The former publisher of the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Progress was a champion of the First Amendment.

Jonathan Marshall, a 1962 master’s graduate of the UO School of Journalism, died Sunday at his home in Arizona. He was 84.

Marshall’s interest in freedom of information began during his early years as editor and publisher of the Scottsdale Progress in Arizona. After the Scottsdale City Council held a secret meeting and awarded a large contract without public discussion, Marshall and the Progress led a campaign to revise the state’s open meeting law and to get a public records law on the books. Their efforts helped set a precedent for today’s stronger freedom of information laws.

Jon’s extraordinary commitment to the First Amendment on freedom of the press was unmatched, says Kyu Ho Youm, the School’s Marshall First Amendment Chair. “He practiced what he preached and never hesitated to speak out against what he perceived to be injustice and unfairness in our society.”

Until the very last day of his life, Jon continued to write the Marshall Memo as a thoughtful commentary on various raging issues in the U.S. and abroad.”

Jon’s legacy as a First Amendment advocate will never stop inspiring us. I’m deeply saddened by his untimely passing. At the same time, however, I’m renewing my genuine commitment as an engaged First Amendment teacher and scholar.”

Marshall’s career as a journalist was distinguished. He was inducted into the Arizona Newspapers Hall of Fame; was twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; and was granted the Arizona Press Club’s Distinguished Service Award, the Arizona Newspaper Association’s Master Editor Publisher Award, and the Society of Professional Journalists National First Amendment Award. He served as president of the Arizona Newspaper Association and chairman of the National Newspaper Association’s Freedom of Information Committee. He was also active in Arizona politics and in 1974 was the Arizona Democratic Nominee for the United States Senate. He lost to Barry Goldwater.

When Jonathan and his wife, Maxine, sold the Progress after 25 years of serving as a liberal voice in largely conservative Arizona, they created the Marshall Fund. Since the Fund’s inception, the Marshalls have contributed millions to causes that have been historically ignored by other philanthropists.

“Scottsdale has lost an important community leader who made a huge contribution with his words, his thoughtfulness and his humanity,” reporter Peter Corbett wrote in the Arizona Republic after his death.

In 1994, Marshall established the Jonathan Marshall Award for Innovative Teaching in Journalism and Communication; and in 1999, he endowed a faculty position, the Jonathan Marshall First Amendment Chair. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Achievement in 2001.

“Jonathan Marshall was an extraordinary man and a great alumnus of our school.” Tim Gleason, Edwin L. Artzt Dean of the SOJC, says. “We have lost a publisher who understood the power and responsibility of publishing a community newspaper and a citizen with a passion for serving the public good.

I was fortunate to be able to spend a few hours with Jonathan and Maxine earlier this fall at their home in Scottsdale. While Jon’s physical health was failing he remained fully engaged in the issues of his community and of the nation.

The Marshalls’ generosity has left its mark on the SOJC. The Marshall Teaching Award is a powerful statement of the value we place on undergraduate teaching and our long tradition of teaching excellence. The Marshall First Amendment Chair enables the SOJC to play a leadership role in scholarship and teaching about free speech and free press.“

Marshall’s autobiography, Dateline History: The Life of Journalist Jonathan Marshall, was published earlier this month.

Marshall is survived by his wife, Maxine, daughters Lucinda and Laura, sons Jonathan and Robert, and 10 grandsons. Funeral Services will be Tuesday in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Arizona Theater Company, the Phoenix Art Museum, or the Desert Botanical Garden.