Remembering George Wilbanks

East County Times Publisher George Wilbanks passed away on March 1.

It has been a few weeks, but I would like to remember East County Times publisher George Wilbanks. My blog “Benstorming” actually started as a column in the East County Times.

I got my start at the East County Times when their editor Allison McAlister and publisher George Wilbanks called me in for an interview. As I entered the front of the building, George was sitting outside on the bench. I figured he was a causal reader or an employee of the paper that was hanging outside. I gave him a causal “high” when I saw. If I knew he was the publisher, I would have struck up a more detailed conversation with him. And I think George knew that and that is why he took a low-key approach.

Allison made the recommendation for him to hire me and he did. I will always be grateful for my time at the East County Times and that is how I got started in journalism and in the public eye.

It was true that George was a hands off owner. He let the sales people sell, the editorial staff write and the art department design.

Yes, George did attend newspaper conferences to keep up on the latest trends of the newspaper business, but he left the quality of the paper to his staff.

George had a big presence in Essex Day and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger told me that George was a strong advocate for getting White Marsh Boulevard (MD 43) extended from Pulaski Highway to Eastern Boulevard.

George was a pioneer for the community and my thoughts and prayers go out to the Wilbanks family and the East County Times staff.

I hope the East County Times remains a strong independent paper for the community.