Tom Larimer, the executive director of the Arkansas Press Association, announced his retirement on Wednesday.


Larimer, 69, has been director of the association since 2004 after a long career in newspapers. He is a Berryville native who, after serving in the U.S. Navy and graduating from Arkansas Tech University, worked in his family newspaper and printing business. After the business sold, he held newspaper positions at Nevada, Mo., Murfreesboro, Tenn. and Nashville.


Since joining APA, Larimer has been a leading defender of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, testifying before state legislative committees and appearing at public forums around the state stressing the importance of public access to government business.


“We appreciate Tom’s many years of service to the association and to our member newspapers,” said Byron Tate, owner of The Sheridan Headlight and president of the Arkansas Press Association Board of Directors. “At a time when many state press associations are struggling financially, ours has remained strong and active. Tom played a significant role in helping our association not only survive, but thrive.”


A search for Larimer’s replacement will begin immediately. Ashley Wimberley, director of marketing for Arkansas Press Services, will serve as APA’s interim executive director until a new director is hired.


The Arkansas Press Association is a non-profit organization that consists of more than 110 newspapers in Arkansas and 130 associate members. Its primary function is to provide members with information and training opportunities to help them grow and succeed. The APA has two subsidiaries, Arkansas Press Services, Inc. and the Arkansas Newspaper Foundation. APS offers numerous advertising services to the public and member papers. The foundation provides funds for scholarships, internships and other educational programs.