Barbara Greenspun has died




Barbara Greenspun with her beloved, Hank

(Photo courtesy of the Las Vegas Sun)

She was instrumental figure in the post-war history of Las Vegas.  The wife of the Las Vegas publisher, Hank Greenspun, Barbara Greenspun held her own and helped shape the Las Vegas of today.  She was born in London and grew up in Ireland.  She met Hank at a wedding in 1944 and married him shortly after that.  They came to Las Vegas in 1946.

They started the Las Vegas Sun, built Green Valley, the first master-planned community in Southern Nevada, and when Hank died, Barbara took over as publisher of the paper.

She was known as an elegant lady, opinionated and, most of all, dedicated to causes that were dear to her heart.

She will truly be missed.

From our pal, Johnny Katz, at the Las Vegas Sun:

Even if you didn’t know who she was, exactly, you knew she was someone. There was an air about Barbara Greenspun that made it clear she was a person of high caliber.

You could feel it. She was prim and dignified, even regal. If there could be true royalty in Las Vegas, she was that, elegant and smart and stylish. She seemed from another time and place, when people of her stature would not be seen in public at less than their very best.

I was made aware of this quality when I first started at the Sun in 1998, in what some of us call the “old building” on Valley View Boulevard (though it was not the oldest building in Sun history, by a long shot). One morning I happened upon Barbara Greenspun at the staff coffee machine, of all places.

I introduced myself, telling her I was new to the company, glad to be part of the team, that sort of thing.

She nodded, and noted that she understood I’d come over from the R-J. This is true, I said.

“We won’t hold it against you,” she said, with a hint of a grin.

I remember laughing at that, too loudly to be genuine. It was a forced guffaw from a new employee to a joke made by the founding family’s matriarch. And then I thought that every time Barbara Greenspun would see me in the office, she’d remember two things about me: That I’d worked for the competition, and that I could be counted on to laugh too loudly at her witticisms. I thought, half-joking, that the company handbook should include a protocol entry of how to act when you meet Barbara Greenspun.

A couple of years later, I was promoted to the editor of the Accent section, a huge honor, and headed up the Sun’s A&E and lifestyle coverage. In that role I worked with two of my favorite people for several years: Former Sun food editor Muriel Stevens, and the late Ruthe Deskin, who wrote a weekly column called Back and Forth for Accent almost until the day she died.