Former news executive dies at 76

Former Evening Post Publishing Co. executive Ernie Adams died at home Tuesday.

Ernie Adams, a former Post and Courier executive who helped lead the newspaper online in the 1990s, died at home Tuesday.

He was 76 and had battled esophageal and stomach cancer for several months.

Adams, a former Marine sergeant, started with Evening Post Publishing Co. as a classified advertising salesman in 1963. He was promoted to classified advertising manager, followed by advertising director and then business manager.

He was advertising director and then business manager of the Aiken Standard when the company acquired that newspaper. Next he was general manager of The Daily Banner, a subsidiary newspaper in Cambridge, Md., and then general manager and president of The News Virginian in Waynesboro, Va.

He returned to Charleston in 1980 as director of sales and marketing. He was later named president of a holding company for all the subsidiary papers in the Carolinas. He also headed up the team that brought the newspaper online with charleston.net and then postandcourier.com.

Adams took early retirement in 1999. His interests included flying, photography, golf and coin collecting.

A colleague remembered him as a mixture of humanity and toughness.

“Ernie mentored thousands of us,” said Cathy Wilkerson, former president of Evening Post Publishing’s newspaper division, who worked with Adams when she was publisher of the subsidiary newspaper in Salisbury, N.C.

“He was this wonderful mixture of being very humane and very kind and tenderhearted, and he was a really tough taskmaster, but I don’t think he enjoyed that part of it,” she said. “I could always go to Ernie and tell him what was in my heart.”

Adams had a national reputation in the industry. He was past president and honorary life member of the Mid-Atlantic Newspaper and Marketing Executives, past state vice president of the International Newspaper and Marketing Executives, and an active member of the state press associations in South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

He was on the advisory boards of the United Way, Salvation Army, Red Cross and Chamber of Commerce in various cities.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Nina; their two children, Bryan Adams of Gainesville, Fla., and Matthew Adams of Charleston; and two children from a previous marriage, Kendall Adams and Paige Childs, both of Greenwood.

Stuhr’s Downtown Chapel is handling the funeral arrangements.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.