Richard McCuen, 80, of Flourtown, former president of the InterCounty Newspaper Group in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, died Monday, April 28, of prostate cancer at Keystone Hospice, Wyndmoor.
Before retiring in 1993, Mr. McCuen spent 38 years in community journalism. For the previous 25 years, he published weekly newspapers covering 54 communities with a paid circulation of 60,000 and free distribution of 40,000.
The papers served Philadelphia, Bucks, and Montgomery Counties in Pennsylvania, and Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties in New Jersey.
As publisher, Mr. McCuen was a proponent of community reporting. In 1982, he told the New York Times how a decision he made to print the names of those arrested for crimes created a firestorm of anger in the coverage area of the weekly Roxborough Review.
Immediately, threats started coming in from the families of suspects, from advertisers, and from community groups worried about the neighborhood's reputation, the Times wrote.
But the Review stood firm, explaining its decision in a front-page editorial, and the storm abated, Mr. McCuen said in the story.
A victim of changing reading habits and declining economics, the newspaper chain was sold in November 1997 to Journal Register Co. for $12.8 million in cash. By that time, it consisted of 17 publications, although in Mr. McCuen's time, there were 28, his family said.
After retiring in 1993, Mr. McCuen turned his attention to writing op-ed pieces; a column for the Springfield Sun, owned by Montgomery Newspapers; and stories about golf. He also served as a publicity agent.
A community volunteer, he was a board member of the Roxborough YMCA, secretary-treasurer of the Roxborough Business Association, and district representative for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers Association, and was active on the Governor's Small Business Council.
He was a member of the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club.
Mr. McCuen was the eldest of nine children born to a family that had lived for many years in Barren Hill and Spring Mill, near Conshohocken. He graduated from Springfield High School in Montgomery County, and went on to study horticulture at Pennsylvania State University.
He married and divorced Barbara Savidge and Virginia Merlo. He fathered six children.
"He was dedicated to the care of his family, and the support of his community," his family said. When he said he'd do something, he always did it, they said.
Surviving are sons Richard, Rodd, Michael and Matthew; daughters Beth Tiewater and Melissa Caneda; 11 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and five sisters. Barbara Savidge died earlier, but Virginia Merlo survives.
A life celebration is planned for 7 p.m. Monday, May 5, at Lownes Funeral Home, 659 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill. Burial is private.