Page 1

Inside JSK's life ............... ..... 5 Tributes .......... ......... 15 His awards ............... 23 An editorial ....... ...... 24 The 'Natebook' ........ 26 Peers speak .............. 28 Readers speak ......... 29 An interview ............30 Knight-Ridder .......... 32 The Foundation ........ 33 A farewell.. .............. 35 Memaries ................ .41 His horses ............... .42 Eulogy .................... .43 Akron Beacon Journal


The office pictured on this page is empty. Awfully empty. Oh, it has furniture - a wooden desk, overstuffed chairs, a huilt -in r eading table to facilitate paging through newspapers while standing. It has pictures. awards and plaques on the walls. Many of the pictures show famous people, world leaders, and many are auto· graphed. And it has a 28·year·nl\J Royal ty pewrit· er, a manually operated model , not the elec· tric kind. But the office is empty, because its larg· er-than-l ife occupant is gone. John S. Knight, newspaper editor and media magnate, is dead at age 86. When he left his office for the last time early in the afternoon of Tuesday, June 16. 1981, he was still a little angry about a grammatical error he had spotted in the newspaper that day. But that's a good kind of anger for an editor. And he was an editor. first and always. until the moment he died. And it is thus to an editor, Jack Knight. that this special publication is dedicated. Basically, the contents of this book are taken from the pages of the Akron l3eacon Journal. Knight's first newspaper and the launching place for what was to become Knight·Ridder Newspapers. a coast-tcH'oast organization of 32 dailies. a group of weeklies, radio, television and book·publishing companies.

He left us tradition, pride and " memories It reflects this newspaper 's C'o\'('rage of ,Jack Knight 's life on the occasion of his death, It is offered to our friends in newspa , per circles as a final tribute to our editor and fri end, It may also help others who did not know him as well to understand what a

major figure he was. Much of the material herein comes from th e heart. The lead obituary, starting on Page 5, for example, was written hy Ken I'\ichols of the l3eacon Journal stafr. Forty years ago Jack Knight started Kenny on a daily column. instru cting him to "make friends for the paper." Ken Nichols remem bers JSK well , And thp r eac tion stori es. start ing on Page 15, are tYl)ified by his close friend of

hal! a " entury, r etired Goodyear Chairman F:ddie Thomas, who remembers "a man of great stature, great ability and great visian Or the sensitiw words of his longtime Akron associate fien Maidenburg, on Page 21. say ing that "it's just unbelievable that he's gone," This whole effort. in fact, represents the work of newspaper people who were proud to work in the $.:'\me office with a mao who

cared deeply - about the I:\"a con Journal, about Knight -Ridder newspapers, about his community and his country. ami about his fami ly, Along with the pride is sadness at his passing.

And an empty ollieI', No mOre will an of fending clipping come sa ilin g out , scrawll'd with ,\ r ed pencil asking "Oon't ed itors edit anvmore?" The answe,: to that crisp question is, of

('ourse. yes. they try. Hut " dito,'s today have big shoes to !ill. It's a tough assignment for anyone whose

lif" and career was tou cheel by John Shively Knight.


Paul A. Poorman Editor of the Beacon Journal

The man they called 'Editor' left a legacy of greatness



spurs' SIlas 'loins the Ca'Js

page Oi

"A legend in his time, Jack Knight was an inspiration to everyone in the company from the top reporter to the skilled pressman. "

By Mary Grace Poldomani Beacon Journal ,taH wrltff

John Shively Knight, editor e meritus of the Beacon Journal and Knight-Ridder Newspapers and one of the world's most influential and honored journalists, died in Akron on the evening of June 16, 1981. Knight , 86, was stricken at about 6: 15 p.m . at the North Portage Path home of a long time friend, Stella Hall, widow of Akron insurance executive William Hall. The two had been preparing to go out to dinner when Knight collapsed , according to his physician, Dr. Henry Kraus. "They were sharing a glass of wine when he dropped over," said Kra us , who was ca lled to Mrs . Hall 's home from his suburban Cuyahoga Falls office. "From Mrs. Hall's description of what happened , I would say he died instantly," the doctor said. KNIGHT had suffered from a ngina pectoris (chest pains as a result of a heart problem) for some time, Kra us said. The doctor said the attacks had intensified following the death last New Year's Day of Knight 's third wife, Belly Augustus. Knight had returned to Akron in May from Detroit, where he helped celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Detroit Free Press and reo ceived honorary degrees from two universities. Plainly, he had been wearied by the trip, telling friends he had tried to do too much. Several days later, he was hospitalized at Akron General Medical Center after suffering chest pains at his desk at the Beacon Journal. He had resumed his normal daily schedule at th e office several weeks before his death. Mrs. Hall was too shaken to discuss Knight's death. "There is nothing to talk about now," whispered the fragile, silver-haired woman. "There's only feelings ." Knight leaves his son, Landon, president of Portage Newspaper Supply of Akron, and a brother, James, former chairman and chief executive officer of Knight-Ridder Newspapers. KNIGHT'S DEATH stimulated a torrent of praise for the late editor. Alvah H. Chapman Jr. , president and chief executive officer of Knight-Ridder Newspapers Inc. , of which Knight was a founder,

"A slick\er on Eng\ish~. has his wa)'


Alvah H. Chapman Jr.




sounded a theme that was repeated over and over by newspersons and others who knew and respected Knight. "J ohn Knight was not only the founder of a great communications

co mpany , but he was its conscience as well," he said. "A legend in his time , Jack Knight was an inspiration to everyone in our company from the top reporter to the skilled pressman,"

Chapman said. "Beneath a sometimes crusty exterior was one of humankind's warmest hearts. Our nation and industry have lost a Continued on next page

Akron Beacon Journai


An editor 'An old roadway design, whic:h a heavy industry area' to the last hours East leg a hazard to of the final day ~solete wa~()

By Terry Oblander Beacon Journal staff writer

"Jack Knight was one of the great newspapermen of our era." -Bernard H. Ridder Jr.

