Ernest A. Pontius, 84, retired advertising director for the Journal-World and a former director and president of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, died Thursday afternoon at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Lawrence Presbyterian Manor Chapel.
Arrangements are being handled by the Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence. A complete obituary appears on page 9A of today's Journal-World.
Dolph Simons Jr., editor and publisher of the Journal-World, today praised Pontius for his work in behalf of the newspaper and the city.
"No company could have a finer, more loyal employee and associate than Ernie Pontius,'' Simons said. "He was highly respected in the community, he was a man of integrity and he was involved in numerous civic activities. He was a very effective spokesperson for the city, and the newspaper business needs more people like Ernie Pontius. In addition to being a fine business associate, Ernie was also a close personal friend of my father and myself.''
Pontius also was remembered today as one of the people who helped direct Lawrence's progress through his work with the chamber during the early 1950s.
E.R. Zook, a former chamber of commerce manager, said Pontius helped change many people's opinions about encouraging more industry to come to Lawrence.
"He was one of the kind of guys that wanted things to progress," Zook said. "He was a helper . . . He enjoyed people. He made people feel good about things. He was just a good guy. Everybody would laugh with him. "
Jim Owens, a retired florist who was Lawrence mayor in 1963-64, and also served as president of the local school board and president of the chamber, said he remembered Pontius as always welcoming new people to the city.
"When young people moved to Lawrence, he always called on them," Owens said. "He was a friend to everyone. He always had a smile. I never saw him down. . . . I worked with him in many civic things and always found him doing more than his share."
Bill Mayer, former Journal-World executive editor, said he remembered Pontius as a person with a tremendous range of abilities and a great sense of humor.
"He could go into a lot of tense situations and keep them pleasant and viable,'' Mayer said. ``He was an outstanding salesman. Above his tremendous sense of humor was his sense of loyalty. Any time you had Ernie for a friend, he was a friend forever."