Jay Jaffe, former publisher of 'The Columbia News,' dies at age 69

Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 8:13 PM
Last updated 11:46 PM
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Jay M. Jaffe, of Eagle, Colo., a former publisher of The Columbia News, died Nov. 21 of complications following surgery,

Jaffe, 69, was the founder and CEO of Jaffe PR, a public relations firm specializing in services to business law firms, according to his obituary in the Vail (Colo.) Daily.

Funeral services for Jaffe were held Sunday at Chicago Jewish Funerals in Buffalo Grove, Ill., with interment in Shalom Memorial Park.

A Chicago native, Jaffe began working as a writer and later business editor for The Augusta Herald after his discharge from the military in 1967. Jaffe became editor and publisher of The Columbia News in 1970, and from that position helped preside over the then-weekly newspaper’s merger with The Martinez-Evans Times.

“He was a dear friend of mine, and I’m sorry to hear about his passing,” said Patrick Blanchard, the vice chairman of First Bank of Georgia, who knew Jaffe when he lived in the area and touched base with him occasionally since.

Before his departure in 1971, Jaffe led a campaign to persuade Columbia County commissioners to allow alcohol sales in the county. The crusade, which drew a backlash from local ministers, resulted in publication of a letter from the then-owners of the newspaper, Columbia Publishing Co., declaring that they “neither sanctioned nor approved of the editor’s opinion on the beer and wine question.”

Jaffe, in a 2006 interview about the controversy, denied the disagreement led to his departure, and said when he left it was for an opportunity with television station WRDW. Jaffe became director of news and public affairs at Channel 12 until 1974, when he left for Washington to become press secretary for U.S. Rep. Jack Flynt, D-Ga. He later served as press secretary for the Congressional Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, which Flynt chaired.

Jaffe formed Jaffe Associates in 1978 after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing attorneys to advertise their services, and became regarded as “the inventor of law firm marketing,” according to his obituary. He relocated to Colorado in 2005, and the now-renamed Jaffe PR is a “virtual” company headquartered in Eagle with offices around the country.

He is survived by a daughter, a sister, a niece and a nephew.

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Jay Jaffe

also worked in PR at University Hospital before all of the mentioned places.

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