"Who edits this newspaper'!" John S. Knight was holding the first edition of the Beacon Journal as he stood in the newsroom the morning of the day he died, and he wanted an answer. There was a grammatical error on the front page of his newspaper and Knight wanted to know why. The error was in a headline describing the East Expressway as "An old roadway with obsolete design, which was fit into a heavy industry area." It should have read "was fitted." "Mr. Knight was a stickler on English," said Helen Coy, secretary to Beacon Journal Editor Paul Poorman. "He came over to my desk and said: 'I'm going out to find out about this.' " THE FIRST PERSON he saw in the newsroom was entertainment editor Ted R. Schneider Jr., who had nothing to do with the error. "I need an editor to tell me if something in here is good English," Knight told Schneider. Just then, editorial writer

Akron Beacon Journal


Helen Carringer happened along. "Welcome back, Mr. Knight. It's good to sec you again," Miss Carringer said. Knight leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. Then it was back to the business of the offending headline. "Where did we get that word?" he asked the group of people that had gathered neal' Schneider's desk. Copy editor Tim Hayes defended the headline, explaining that it was a direct quotation from a letter that had been written by one public official and sent to another. Roger Mezger, one of the editors who superviscs the he<-ulline writers, agreed with Hayes. Later editions of the paper agreed with Knight. "We just went ahead and changed the grammar," Mezger said later. "There was some hesita tion about doing it, but the feeling was that this is John S. Knight asking us to do it. "So we changed it." THE ONLY thing noteworthy about this particular example of the editor emeritus' concern for. the grammar in his newspaper

Continued from previous page

giant of the newspaper business indeed, of communications In mod-

leader and I have lost a warm and dear [riend." Lee Hllls, retired editorial chairman of the Miami Herald and Knight-Ridder Newspapers, called Knight "a giant among his peers." "In a career covering much of the century, John S. Knight leaves an impressive mark on American journalism. , . . His will be a continuing presence."

ern America," Poorman said.

THOSE SENTIMENTS were echoed by Bernard H. Ridder Jr., chairman of the board of KnightRidder Newspapers. " Jack Knigh t was one o[ the great newspapermen of our era," Ridder said . "His integrity and dedication to the best in American journalism have always been an inspiration to those who were intimately associated with him as well as to the entire newspaper industry." Paul Poorman, vice president and editor of the Beacon Journal, also mourned Knight's death. "Jack Knight was a legitimate

"Given the times, It is unlikely we will see his kind again. "Here at the Beacon Journal we feel a special sadness. He was the boss, of course. But he was, in the best sense, a conscience of the paper, a counselor, a critic and a friend." Ben Maidenburg, retired publisher and executive editor of the Beacon Journal, said he was stunned. "After having worked with him for 52 years, it's just unbelievable that he's gone," Maidenburg said. "It's a telTible thing to sit and talk about him, I'm crying." DURING rus years in Akron, Knight grew from a boy hawking papers on the streets to one of the leading publishers of this century. He learned the business from his father, C. I.. Knight, who purchased the ileacon Journal in 1903 with T. J, Kirkpatrick. The elder Knight bought out his partner in 1907. During his 67 years at the paper,

was that a rew hours later John S. Knight was dead. But there were plenty of other days when Knight came out of his office to challenge a headline or the way a story was displayed. When he was in Akron. Knight came to his ileacon Journal office in the comer of the thirdfloor newsroom almost daily. Knight arrived at the J3eacon Journal at about 10 a.m. the day of his death, according to his secretary of 16 years, Eli7.abeth Sammeth. He began his last day at work the way he did most others he read his newspapers. Knight spread the newspapers across a tilted countertop in his office. He stood while reading, for that eased the discomfort caused by a bad back. The first newspaper Knight read each morning was the Daily Racing Form - the newspaper that 's a must with horseracing rans. Knight owned race horses. He also read the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And he read his own newspapers - the Miami Herald, the

John Knight served as reporter, news editor, makeup editor, managing editor and - in 1933, the year his father died - as editor. In 1937, Knight acquired the Miami Herald, the first step toward what would become an empire of 32 daily newspapers from San Jose to Philadelphia. Nineteen of those papers were added in 1974, when Knight Newspapers merged with Ridder Publications. Knight was named editorial chairman and a director of the new company. As the number of his newspapers grew, so did his influence and his recognition among his peers. In 1968, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize [or his Editor's Notebook, a weekly column that he wrote for nearly 40 years. Newspapers and staffers under Knight's direction won 26 Pulitzers, including one in 1971 by the staff of the ileacon Journal for its coverage of the Kent State shootings a year earlier. BUT WHll..E his professional life glittered with success, his private life was scarred by tragedy - in-

