Muriel Dinsmore was small in stature and quiet in demeanor, but she made a resounding impact on local journalism in her lifetime.
Dinsmore — who worked for the Humboldt Times, the Times-Standard and College of the Redwoods before retiring — died Tuesday morning at the age of 89.
A Humboldt County native, Dinsmore was born in Eureka and raised in Rio Dell. She was a young wife and mother living in Fortuna in the late 1950s when she began freelancing part-time for the Humboldt Times newspaper, covering general news and writing feature stories.
In an interview Dinsmore did with the Times-Standard for its 150th anniversary special edition in 2004, she said that she always liked writing.
“I just loved the newspaper business. It was fascinating,” she said in the article.
The Dinsmores — including Muriel, husband George and their four children, Jeffrey, Scot, Tamara and Sam — moved to Eureka in 1969. Not long after, Dinsmore received a call from Times-Standard writer Jean Neilson telling her about a job opening as assistant to Society page editor Margaret Delaney. Soon after Dinsmore was hired, Delaney retired.
“The next thing I knew, I was the editor of the section and they changed the name from ‘Society’ to ‘Accent on People,’” Dinsmore said in a previous Times-Standard interview.
In addition to writing and managing the features section of the paper, she also penned a column about local people, community events and even national causes.
“It was the time of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), and I wrote numerous columns of the benefits of it,” Dinsmore said in 2004.
During her years at the newspaper, Dinsmore interviewed several dignitaries, including Nancy Reagan and Norman Vincent Peale. She also won awards from the California Press Women’s Association.
Dinsmore left the Times-Standard in 1980 to work in the public affairs office at College of the Redwoods, retiring from the Eureka campus in 1995.
In retirement, Dinsmore pursued longtime interests in the arts and historic preservation and enjoyed membership and active involvement in the American Association of University Women, Rotary International, the League of Women Voters, the CR Foundation League, Eureka Heritage Society and the Humboldt Arts Council. In April 2010, she was honored by the Humboldt County Republican Party as the “Republican of the Year.”
Several years ago, Dinsmore moved from Humboldt County to Petaluma to be closer to her family. She still returned to her hometown, however, every couple of months to greet visitors to the Morris Graves Museum of Art in Eureka during its monthly Arts Alive! celebrations and for other community events.
Heather Shelton can be reached at 707-441-0516. Dan Squier contributed to this report.