Shannon Rufe Snow Drive Funeral Chapel

6001 Rufe Snow Drive, Fort Worth, TX


Thomas Elvington Torrans

August 26, 1929June 22, 2020

Thomas Elvington Torrans, former editor and award-winning travel writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, has died, age 90. Born in 1929 on the Arkansas side of State Line Ave. in Texarkana, Torrans got his first newspaper job as delivery boy at the age of nine. As a young man, Torrans joined the US Air Force, and served in the Korean War, stationed on the island of Okinawa. It was there he learned to love deeply, to paint, and to practice Zen meditation. Returned States-side, Torrans completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of the Americas in Toluca, Mexico, becoming fluent in Spanish language, and Mexico’s history. He went on to a Master of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, during which time he taught Spanish literature, and was rumored to be the instructor “students didn’t want to get” for his demanding academic rigor and deliberate selection of texts with no English translation in print. ABD from the University of Arizona, Tucson, Torrans was involved in the founding of the history journal, Arizona and the West. Though he would remain a student of history for the remainder of his life, Torrans returned to the newspaper business, working for several well-known regional papers before settling in Fort Worth at the Star-Telegram. Known as “the Silent Spaniard” for his fluency in Spanish and impressive mustache, he worked as the “slot man,” so-called for his position at the C-shaped copy desk. The last of a breed now gone, Torrans was the liaison between the writers and printers, working with “hot type,” the lead slugs used to print the newspaper, and he retained the ability to read and edit, upside down and backwards, in two languages, for the rest of his life. Torrans also wrote for the newspaper, often under the pen name L. Vington, reviewing books and writing travel articles as he journeyed to every continent, save Antarctica, and for which he was presented with the Benjamin de Tudela award by the government of Israel. Unenamored of the computerization of newsprint, Torrans retired on May Day, 1987, symbolic of his enduring sympathies for workers’ rights and his pride of craftsmanship. Working freelance, Torrans edited college textbooks for Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich until the publishing company’s departure from Fort Worth. TCU Press published the first two books of his history of the US-Mexico border, Forging the Tortilla Curtain and The Magic Curtain. Torrans continued to self-publish his works of history, fiction, and poetry through Amazon, always staying abreast of current trends in the industry. Torrans made his home in Fort Worth, marrying fellow Star-Telegram writer and editor, Kay Holmquist, with whom he raised a son. Though their marriage was brief, they remained friends for the duration of Holmquist’s life, who died of kidney disease in 2010. Torrans never married again, but was steadfastly devoted to his loving companion of the last 35 years, Betty Clark, who along with her sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren survives him. Tom is also survived by his sister Betty Long, of Kansas, her children and grandchildren, as well as nephews by his late sister, Alma, Ron, and Ric, Ron’s daughter Kristen and her children, and by Tom’s adoring son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. In accordance with his wishes, there will be no markers, no ceremonies, and this obituary concludes his career as a newsman, always his true calling. -30-


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Thomas Elvington Torrans

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