Harry McCawley speaks at a 2015 seminar on the history of Columbus City Hall. WRB photo.

Columbus has lost a community leader, its leading journalist and one of the longest serving community voices. Harry McCawley, former associate editor of The Republic newspaper died yesterday at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana. He was 77.

Best known for his weekly columns and his deep knowledge of Bartholomew County history, behind the scenes he shaped the community’s opinion through daily editorials and was a strong advocate for local veterans.

Former Mayor Fred Armstrong remembers being interviewed by McCawley.

One of the projects that Armstrong remembers McCawley quietly organizing and leading was the portraits of Jack the Bum and Carl Miske that now adorn the walls of the large meeting room at Columbus City Hall.

Former Indiana Senate President Pro Tem Bob Garton talks about McCawley’s impact:

Garton talks about McCawley’s impact as the person carrying the memory of the community.

Former Republic editor John Harmon remembers McCawley poring over the clip files in the paper’s library, digging up historical tidbits.

Harmon says that community groups always wanted and needed McCawley’s support for their projects and events.

Harmon talks about McCawley’s intense workload, producing more stories, columns and other material than anyone else at the newspaper.

McCawley pushed for the Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans on the courthouse lawn and was an organizer of the annual Salute concert on Memorial Day.

Zack Ellison worked closely with McCawley coming up with the names and the letters to be featured on the memorial.

Ellison says that McCawley used his platform at the paper to raise awareness about the veterans memorial project — and to raise funding.

McCawley started at The Republic in 1966 and retired from the newspaper in January of 2014 but continued writing frequent columns throughout his retirement.

Former newspaper publisher Bud Herron remembers his friend and colleague:

Herron talks about McCawley’s dedication to veterans.

For many in the community, McCawley was the voice of the paper. Herron explains:

Herron praised the depth of McCawley’s local knowledge, saying that he was a walking encyclopedia of Bartholomew County history:

McCawley had been fighting cancer. He is survived by his wife Julie, son Chris, daughter in law Misty and four grandchildren.

Services are being arranged by Barkes Weaver and Glick Funeral Home on Washington Street.