Detroi t Free Press, the Charlotte Observer, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Beacon Journal. EIHTORS AND columnists throughout the Knight-Ridder !\'ewspapers group constantly received clippings from other newspapers with little messages in Knight's distinctive, sharply slanted handwriting, usually in red pencil. Miss Coy said Knight had been extremely busy in the days before his death, preparing for the activities of the next week. "He may have been retired as rar as editor emeritus goes, but it was really business as usual," she said. "If you could have seen his schedule. He would ha ve a whole sheet of stuff." ON MONDAY, Knight was scheduled to host his annual "Knightcap" golf tournament at Akron's Portage Country Club. On Tuesday, there was a meeting or the Knight-Ridder Newspapers board of directors, scheduled for Akron. Though no longer a daily participant in the business affairs of Knight-Ridder, Knight remained a director of the company he founded. On Wednesday, there was to be a meeting of the directors of the Knight Foundation, a charitable foundation that is not conneeted to the newspaper corporation. Knight left the Beacon Journal for the last time at about 1 p.m. Tuesday. His plans included lunch at the Portage Country Club, his customary afternoon walk and dinner with a friend. He died of a heart attack at 6: 15 p.m. at the friend's home.

cluding the deaths of three wives and two sons, and the murder of his grandson, John S. Knight m, in 1975. Knight stepped down as editorial chairman of Knight-Ridder in mid1976, taking the title editor emeritus o[ Knight-Ridder and the Beacon Journal. During his far-ranging career he visited with presidents and a queen, but he never forgot the town where he grew up. In 1940, he established what is now the Knight Foundation and contributed to the Akron Art institute and St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Knight also encouraged the formation of the United Fund and was a charter board mem ber. But he was, first and last, a man dedicated to the integrity and freedom of the press. "A newspaper is many things it Informs, it entertains, it offers opinion on public questions," Knight once said. "But its first responsibility is to print the news and do it without fear or favor."

KnightRidder Newspapers, of which he was the principal owner, has more than 15,000

employees on 32 dailies.

By Kennetb Nichols a.acon Journal stiff writ..r

A credo to live by:

'Don't be afraid of change'

In a late 1950s talk to the Beacon Journal news stafl, John Shively Knight said: "Don't be afraid o[ change." He was speaking of the trials o[ journalism, but the statement also reflected a tenet o[ his general philosophy of life based on hard-won experience. In a tumultuous time he grew [rom a boy selling election extras of the Beacon Journal on Akron streets to one o[ the great newspaper publishers o[ the 20th Century in the United States and the world. He experienced wars and depressions and their a lterma ths - g iddy prosperity and equally giddy fads ; he saw the bureaucrat move up to the head o[ the table. Only a few from Akron ever stood tall enough to straddle the globe. And his stance, it seems [air to say, was the widest of a ll. John S. Knight, editor emeritus o[ the Beacon Journal a nd Knight-Ridder Newspapers, died Tuesday, June 16, 1981. His death lelt a gaping void in the array of sources upon which Akron, its institutions and its people can draw [or leadership, example a nd money. He gave a lot of all three to the ci ty he knew best. The nation a nd the [ree world lost a lighter [or press a nd political [reedom a nd [or huma nitarianism in all of its many guises. Perhaps most important o[ a ll was his legacy to youth : That it is still possible in this country to build a business empire with hon-

Katharine Knight

Beryl Knight

esty, fairness and consideration [or others, including employees. Knight-Ridder Newspapers, of which he was the principal owner, has more tha n 15,000 employees on 32 dailies with a combined daily circulation o[ 3.6 million and 4.2 million on Sunday, the largest in the United States. He was a complex man o[ moods - one with a born dignity and reserve olten mistaken [or arrogance. But with those who had some claim to his friendship , he could be charming, warm a nd humorous. On one occasion in recent years, he remarked, with some surprise, to Edwin J. Thomas, "You speak to everyone , don't Continued on next page

Akron Beacon Journal


At Central High School in 1913, Knight played end on the football team that went undefeated and untied in ~i~ht games, glvmg up only six points.

A kiss for his mother, Clara Irene Knight, in 1957 Continued (rom previous page you?" The former Goodyear chairman, now a Knight-Ridder director, answered, "I learn a lot that way_" With a shake of his head, Knight said, "I can't do thaC" HOW MUCH of his character was shaped by the stress of the times tlu-ough which he passed ca n only be conjectured. Byron W. Bowman of the Burch Directory Co. "rode bicycles with Jack Knight" in the Balch-West Market Street neighborhood when both were growing up. "Jack," he says, "belonged to a bunch called the West Side Grays. They played sandlot baseball and football aga inst teams from other parts of town. Everybody liked him." But in his adult lire Knight knew a series of cruel personal tragedies. He had to erect a defense mechanism that would make him appear impervious to sentiment either that or be crushed totally.

