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Obituaries

Ben Reddick; Newsman Coined 'Okies' Term

October 28, 1997

Ben Reddick, 82, publisher of small California newspapers and a former Orange County supervisor. He was largely credited with coining the term "Okies" for a story he did on the immigration of Dust Bowl refugees into California in the 1930s. Reddick, who made up the word from the "OK" on the license plates on Oklahomans' cars, was named an "Honorary Okie" by the Oklahoma governor in 1968. The newsman, who was a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors in the 1950s and served on the state Water Quality Control Board, worked for the Huntington Park Daily Signal, the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Los Angeles Examiner. He bought his first newspaper, the Newport Balboa Press, in 1944, which he developed into the Newport Harbor News Press. Reddick later published the San Fernando Valley Times and the Paso Robles Daily Press, which he owned until 1996. On Thursday in Templeton, Calif.

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