Remembering copy editor Lou Bonds

I was saddened over the weekend to hear of the death of Lou Bonds, a friend and a former colleague at The News & Observer. He was 60, and the cause of death was cancer.

Lou was a top-notch headline writer and copy editor. He earned a journalism degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and worked at newspapers in Winston-Salem and Durham before coming to the Raleigh paper. He retired in 2009.

A longtime resident of Durham, Lou was a tremendous resource on that city’s politics and history. This knowledge was especially useful in the 1990s, when Lou and another copy editor, Bill Smith, worked in the newspaper’s bureau in downtown Durham.

Here’s what some of Lou’s colleagues said about him on Facebook:

  • “I can’t begin to tell you how valuable he and Bill were to me as a just-landed Yankee reporter trying to survive the night cops beat in Durham. He loved a good story, knew how to make it better and remained funny and endearing when he went off on one of his not too infrequent rants.”
  • “Lou was such a solid editor and such a charming man. I learned a lot from him. He was never flashy; he just did his job and did it well.”
  • “As a reporter and editor at the N&O, you were always glad to find out that Lou Bonds would be copy editing your story. You knew if you slipped, he would catch you.”

Farewell, Lou. You will be missed.

In lieu of flowers, Lou’s family would appreciate memorial gifts to Duke Homecare and Hospice, Suite 101, 4321 Medical Park Drive, Durham, NC 27704.



  1. Whiel I never worked with Lou, I also attended J-School at UNC and lived nearby when he and Gay lived on Alabama Avenue in the Watts Hospital-Hillandale neighborhood. Soon after I moved into the neighborhood, I spent al lot of hours with Lou putting in the bay window on his house, but doing more talking and goofing off than work.
    Lou was a real Independent, never believing any of the trappings of either Democrats or Republicans, long before it became fashionable.
    I had the opportunity to have lunch with him a few months ago, and that snarky laugh of his was just a prominent then as it was nearly 30 years ago when we worked on that window.

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