Akron Beacon Journal


HIS PARENTS were strong individuals in their respective roles. Charles Landon Knight groomed John for the newspaper business; Clara Irene Knight gave him spiritual and moral fiber. As a middleaged man, he loved to walk with his mother in the garden of her home and be "renewed." "C. L., " as Charl es Landon came to be called in Akron, was born on a farm near Milledgeville, Ga. One of the 12 suburban newspapers now owned by Knight-Ridder is the Union-Recorder at Milledgeville. C. L.'s father, William, traced his ancestry in America to Sc John Knight , a soldier under Oliver Cromwell in England who came to Massachusetts Bay in

1662. C. L.'s grandfather, Thomas, served in the Georgia Senate and in 1837 introduced a bill to free the slaves of that state within 25 yea rs. TIm FAMILY sent C. L. north for higher education. He graduated from Columbia College in New York City (now a part of Columbia University) with a bachelor of arts degree in 1889 and two years later received a law degree from the same school. Next, he studied polities and social institutions in Europe for two years before eventually setting up as a lawyer in Bluefield, W. Va. He married the daughter of Civil War veteran Col. James K. Scheifly of Shenandoah, Pa., on Nov. 21 , 1893. The last name was pronounced "Shively" and, apparently to avoid any confusion, that's the way it was spelled when it showed up as the middle name of the Knights' elder son, John Shively, who was born in Bluefield on OcC 26, 1894. His brother, James Landon, was born in Akron on July 22, 1909. The 15-year ditrerence in their ages made it inevitable, as a family friend said, that they would not know each other well "until both were adults." IN 1896, possibly through a connection established in his college days, C. L. was offered and accepted a job on the Philadelphia Times under Alexander K. McClure. He remained four years and became in that time the paper's chief editorial "Titer. Next , he became assista nt editor of the Woman's Home Companion magazine based in Springfield, Ohio, and then, in 1903, its editor-in-chief. The same year, in association with Major

C. L. Knight, father of John S. Knight T. J . Kirkpatrick, one of the magazine's owners, he bought the Beacon Journal. The Akron city directory of 1904 lists Kirkpatrick as president of the Beacon Journal Co. and C. L. Knight as secretary, treasurer and manager. From a plant on the northeast corner of South Main and Quarry streets ( now East 130wery), the partners published both the daily newspaper and its time-honored ancestor, the weekly Summit County l3eacon. C. L. bought out Kirkpatrick in 1907 and assumed the title of editor and publisher in 1909. IN A U66 interview reported in Editor & Publisher magazine , John S. Knight said: "My father was a Georgia Democrat and when he ca me to Akron he found that the paper that was available was Republican. So, as a practical man, he managed to change his philosophy sufficiently to enable him to conduct the paper. l3ut he did this gradually. " By 1914, C. L. was vice cha irman of the Republican state central committee and, in 1916, a delegate to the party's nationa l convention. The Akron that young John first saw at age 9 was a growing but not booming city of about 50,000. Oldline industries like cereals and clay products were more important than rubber. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. advertised itsell as "Manufacturers of Bieycle Tires, Pneuma tic Carriage, Motor Vehicle, Solid and Cushion Carriage Tires, Rubber Horseshoes , Goll l3alls.' , Several plants manufactured coal lurnaces. THE CIGAR stand of the Empire

House hotel at Main and Market (on the site later occupied by the Portage Hotel ) was a gathering place for the business and political elite. There were two rival dailies, the Akron Press, at the loot 01 Mill Street, and the Akron Times-Democrat, 92 E. Mill SI. In addition to "the Old Reliable" Summit County Beacon, the town could boast of two other weeklies, the Akron Germania and the People. In that year , the Times-Democrat also published a weekly edition. With tree-lined streets and swimming holes and ice cream festivals and band concerts, it was a proper place for boyhood. WHEN JOliN was ready [or high school after gradua tion from Crosby elementary, his father sent him to the Tome School a t Port Deposit, Md., to prepare for college. He returned in September 1913 to complete his senior year at Central High School. It was a good year. He played end on the football team that went undefeated and untied in eight games and gave up only six points. The school claimed the mythical state championship. Sidney A. Freeman, who would become an Akron optometrist, played tackle next to Knight. Of his teammate, he once said, "Jack was very good. He was aggressive" - thus pinpointing a quality that others, especially opponents in future fields, would also discover. IN IIIGII SCHOOL, Knight was no stranger to high-spirited fun. The late Ray C. Sutliff, then a student but a later city editor of the Beacon Journal, saw him and two classmates parading through the

As early as 1954, saying it would "grow and grow and never obtain a definite objective, " John S. Knight oppo.sed the warm Vietnam.

halls at Central in full dress white tie and tails - the result, Sutliff heard , of "a be!." ApparentIy, Knight and his two friends lost. His schoolmates assumed Knight planned then to follow his father into Journalism and , at the time, that assumption seemed justified. The personnel records of the Beacon Journal show that he first became a regular employee on June 15, 1914 - a week after graduation. He entered Cornell University at Ithaca, N. Y., in the fall but continued to work a t the newspaper each summer and during holiday periods. But at Cornell his life plan took a different turn. He said in later years: "My ambition was to go on to Harvard Law School and become an attorney." World War I changed that direction, too.

