Retired Headlight editor, manager dies: Prentiss leader remembered as dedicated, devoted

Published 10:13 am Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Patsy Speights, the longtime editor and general manager of The Prentiss Headlight in Jefferson Davis County, died at her home Tuesday evening following a lengthy illness.

She is survived by a husband and three daughters.

Speights was a past president of the Mississippi Press Association, and was respected statewide for her unflinching commitment to news. untitled

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When she retired in 2012, former Daily Leader owner Bill Jacobs wrote: “She was epitome of the Norman Rockwell painting of a small town newspaper editor. She did it all: covered meetings, wrote news stories, sold advertising, laid out the pages and made sure the papers made it to the post office each week on time.”

Jim Prince, past president of MPA, worked with Speights at the association.

“Patsy Speights embodied what it is to be a community newspaper editor,” Prince said. “She reported the good news and the bad. Mostly, she kept the public officials in her sphere of influence accountable by telling the truth unflinchingly, and in doing so gained the respect of her community early on in her ‘second career,’ even among those she made uncomfortable with her special way of being so direct with words. She led our association well during her tenure as president, especially on postal matters, and was a source of knowledge, strength and encouragement to us all. She was a true friend and I will miss her.”

Speights’ commitment to reporting the good and bad — and stepping on a few toes along the way — was well-known.

“While she gained the respect of the local community, she also gained the respect of her newspaper peers on a state and national basis,” Jacobs wrote. “In political circles, she also gained the respect of governors as well as congressmen and senators. To each of them — peers and politicians — she is known simply as Patsy. No need for her last name, for speaking about Patsy can mean only one person — Patsy Speights, editor of The Prentiss Headlight.”

Services for Speights will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Saulters-Moore Funeral Home in Prentiss.

The Prentiss Headlight is owned by Brookhaven Newsmedia, which also owns The Daily Leader.