Rolfe Neill Obituary, Death – On Friday, a longtime journalist who worked in Charlotte passed away, according to the Charlotte Observer. Over the course of more than four decades, Rolfe Neill served as the president and publisher of the Charlotte Observer. During his term as mayor of Charlotte, which lasted from 1975 to his resignation in 1997, The Observer referred to him as “one of modern Charlotte’s most indelible leaders.” He was a significant figure in the community in addition to being the publisher of the local newspaper, and he was equally influential in both arenas. According to Bill Grigg, a former CEO of Duke Power and a close friend of the speaker’s, “It takes a unique talent to keep those positions separate.”
Neill was a native North Carolinian, having been born in Mount Airy in 1932 and having spent his childhood there. After receiving his degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was the editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel, he went on to pursue his career in journalism. Before accepting his current position in the state of North Carolina, he has previous employment at a number of newspapers located in rural North Carolina, Florida, and Pennsylvania. During his tenure at the Observer, the newspaper was awarded three Pulitzer prizes for excellence in journalism.
He was well recognized for his propensity to publicly critique his own newspaper, the Charlotte Observer, as part of his efforts to integrate the publication into the very fabric of the city. “You can certainly say Rolfe is one of a handful of community leaders who over the past 40 years did more than just about anybody to make Charlotte what it is today,” Grigg said. “You can certainly say Rolfe is one of a handful of community leaders who over the past 40 years helped make Charlotte what it is today.” You could place him in the same category as the McColls, the Belks, and the Brookshires…. He was a positive influence in the world. Neill is remembered by his five children and by the woman he was previously married to.