Mr. Knight at Akron's Portage Country Club, 1932

C. L. WAS a man of strong opinions who made no attempt to conceal his emotions. Each Friday night he held a poker session at his home. IT his luck failed, he would storm away from the game and, in a quiet corner, read the Bible for an hour - even if he professed to be an agnostic. Although vilified by "patriots," he opposed U. S. entry into World War I on the side of the Allies, predicting this would result only in deaths, disillusionment and debt. He felt no satisfaction seeing his forecast come to pass. His son, 40 years later, would be faced with much the same situation - and make a similar deci-

sion. As early as 1954, saying it would "grow and grow and never obtain a definite objective," John S. Knight opposed the war in Vietnam. ONCE AMERICA was In the conflict In 1917, the elder Knight supported the war effort wholeheartedly; so did his firstborn . The latter, then a junior in college, returned to Akron and persuaded a friend from grade school days to join the Cornell Ambulance Unit with him. The unlt was attached to the French Army. They were outfitted with sky-blue uniforms by an Akron tailor. A farewell party lasted too late. The two overslept and missed the train from Cleveland for Ithaca. At Knight's suggestion they sent the French uniforms back home and enlisted at the nearest Army recruiting station. After eight months in France as a sergeant in an ammunition train (Motor Transport Corps), he went to the infantry officers' school at Langres. He emerged as a second lieutenant and was assigned to the 113th Infantry of the 29th Division. A transfer to the Army's air arm, for which he had applied while still in the States, came through at last. When the war ended, Knight was in training at Tours as an aerial observer a nd machine-gunner. KNIGHT OBVIOUSLY believed that manliness embraced strength of arm as well as strength of charAkron Beacon Journal

Conllnued on page ,


"JSK beJieved in good training, and after the B J moved into the new building at East Market and Summit Street (above), he started weekly staff meetings to put across some of his ideas. " - Ray Sutliff


Akron Beacon Journal


John S. KnIght with his step-grandson, Robert Leslie Craig Jr., in 1949. Craig now lives in Texas.

Continued from page 7 acter. He made the boxing team of the Transport Corps . Describing his first bout in later years, he said: "I crawled into the ring and looked over and there was a guy with tattoos a ll over his arms and a cauliflowered ear - an oid hand. I didn't win , but I stayed the full six rounds." He reiated, with relish, an incident from the days when John S. Knight Jr. - "Johnny" - was a student at Culver Military Academy . Another student treated him with contempt and finally called John Jr. an unacceptable name. "What did you do then'" his father asked. "I flattened him ," said Johnny. In the Army, too, he learned another form of self-defense, the theory of probability - the odds in crapshooting. He was an apt pupil. "I sent home about $5 ,000 in money orders in the two years I was over there," he once said. "I came back and enjoyed that." WHEN THE winnings were gone, he pondered going into industry or raising callie (C. L. had a iarge farm near Hudson). But , as he toid it, " My father was very anxious to have me go into the newspaper business - and pursued this very avidly . I finally said, 'Well, I'll do it on two conditions.' He asked: 'What are they" and I said , ' U I don 't like it I can get out and, number two, if I'm no good at it, I get kicked out.' So we made the deal." During his first years at the Beacon Journal, as he said : "I wrote sports and politics." Then, by turn, he served as news editor, makeup editor and, beginning in 1925, managing editor. C. L.'S FINE hand could be seen behind his son's decision to stay in the newspaper business. He had given him responsibility at a tender age. In 1911, when the plant moved from Main and Quarry to a new building on the northeast corner of East Market Street and Broadway, you ng John was assigned the task of buying a new press. "It did not turn out to be the best press we ever had," he noted in 1976, "but it was an interesting experience. " His father wanted him to become a fine golfer either because of family pride or because prowess on the golf course then was as advantageous to a businessman as a big cash surplus. The pro at the Portage Country Club had John wear a coat even in August heat to correct a too-high backswing. In subsequent years he won the club championship six times and, on one occasion , shot a 67. HE DID WHAT an executive of a Republican newspaper in a medium-sized industrial city could be expected to do in the Roaring Twenties. He was active in veterans' organizations and in the county GOP, joined the downtown Lions Club and, in 1925, became its president. It was all part of a pattern - like white shirts and a dark, well-pressed suit. In the meantime, he met and

Presenting the Knight Trophy at Ascot race track near Akron In man'ied (Nov. 19. 1921) vivacious Katharine "Kitty" McLain of Massillon. They had three sons: John S. Jr.; Charles Landon and Franklin, usually called Frank. This was a happy time for Knight. The di路 rection of his life was set. He had no thought then of becoming a press lord or of entertaining the world-famous in his home. Kitty and the boys were enough. THE "CRASH" of 1929 involved for him much more than the stock market and the resulting great business depression. His wife died on Jan . 16 of tha t year. Knight never entered again the house where they lived on South Portage Path at Norway Drive, a decision he later would regard as "a mistake." He might have recovered from his grief with less pain 1r he had. Early in his career he won not only the respect but the admiration and loyalty of the news staff and the printers. They at first thought he was standoffish. After becoming aware of this, he called a staff meeting . "I'm not the back-slapping type," he explained. "Sometimes I wish I were."

his secretary or somebody tipped us that he was reading a journalism book a week and then passing on the highlights of each one to us. "He was fair and never vicious in his criticism, always constructive. He flubbed at one session, though . Eddie Gioss had "Titten a darn good story about something and everybody was expecting JSK to lay on the praise quite heavy at the weekiy meeting. But he never mentioned it.


Banks were shaking in a financial earthquake. The voice of social reform was loud, but the words were not clear. The Beacon Journal was locked in a life-and-death struggle with the Akron Times-Press, a Scripps-Howard newspaper - and it was loaded with debt. "Now that the old man is gone," one Times-Press official is reported to have said, " let's get Jack."

