Obituary: Bill Stall, Pulitzer Prize winner and veteran Capitol journalist

Bill Stall, a veteran reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times who mentored a generation of journalists, died Sunday at his home in Sacramento. He was 71.

Stall, a familiar figure in the Capitol who could often be seen in sidewalk cafes with coffee and a book, died of complications from pulmonary disease, the Times reported.

In nearly 50-years in journalism, Stall covered California governors from Ronald Reagan to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stall’s Pulitzer Prize came in 2004 for his editorial writing in which he identified problems in California’s government and offered solutions.  

According to biographical information reported by the Times, William R. Stall was born in Philadelphia on Feb. 21, 1937. His parents, Sidney J. and Helen R. Stall, moved the family, which consisted of three children, to Big Horn, Wyo., in 1942 to operate a small ranch. Stall’s father also found part-time work at the local newspaper, the Sheridan Press, and later owned a weekly newspaper.

After graduating from high school, Stall majored in journalism at the University of Wyoming and started working for the Laramie Daily Bulletin as sports editor. He was still a college student when he began covering city-county government for the Bulletin, which by then had merged with another newspaper and had the unusual name of the Daily Boomerang.

Stall later studied at Northwestern University and Johns Hopkins University and served in the National Guard before being hired by the Associated Press in Cheyenne. He later worked as the AP’s Reno correspondent before transferring to the Sacramento bureau, where he served as bureau chief from 1966 to 1974.

In 1975 and 1976, Stall worked briefly for Gov. Jerry Brown as press secretary and director of public affairs. He joined The Times in 1976 as a writer for the paper’s Metro section and later covered energy policy and worked as an assistant Metro editor and then staff writer in the Washington bureau. He then left The Times to become the Washington bureau chief for the Hartford Courant, a sister newspaper in what was then the Times Mirror chain.

He returned to The Times in 1984 for his first tour as an editorial writer, followed by several years as a political writer.
He was an editorial writer based in Sacramento from 1997 until he left the paper in a staff reduction in 2006.

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