Head of Jewish newspaper in Texas dies at age 85

During his tenure, Wisch supported the civil rights changes that took root in Dallas, which had been a Ku Klux Klan town in the 1920s and 1930s.

He was also a dedicated Zionist in a city not known for its strong support of the state of Israel in its early years — and wasn't afraid to disagree vociferously with those who criticized Israel.

Indeed, say longtime friends, he wasn't shy about quarreling with those who didn't share his views — whether the subject was Israel or a change in the bylaws of the American Jewish Press Association, of which he was a past president.

"Even if people disagreed openly with him, he still held to his own opinion," said Miriam Goldberg, the publisher and editor of the Intermountain Jewish News in Denver.

His outspoken attitude occasionally got him into trouble with fellow AJPA members, and with the Dallas federation.

But beneath that temper was a man with a "good soul," said Marc Klein, the publisher and editor of the Jewish Bulletin.

Wisch, who served as AJPA president from 1969 to 1972, represented the Jewish press on President Nixon's historic visit to the Soviet Union in 1971.

Wisch was born in Brooklyn in 1916, and his father died a few years later. Hard times hit the family during the Depression, and Wisch was forced to steal milk cartons from the back of trucks to feed his mother and brother, one of his sons, Steve, told the Dallas Morning News.

One of his proudest moments was celebrating his bar mitzvah in Israel at the age of 62. He hadn't been able to have a ceremony at age 13 because of the Depression.

The launching of a new Jewish paper in Dallas in the past few years threatened the family-run Texas Jewish Post, but Rene Wisch has vowed that she and some of their five children will continue to produce the paper.