Updated, 11:40 a.m., Aug. 10, 2021: As a boy growing up on a farm outside Hinckley, Minn., Paul Nyberg learned the value of hard work. One of eight children, he helped his father build barns, milk cows and tend to whatever needed fixing.

He could build just about anything, including a suspension bridge for a youth camp in Michigan. But what Mr. Nyberg liked to build best was community.

“I have a sense of pride in making things better for everybody,” he said in a 2017 interview.

The former Town Crier publisher, who used the paper during his 26 years of ownership to celebrate that community, died Aug. 2 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Nyberg was 89.

Early years

Mr. Nyberg grew up on a farm in a rural area and attended a one-room schoolhouse.

The Korean War veteran attended Wheaton College in Illinois on the GI Bill, then earned his master’s degree in journalism at UC Berkeley in the 1960s.

Arrival in Los Altos

A job with Hudson Publishing Co. brought Mr. Nyberg to Los Altos in 1975. Almost immediately after moving to Los Altos, Mr. Nyberg fell in love with the community and its small-town feel – a reminder of his roots in Hinckley. He met his wife, Liz, at a church event in 1981, bonded by faith and love of family. They married in 1984.

Mr. Nyberg worked in magazine publishing for four decades. One of his early successes was Letterman Magazine, a high school sports publication he started in 1970 with the support of such luminaries as Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr and Don Nelson, who coached in the NBA after playing for the Boston Celtics. Next, he started franchises as president of the western division for Homes & Land Magazine. He later founded two other successful publications, Designers Illustrated and Renter’s Digest, both of which he sold shortly after buying the Town Crier.

Mr. Nyberg volunteered in the community prior to owning the paper. He joined the Rotary Club of Los Altos and Los Altos Tomorrow (now Los Altos Community Foundation). In 1992, he served as editor of “Los Altos: Portrait of a Community,” which commemorated the 40th anniversary of the incorporation of Los Altos.

Buying the Town Crier

The Nybergs purchased the weekly newspaper from the Tribune Co. in 1993. They focused on hyper-local news and celebrated community involvement. They were also both social butterflies, attending various community events virtually every day of the week.

The Nybergs sold the Town Crier to new local ownership in 2019.

Capitalizing on the paper’s visibility, Mr. Nyberg launched a number of annual traditions, among them the Los Altan of the Year, the Town Crier Holiday Fund and the Los Altos Prayer Breakfast, now known as Connect Silicon Valley.

“He was constantly thinking of projects to improve the community of Los Altos and involve members of the community,” said Dick Henning, former Foothill College dean and founder of the Celebrity Forum Speaker Series. “I have met few people as energetic, more dedicated to Los Altos or with more good ideas than Paul. I will miss him, but I will never forget him.”

Wide-ranging impact

While Town Crier publisher, he was involved in myriad special events and projects. He played a major role in the Los Altos Cultural Association, which published “Paint the Town,” a book of artists’ depictions of downtown scenes, and installed the “Olympic Wannabes” sculpture in Village Park in 2000. He also helped organize the black-tie Millennium Eve Celebration, held in a tent on the civic center campus.

Mr. Nyberg led a fundraising effort to equip the local high school theaters with lighting and sound equipment. He also helped start the annual “Los Altos Live!” talent show at Los Altos High School to raise funds for the Camp Everytown youth retreat.

His love of trains led to creating “Town Crier train trips,” open to all, with trips offered nationally and abroad.

Some of Mr. Nyberg’s innovations did not receive major publicity, but they were nonetheless appreciated. One was his formation of The Breakfast Club, an informal gathering of local city managers, the El Camino Hospital CEO and school superintendents that provided an opportunity to discuss their roles and compare notes.

Two notable events he helped organize played to his patriotism and deep faith.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Mr. Nyberg organized a Los Altos salute to local law enforcement and firefighters. And he and Liz, among other local families, founded the annual prayer breakfast, a popular event that morphed into the regional Silicon Valley Prayer Breakfast.

A lifelong Republican, Mr. Nyberg helped create the South Peninsula Area Republican Coalition, or SPARC, a group that remains active 21 years after its founding.

Proud traditions

One tradition of which he was most proud continues today: the Los Altan of the Year, launched in 1994.

Modeled after Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, the annual honor recognizes individuals and groups that generate community goodwill. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Nybergs found themselves on the receiving end of the honor when a group of former recipients organized to bestow the honor on the Town Crier publishers for 2017. It seemed fitting that Mr. Nyberg was able to see, while alive, the appreciation community members had for him.

“His generosity was not only personal, but always with the greater community in mind,” said Bob Adams, who earned Los Altan of the Year honors, with his wife, Lois, in 2008. “He will be remembered as ‘The Ultimate Los Altan of the Year.’”

Another tradition is the Town Crier Holiday Fund, founded in 2000, which has raised millions of dollars for nonprofits in areas ranging from education to helping the underserved.

“The thing that always impressed me about Paul was his interest in what the Town Crier Holiday Fund was supporting,” said Tom Myers, executive director of Community Services Agency, a Holiday Fund recipient. “He didn’t make his funding decisions based on what was the popular issue of the day. I remember seeing him and Liz out in our food pantry volunteering to see how much impact the program was having. That was the best kind of due diligence from a funder.”

In addition to Liz, Mr. Nyberg is survived by three children, Jill, David and Jonathan; two stepchildren, Cynthia and Amy; 14 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His son Dan preceded him in death.

A celebration of life is scheduled 4:30 p.m. Oct. 15 on the patio of the Los Altos History Museum.

Donations in Mr. Nyberg’s name may be made to the museum or the Los Altos Rotary Endowment Fund.