SUCH AN AMBITION seemed a ttainable at the time. C. L. left an estate of $515,000, most of it in "THE NEXT morning , JSK Beacon Journal stock. John had to came out and apologized to Gloss borrow money to pay his inheritfor his oversight and showed him ance tax. He was not "the rich the notes he ha d made for the man's son" some imagined. "What meeting. There was mention of the I inherited," he once remarked, story. He had just overlooked it. "was an opportunity." On the next Saturday there was a Knight already had shown abil$2.50 raise in Eddie's envelope." ity as a newspaper builder. His faDorothy Doran, not long out of ther looked upon syndicated enterOhio State, was writing news fea- tainment features as " flotsam and tures In 1929 when a notice went jetsam which neither amuses nor up on the o[fice bulletin board of instructs an understanding mind" an opening as radio editor. Hope- and often omitted comic strips for fuls were to send an application to days at a time to make room for Knight. " Why don't you try?" a weighty articles. secretary asked Miss Doran. "Oh, As the younger Knight took on that's a man's job," she replied. more and more of the nuts and "He WOUldn't be interested in me." bolts operations, the newspaper But Knight was ahead of his sprouted syndicated columns and SUTLIFF, the retired Beacon time in the matter of equality for additional comic strips. Journal ci ty editor and political women , too. Dorothy Doran served Earlier, when the Times-Press writer who died on June 11. 1980. as radio editor of the Beacon Jour- had relinquished an Associated for 14 years before leaving to nal had recalled: "JSK believed in Press franchise acquired with othgood training, and after the BJ join a New York advertising firm. er assets of the Akron Evening moved into the new building at Times, he grabbed it without conON SEPT. %i, 1133, Knight had sulting his father and then institutEast Market and Summit Street (in 1928) , he started weekly staff need of all the good will acquired. ed a late-afternoon edition. The meetings to put across some of his On that date, C. L. died. The elder outside sheets were printed on ideas. At these sessions he ex- son now was responsible for the green paper. pounded on some phase of journal- Beacon Journal and its survival. C. L. scoffed at the gaudy "night ism and then passed out praise and He faced great obstacles. The na- final " but when circulation rose at the bottom of the tion rusted criticism to the staffers." Cendnued on next page "Several months went by before worst de press ion in its history.

The Beacon Journal was locked in a life-anddeath struggle with the Akron Times-Press, a ScrippsHoward newspaper -and it was loaded with debt.

Akron Beacon Journal


(',ontlnued from previous page

sharply, he remarked, "Son, for all I care, you can make the damned thing red, white and blue."

"Son, for all I care, you can make the damned thing red, white and blue. " c. L. Knight

IT WAS John who proposed building a new plant at East Market and South Summit streets. He solved a short-term cash crisis after C. L.'s death by giving employees half their pay in scrip accepted at business places that owed the newspaper advertising bills. The Toledo Blade was winning its competitive battle with a Scripps-Howard newspaper, the News-Bee. Knight talked to its editor, Grove Patterson, a friend. "It's not what we're doing," Patterson said. "It's what they're not doing." The News-Bee had cut expenses and it showed - in reduced local news coverage. The Blade expanded. THE TIMES-PRESS, too, had retrenched. Knight became aggressive. He spent more money on new features and a larger news staff. His editorial policies reached a new high of popularity in a changing political climate during a protracted strike in 1936 at Goodyear. A former mayor, C. Nelson Sparks, wanted to organize a citizens' Law-and-Order League and break up the picket lines. Knight wrote a front-page editoriai declaring, "We need no vigilantes here." The Times-Press reprinted the editorial on its own front page. In this trying period, Knight had the support of renewed domestic happiness. On Jan. 24, 1932, he married Beryl Zoller Comstock, the daughter of a millionaire Chicago coal operator. Tall, prematurely gray and strikingly beautifui, she was a divorcee with one daughter, Rita. Early in her marriage to Jackson Comstock, later a rubber manufacturer, she had lived in Akron. BY 1931, Knight was well on the way to winning the newspaper "Battle of Akron." He came under the eye of Smith Davis, an exstockbroker turned financier who, in that year, completed refinancing the Brush-Moore newspaper chain in Ohio. He urged Knight to buy the Miami Herald, whose aging founder, Col. Frank B. Shutts, was in a mood to sell. Knight told him, according to Davis, that he didn't want to buck the tabloid Miami Tribune owned by Moses L. Annenberg of Philadelphia, a graduate of the old Chicago circulation wars. "And, besides," he added, "I have no ambitions outside of Akron." In a 1945 Saturday Evening Post article, author Jack Alexander wrote that after Knight traveled to Miami in 1937 to see about buying the Herald, "he went to the Mayo Clinie in Rochester, Minn., hoping that the doctors would adYL,e him his heart would not stand up under added strain (of running more than one newspaper). The clinic verdict was that his heart was perfectly sound."

Akron Beacon Journal


COL. SHUTTS, originally an Indiana lawyer, had bought the Her-

Former President Harry S. Truman and John S. Knight In Miami, 1954 aid in 1910 with the backing of Henry M. Flagler. The Miami population then was 5,500. It had grown to 110,637 in 1930 and would reach 172,172 in 1940. The colonel was asking S3,000,000. Under Knight's guidance, attorney C. Blake McDowell of Akron negotiated with Shutts and pointed out some weaknesses in the latter's sales argument. The price was lowered to $2.4 million. Knight bought. James L. Knight had trained at the Beacon Journal under his brother's business tutor, John H. Barry. He was dispatched to Miami to see that "no one walked off with the paper." As he told others, "There was nothing worth walking off with." But the Herald did have a lead of about 10,000 in circulation over the Miami News. "I THEN WENT AHEAn," John S. told an interviewer in 1966, "and bought the Miami Tribune from Moses Annenberg. The Tribune was a lively, sprightly tabloid.

