Former Sun staffer had ‘infectious laugh, calming effect’ on newsroom.
Pam Killinsworth was the glue that kept the Las Vegas Sun’s co-ed softball team together through many tough, losing seasons in the Southern Nevada Media Softball League, culminating in the team’s only championship season in 2002.
“Pam had us all upbeat with her wit and humor when things got rough both on the field and in her job (longtime graphics editor) at the Sun,” said Chris Wellendorf, the former senior director of publishing systems for the Sun’s parent company Greenspun Media Group and Killinsworth’s onetime supervisor.
“She had such an infectious laugh and a calming effect. She was never too high, never too low — just right.”
Pamela Jean Gazaway Killinsworth, an awardwinning graphics artist and page designer for 30 years, first at the Sun and later at the Review-Journal, died Friday at her Las Vegas home after a lengthy illness. She was 55.
Former Sun then Review-Journal reporter Adrienne Packer, who was at Killinsworth’s bedside when she died, said there will be a “social distancing” style service for about 50 guests along with a Facebook Live feed at a location and date to be determined.
Killinsworth, a Las Vegas resident of 32 years, was cremated and her cremains will be interred at the Gazaway family plot in Pocahontas, Ark.
“Pam took me under her wing when I arrived at the Sun in 1998 and invited me to join the team,” said Packer, who along with Wellendorf, Killinsworth and Sarah Baird comprised the Sun’s “Girls of Summer” that from 1998 to 2000 helped lead Greenspun Media to two Corporate Challenge gold medals and a bronze medal.
“In her final days, we talked fondly about those years playing softball, and we agreed they were among the best times of our lives.” Former Sun graph
Former Sun graphics specialist Baird, now residing in Toledo, Ohio, said Killinsworth could “light up a room.”
“Pam just had such a reassuring way with people and always remained level-headed even during tense deadlines at the paper or close games on the field,” Baird said. “I’ll always be grateful to her for giving me my break in page design.”
All four women stopped playing softball years ago. Wellendorf today is a teacher and boys basketball coach at John C. Fremont Middle School. Packer works for the Nevada Department of Transportation as a public information officer. Baird, formerly Walters, is a page designer for the Toledo Blade.
Diminutive in stature, Killinsworth was a dynamo on the field, wearing her familiar No. 777 jersey and belting hits at key times in many games. Her nickname, Pam Tanna, was a tribute to crimefighter Dan Tanna, portrayed by Bob Urich on the popular early 1980s TV show “Vega$.”
At the newspaper, hardly a year went by that Killinsworth did not bring the Sun accolades for her graphics talent.
Among her work-related awards were second place in the 2000 Nevada Press Association Better Newspaper Contest for page design, third in the 2001 best designer category and second in 2003 for best informational graphic.
Born Oct. 25, 1964, in Pocahontas, she graduated from Pocahontas High School in 1983. Killinsworth attended Arkansas State University, where she majored in print.
She came to Las Vegas in 1988 and joined the Sun’s “backshop” crew that year. She quickly climbed the ranks from designer to head of the graphics department. She left the Sun in 2005 and worked for the Review-Journal from 2005 to 2018.
In her off-time, Killinsworth enjoyed camping and fishing and watching cooking shows, particularly ones hosted by Paula Deen. According to her Facebook page, she especially loved sweet tea and cornbread.
Killinsworth is survived by her husband, Dean Killinsworth; brothers Greg, Rudy and Gary Gazaway; and four nephews and three nieces.
A private graveside service was held Saturday, July 25, at Hite Cemetery in Biggers, Ark.