Few daily newspapers, big, small or between, are lucky enough to have a lifelong champion such as Ann Roznovsky. Off the clock or on, she was an upbeat, highly visible reminder of not only the importance of an informed and attentive citizenry bolstered by a credible watchdog press but the joyous epiphany that comes when truth is disseminated in a vibrant democracy. Her death Saturday at age 81 reminds us of the steep challenges that remain, both for the Tribune-Herald which she long celebrated and an increasingly bewildered public.

Ann came by her advocacy naturally. While she served on two dozen nonprofit boards such as those for Keep Waco Beautiful, Waco Symphony Orchestra and the zoo during her six-decade affiliation with the Trib, she began in the trenches of the newsroom, first as an intern, then working the police and federal court beats full-time — grim proving grounds for any journalist. She worked her way up to serve as the Trib’s community relations and marketing director. In these latter duties, she connected people with those at the Trib who might be able to assist them. And when others complained about coverage of particular news events or late delivery of the paper, she was helpful, even as she reminded all that production and delivery of a newspaper is a daily miracle, and not without imperfections.

Two projects were close to Ann’s heart: the assembling of a Trib historical museum and spearheading of Storybook Christmas, a literacy program that puts books in the hands of less-fortunate youngsters. She understood literacy was not just crucial to the Trib’s survival but the prospects of underprivileged youths. These projects highlighted her deep regard for our community’s past, honestly told, and her belief in the potential of coming generations, never accomplished without vision, dedication and zeal.