Mr. Honicker was born January 26, 1941, the only son of Belton D. and Esther Bell Honicker of Birmingham, Ala.
He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Jeannine Honicker, whom he credited with superbly handling their household affairs, including paying the bills and raising the children, while he worried over world affairs.
Other survivors include four children and their spouses: daughter Linda Sue Ely and husband, David, of Katy, Texas; daughter Janet Claire Michener and husband, Mark, of Westchester, Pa.; son Russell Dolph Honicker and wife, Ann Stewart, of Cooperstown, N.Y., and son Clifford Trammell Honicker and wife, Jackie Kittrell, of Knoxville, Tenn. He had six grandchildren, Ian Michener, Caitlin Michener, Weston Honicker, Miles Honicker and wife Maria, Nick Honicker and Conrad Honicker. Also surviving are a brother-in-law, Tim White, and sister-in-law Brenda Joyce Slade.
Mr. Honicker began working for LaGrange Daily News while attending Auburn University. He graduated from its journalism program in 1953 and took successive jobs with the Panama City (Fla.) News-Herald, the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser and the Alabama Journal, where he broke the story of the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery and won awards for stories that resulted in the break up of an illegal abortion ring.
He later worked for the Mobile (Ala.) Register before joining the Tennessean, the major daily newspaper in Nashville, Tenn., where he worked for 37 years, including 25 years as news editor.
“Those were the happiest days of my life,” Mr. Honicker said, “the wild, turbulent, zany newspaper days.”
As a copy editor at the Tennessean, he said he was “honored to edit” stories by young reporters who went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize and Pulitizer Prize, respectively – Al Gore, who became vice president and a champion of environmental causes and David Halberstam, author of more than 20 best-selling works of non-fiction.
Mr. Honicker retired in 1996 and moved to LaGrange, his wife’s hometown, the following year. In retirement, he continued to write opinion pieces for the Liberal Opinion and contributed guest columns to LaGrange Daily News. He also wrote four screenplays.
A celebration of the life of Dolph Honicker will be held at a later date. As a last gift, he donated his body to science.