updated 10/16/2006 8:14:06 PM ET 2006-10-17T00:14:06

George McElroy, a pioneering black columnist and journalism teacher in Houston, died on Oct. 7 at a Houston hospital from acute respiratory distress syndrome. He was 84.

During his journalism career, McElroy became the first black journalist to earn a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and the first black columnist to write for the Houston Post.

After earning his masters’ degree, McElroy taught journalism in Houston high schools, and later at the University of Houston and Texas Southern University.

McElroy got his first newspaper job at 16, writing a youth column for the Informer, Houston’s oldest black newspaper.

He worked as a professor and continued to write for the Informer and the Post, where he covered sports and later became a columnist. In his column, he profiled all types of people, from barbers to beauty queens.

During his career, he interviewed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Fidel Castro. He collected numerous honors, including a recent lifetime achievement award from the Houston Association of Black Journalists.

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