Obit – David Lipman

David Lipman, who was managing editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 14 of his 36 years at the newspaper, died today following an illness. He was 77 and had lived in Chesterfield.

Mr. Lipman joined the Post-Dispatch in 1960 as a sportswriter and covered Missouri Tiger athletics before he was promoted to assistant sports editor in 1966. He rose through the ranks and, in 1979, was appointed managing editor, which put him in overall supervision of the newspaper’s daily report.

He ran the newsroom until 1992, when he was promoted to a corporate planning post for the Pulitzer Publishing Co., then owner of the Post-Dispatch. Mr. Lipman was in charge of Pulitzer/2000, an effort to plan the newspaper’s direction in the Internet age, until he retired in 1996.

Mr. Lipman also was author and co-author of seven sports books, including biographies of baseball players LeRoy “Satchel” Paige and Ken Boyer, football quarterbacks Jim Hart and Joe Namath, and baseball manager/executive Branch Rickey.

In 1971, when he was one of the news editors, a junior-management post, it fell to Mr. Lipman to decide whether to publish some of the Pentagon Papers, a secret chronicle of government documents on the Vietnam War. Senior editors weren’t in town. Mr. Lipman decided to run them, but he called it “an emotional experience. I aged considerably in one day.”

The consequences included the arrival of a federal marshal in a government effort to stop publication. Of whether to run them, he said, “There was no question.” Joseph Pulitzer Jr., then Post-Dispatch publisher and pleased by Mr. Lipman’s decision, soon promoted him to assistant managing editor.

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Funeral arrangements are pending.

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