It had some good reporters and some excellent features. I hired about five members of the staff. The News made no corresponding moves."

Part of the purchase price of the Tribune was a newspaper which C. L. had bought years before, the Independent a t Massillon. The Herald paid off the $2 million loan - most of it secured by the Beacon Journal - in "a few years." Within 10 years it had more than twice the circulation of the News. KNIGHT'S ACQUISITION of the Herald established what Jack Alexander and others would call "the heir principle" by which he got good buys in newspapers because the owners saw in him a vigorous successor who could be depended upon to keep the property alive and its reputation untarnished. Col. Shutts felt that way - so would Edward D. Stair. But before Stair and the Detroit

Free Press entered the picture, Knight made what might have been the most personally satisfying deal of his career. In 1938, the Scripps-Howard organization decided that the only way the Times-Press could become profitable would be to achieve a newspaper monopoly in Akron. It made an offer to buy the Beacon Journal - which Knight rejected, saying, "I won't sell." After a time, the Scripps representatives answered, "Then we will." An American Newspaper Guild report in that year said Scripps-Howard got 38 percent of the stock in a newly named publishing company. It wasn't until 1968 that Knight Newspapers Inc. purchased that 38 perc('nt - for 58 million. TIlE BEACON JOURNAL moved from East Market and South Summit to the Times-Press building at East Exchange and South High streets, which had the facilities for printing a Sunday edi-

At one point he was asked If, in his opinion, the News should be sold to a Chicago resident. His answer was. "Yes, if he is a qualified o!,erator." Asked if he wouid move to Chicago if the News were sold to him, Knight answered. "Akron is my home." They sold him controlling interest anyway. for $2.1 million. TIlE GROWTH of Knight Newspapers 1nc. after that time became one of the marvels of U. S. Journalism. although Knight, in 1959, sold the Chicago paper to Marshall Field. He detailed the reasons for the sale in a 1966 TV interview in Miami: "We used to make there an average of $1.25 million a year after taxes . . . but my ambition was to buy the Chicago Herald-American, a Hearst paper. I intended to put the News and that paper together and this would have made the largest evening paper in America. And also give me an entrance into the Sunday field through the HeraldAmerican. "At that time Mr. Hearst was more interested in cash than the stock participation I offered him . . . . 1n the meantime. I found that I needed about $15 million for new presses . . . and furthermore, I conduded that the six-day evening paper (the News) must eventually trend off since there is so much emphasis now on Sunday." Field bought the News for $24.050,000 cash.


BY Knight and his brother owned the Charlotte. N. C.• Observer and the Charlotte News. Knight Newspapers and associates also had four other Florida newspapers: The Tallahassee Democrat. and the weekly North Dade Journal, Coral Gables Times and Florida Keys Keynoter.

Preslden' Lyndon B. Johnson and Mrs. Johnson v1s1& Mr. Knight In Akron, 1964 tion. Until then, the former had been a six-day paper. Aware of protests in some quarters about the "unhealthiness" of "a one-newspaper town, " Knight offered to sell the East Market plant and equipment at a reasonable price to any citizen or group who wanted to set up another daily publication . There were no takers. His next move was to resign from the county Republican executive committee. From that day forward, "the one newspaper" carried no political label. IN DETROIT, two years later, the 81-year-old Stair was getting ready to retire. He had published the century-old Free Press , a morning paper. for 34 years and wanted it placed "in good hands." Particularly. he wanted to avoid passing on the paper to a political publisher . He knew that Knight had made the Herald and the Beacon Journal politically independent and that he had passed up chances

to run for governor of both Florida and Ohio. Knight's distaste for politics and politicians. in the main . sprang from C. L.'s activities in that field. " 1n 1920." he said , "my father was elected to the Congress of the United States but he was an instinctive rebel and he found Congress very unimpressive. So after one term. he ran for governor of Ohio (second in a field of nine). "Having been associated with him in those years. and noting the type of people who surrounded him in politics, I achieved a great distaste for the thought of ever running for political office. although he encouraged me to do this." AFTER A SERIES of talks with him. Stair sold the Free Press to Knight for $3.2 million , taking his notes for all but a down payment of $100,000. Others were willing, even eager. to pay much more. Knight changed the Free Press from a rock·ribbed conservative

organ into one reflecting his own brand of liberalism. The gains in circulation were startling. 1n less than four years, the notes he had signed were retired from earnings, far in advance of the "pay up" dates. On one occasion. Knight described himself as "a true liberal; one who is liberal with his fellow man."

THE HEIR PRINCIPLE came into piay again when Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox died in April 1944 and his Chicago Daily News went on the block . It had become run down because of his long absences in Washington. But many WOUld-be buyers turned up. Knox. in his will. instructed the executors to sell to the bidder they considered best qualified to carry on the paper's character and traditions - not just the one offering the most money. Knight was examined by the ex· ecutors for more than two hours.

Edward D. Stair, publisher of the Detroit Free Press, wanted to put it "in good hands" when he retired. He sold the paper to John S. Knight for $3.2 million.

