An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

Contact Information
Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc.
1401 Lavaca St
Austin, TX 78701

[email protected]

In Memoriam: Albert “Dick” Richard Elam Jr.

Albert “Dick” Richard Elam Jr.

Died Nov. 15, 2023

Austin, Texas

Albert Richard Elam, Jr., 95, sailed to new ports on November 15, 2023, peacefully passing with family present.

An avid sailboat competitor, journalist, University professor, artist, author and traveler, he leaves behind a treasure of stories, instruction, laughs and love of life.

Dick Elam was born in 1928 in Pecos, Texas to Lena and Albert (Red) Elam.

Dick Elam at his Daily Texan editor’s desk in 1949-50

He began his lifetime profession and avocation as a writer at The Abilene Reporter-News, where he landed his first job as a cub reporter at the age of 13. Graduating from Abilene High School as editor of the high school newspaper, he attended The University of Texas where he was elected editor of The Daily Texan newspaper.

He was among those inducted in 2013 into the inaugural Daily Texan Hall of Fame, sponsored by Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc.

After graduation he worked with his father in West Texas oilfields and with broadcast endeavors, often flying his own airplane. He later returned to higher education to become Professor Elam at The University of Texas at Austin and later at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dick Elam receives Hall of Fame award from Cliff Avery at 2015 Friends of Daily Texan dinner.

Along the way he also taught classes at the University of Hawaii, Pepperdine University and Ural University at Ekaterinburg, Russia. Among his students are newspaper journalists and editors, television news reporters and sportscasters, along with myriad chroniclers of life who attend carefully to the rules of grammar and composition.

His careers in television, newspaper, and higher education, along with his love of travel with companions and family, took him around the world, often on a boat where he inevitably added more friends into his ever-increasing fold. That number includes sailing competitors, colleagues, students of life and anyone within listening range ready for a good story.

He is survived by his four children by Maxine Smith Elam (deceased 1973): Sheryl Elam Pappa (Dennis), Cynthia Elam Darwin (Roger Sturgell), Michaela Elam Wood (Jack) and Kelson Richard Elam (Brenda). Dick’s grandchildren and great grandchildren affectionately address him as TutuKane, the Hawaiian word for Grandfather. They include Britt Watson, Kara Driskell, Travis Darwin, Laurn Randell, Audra Randell and Lindsey Rubio, along with their combined 13 children. Dick’s family also includes the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of his wife Betty Aills Elam (deceased 1975), his wife Margaret Burch Elam (deceased 2013) and life companion Louise Rubbi Williams (deceased 2021).

Dick Elam and David Powell at 2013 Daily Texan Hall of Fame dinner

His entire family appreciates the love and prayers we have received. A celebration of his life will be planned for a later date.

Until the end of his days with us, Dick Elam was a writer. His computer is filled with his online blogs, the sequels to his published book Anne Bonny’s Wake, and the lyrics to a Texas musical, all of which he created by wrapping his words around the anecdotes and characters that filled his rich life. He no doubt continues that work while docked in his new port of call, surrounded by loved ones and leading everyone in the chorus of his favorite song, “We’re All Together Again”.