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Former Pahrump Valley Times owner Rich Thurlow dies at Texas home

Former Pahrump Valley Times owner and editor Richard Earl Thurlow died on Feb. 1, 2023.

A pioneering figure in Pahrump and in Nevada journalism, he passed peacefully at his home in Texas on Wednesday surrounded by family. He was 69.

Richard was born in Cherokee, Oklahoma, on Jan. 19, 1954.

His parents fell on tough times when he was 16, so they packed up the family and moved west to Pine Bluffs, Wyoming. There, Thurlow became a multi-sport athlete with a special love for football. Decades later,

he would tell his son, Michael, that he still had dreams of suiting up and playing in one more high school game.

A modest man, Thurlow never bragged about being one of the state’s best tight ends, with a handful of touchdowns and quite a few receiving yards to his credit. His son only learned of his father’s success while sorting through old boxes of newspaper clippings. Thurlow preferred to talk about the funnier sides of his playing career, like when he caught a touchdown pass with his face mask instead of his hands.

After high school, he joined the Army after learning fast that college wasn’t for him. He spent most of his military service in Germany, where he worked as a desk clerk before being discharged and returning to the states.

Thurlow always dreamed of going back to Germany with his family to revisit the pubs and scenic places that he frequented while in the Army. His love for German culture – and beer – stayed with him for the rest of his life.

After the Army, Thurlow took a job at the local newspaper in Torrington, Wyoming. Then he met the love of his life, Roxanne Russ, and his life changed forever.

Three dates and two weeks later, Thurlow and Roxanne got married and soon welcomed two children into the world, Jane in July of 1980 and Michael in April of 1982.

For the next several years, Thurlow bounced around from newspaper to newspaper in Nebraska and Wyoming while Roxanne worked as a nurse, but they dreamed of something bigger for their young family.

PVT purchase

After many months of searching and praying, they stumbled upon an opportunity to buy the Pahrump Valley Times newspaper. Thurlow made a quick trip in the summer of 1989 to meet the paper’s owner, Milt Bozanic, and to see what this quiet desert town had to offer.

He was ready to make the move, so he took Roxanne with him to see the place, 60 miles outside of Las Vegas. As they drove into the valley, he told her, “I should have taken you here at night” – a joke anyone from Pahrump would probably get.

They bought the paper with a loan from Thurlow’s father, Joe, packed a U-Haul and headed to Southern Nevada.

The Pahrump Valley Times turned out to be Thurlow’s greatest gift to society.

He grew the newspaper from a small, modified motel room at the Charlotta Inn to a two-building operation with a couple dozen employees and its own printing press.

He treated his employees like family and went out of his way to help them when they needed it.

When inflation spiked in the early 1990s, Thurlow wrote personal notes and handed out money to everyone on staff.

Many of the people he recruited and hired became lifelong friends.

Another important thing Thurlow did after moving to Pahrump was take up golf with his son in 1993. He played as often as he could, and some of his closest friends in life were people he first met on the course or in the clubhouse.

Thurlow also loved spending time with his family and watching sports.

Sundays were reserved for the NFL or golf. Saturdays belonged to his beloved Oklahoma Sooners.

Thurlow owned, edited and wrote for the Pahrump Valley Times until the fall of 2002, when he sold the company to Stephens Media, the then-owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

After a brief retirement, he returned to the newspaper business, working for a time as an editor at the Kingman Daily Miner in Arizona.

Thurlow is survived by Roxanne, his wife of more than 40 years; his sister, Dena Lanning; his brothers, Phil and Johnny Todd; his daughter, Jane; his son Michael; his daughter-in-law, Ana; and four grandchildren, Alex and Harrison Walter and Luke and Sophia Thurlow.

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