Howard Kessinger, longtime editor and publisher of the Marysville Advocate, died of complications of Huntington’s disease Feb. 22, 2014, at a hospital in Lincoln, Neb. He had been fighting the disease for years and had been battling pneumonia the past several days.
Kessinger won every major award and citation from the Kansas Press Association. He’s a past president of KPA, a member of the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame, a Clyde M. Reed Jr. Master Editor, a former president of the William Allen White Foundation, a member of the Kansas Newspaper Foundation and had been recognized numerous times for his editorial writing skills.
He and Sharon sold the newspaper to daughter Sarah Kessinger in 2012. She is a current member of the KPA board. While he was attending Kansas State University, he began his newspaper career working for the Junction City Republic, which was owned by his brother, Ed Kessinger.
After graduation, he continued to work for the Republic, then became advertising manager for the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle. In 1961, he went to work as managing editor of the Oberlin Herald, where he and the owner, Ernest Woodward, made a handshake agreement that if they were mutually satisfied with the arrangement, Kessinger would have the opportunity to buy the paper, which he and Sharon did in 1965. They sold the Herald to Randall Braden in 1975 and bought the Advocate.
Services are at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Marysville. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at Kinsley Mortuary, with the family receiving friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cabin, 10th and Alston, Marysville.