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December 13--  The owner of The Advance newspaper and co-owner of Vidalia Communications died Thursday night.

{mosimage}Eighty-nine-year old Bill Ledford, Sr. died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Vidalia.  He had been in declining health for some time.

In a 1999 interview, he said he ran the newspaper in the same fashion as his father who bought the paper in 1926.

"He always felt like the front page belonged to the public and the editorial page belonged to him.  We've tried to support that idea throughout the years.  We feel like we're doing what we should do.  We're trying to contribute to the community and to the people of this area," he said.

Ray Tapley, a longtime columnist for The Advance, remembers his colleague.

"I don't think Bill ever let his personal feelings or his beliefs effect what was in the news columns.  Of course, he was very outspoken and had a lot of strong opinions and he didn't mind voicing them, but he always kept those on the editorial page where they should be and I admired him for that.

"The newspaper is extremely vital part of Vidalia and always has been.  Bill Ledford was like a brother to me and he was a big asset to this town and to this community," Tapley said.

Mr. Ledford's funeral is Monday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Ronald V. Halll Funeral Home in Vidalia.  Friends may pay condolences at the funeral home Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m.