and fun that newspaper people love.”

Mr. Mattix stayed calm even under deadline pressure and had a quick wit and infectious laugh, said Mark B. Fleming, a longtime friend and co-worker.

“He always managed to ease your discomfort or worries with his self-deprecating humor,” Mr. Fleming said.

Mr. Mattix kept a mayonnaise jar filled with moonshine in his desk to honor old-time reporters who kept a bottle of bourbon or scotch in their desks. When his colleagues learned of his death, they took a sip and toasted his memory.

He is survived by a son, Zachary P. Mattix, of Charleston, S.C.; a daughter, Hannah C. Mattix, of Baltimore; and his companion, Mary J. Corey of Baltimore, the newspaper’s assistant managing editor for features.

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