1n 1969. the Macon Telegraph and the Macon News. the Boca Raton. Fla., News and the Phlladelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News were added to the KNI family. A giant expansion step came in 1974. Knight Newspapers and Ridder Publications, with 19 dailies in 10 states, merged to form KnightRidder Newspapers. Both Knight and the Ridder interests agreed to divest themselves of broadcasting affiliates as part of the merger. For some time. Knight Newspapers had had an interest in WAKR in Akron and in radio stations at Dayton and Dallas. (The corporation since has added new television, book and visual technology interests) . Knight became editorial chairman and a director of the new company. TIIERE WAS an intervai in this success story when once again Knight served his country in time of war. He agreed to go to London and was there in 1943 and 1944 as liaison man for the U. S. Office of Censorship with the British Ministry of Information. His job was to smooth out difficulties between the two agencies as they arose. He acAkron Beacon Journal Continued on next page


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The worth of Knight's articles as judged by his peers was clearly established in 1968 when he won the Pulitzer Prize for his editorial writing, based on a series of his "Notebooks. "

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Continued from previous page complished this a nd - in the process - came to have a high regard for the English. After his return to this country, there was talk - from both shores - that he would be pleased to be appointed ambassador to the Court of St. James. He squelched that by declaring, "Nobody would think of giving me a diplomatic job. I'm too outspoken." During the rinal days of the war in Europe, he suffered one of the hardest blows of his priva te life. Knight was playing golf at the Indian Creek Country Club in Miami with three friends in late March of 1945. He had just driven off the 10th tee when his brother, James, came from the clubhouse to tell him that John S. Knight Jr. "Johnny" - had been killed in Germany. His namesake, a first lieutenant with the 117th Airborne Division, was in a party of four ambushed near Hullern. He was 22. KNIGIIT INSISTED on completing the round. His score on the par-3 10th hole was 5, but after that he steadied and finished just a few strokes off his usual game. " I played that round," he said, "because I wa nted to hit something. The golf ball would sullice. I felt that I just had to keep going." But for two months he did not go near a newspaper. When he did return, Knight wrote in his "Editor's Notebook" a tribute to Johnny and all the soldiers who would never come home again. The "Editor's Notebook". . he began to write this weekly editorial to which he signed his name in 1936 because the economic and political upheavals of the time invited comment. He dealt with whatever subjec t happened to be stirring in his mind when the typewriter beckoned. He meant the output to be pallid in comparison with the thundering writings of his father , but, as one writer said , " 'The Notebook' has a fairly high indignation content week after week." As the number of papers under his control grew in number, so did his infiuence upon public opinion. " The Notebook" was never syndicated . It appeared in Knight newspapers and in others at the request of their publishers. " U I started writing it for a syndicate," he said, "I might feel a measure of restraint." He wanted to be free to exercise his own philosophy and prejudices. The worth of his article as judged by his peers was clearly established in 1968. In that year he won the Pulitzer Prize for his editorial writing, based on a series of his "Notebooks." With oniy a few breaks in continuity, he wrote his editorial for nearly 40 years. The last appeared in late 1975. In his early career, he had liked to call C. L. "the last of the personal journalists." IN illS WORKING life, he had many titles. Those closest to him , in a tone blended of respect, admiration and affection, calied him "boss. " He himself said there is no

On the golf course with Richard Nixon in 1959 higher title than " editor." But there was never a time in his most active years when he was not a reporter. As a war correspondent, he covered the Japanese surrender aboard the ballieship Missouri ending World War II and entered Japan with the first U. S. occupation troops. He went to political conventions as a member of the working press. " I let others write about the crowds and speeches and excitement. I go into the hotel rooms to find out what's really going on ."

As a result , at the 1952 Republican gathering, he scored a na tional exclusive by successfully predi c ting that Richard ' ixon would be picked as the running mate for Dwight Eisenhower. He never revealed his source. In 1960, his story that John F . Kennedy had been pressured to accept Lyndon B. Johnson as his vice presidential candidate created a furor. But it was not retracted. PROBABLY the greatest tribute to his news judgment came, aga in, from the Pulitzer Prize comm ittee. Kni ght- Ridder Newspapers a nd

staffers under his direction won 26 Pulitzers, including one in 1971 by the staff of the Beacon Journal for its coverage of the Kent State tragedy the year before. The accomplishments continued to be overbalanced by harsh misfortune in his family life. His son, Frank, was working at the Beacon Journal in 1958, gaining experience, like his father, in every department. A housekeeper found him unconsc ious in the Knight home at 80 N. Portage Path. His parents were in Florida. He died March 9 of that year of a brain

came at the Detroit Free Press in 1970. He gained experience in the circulation and advertising departments, then won twO awards as a reporter. In the summer of 1972, he received the tip that the Democrati c vice presidential candidate, Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, had suffered a nervous disorder. The resulting stories forced Eagleton to withdraw and helped lead the Knight papers to a Pulitzer Prize.

JOHN III TRANSFERRED to the Philadelphia Daily News on Nov. 21 , 1974, as an assistant to the managing editor. He held other jobs in the news department and in November 1975 was appointed director of a project to plan and produce a new, later edition of the Daily News aimed at commuters. Over these years a special relalionship grew up between the grandson and Knight. Through the medium of the "Editor's Notebook" they discussed the campus violence of the '60s and the course of the Vietnam War . They exchanged letters frequently, played golf together and talked for hours. Paul Janensch,then managing editor of the Daily News, said of young John , "He was really a charming guy. He knew who he was. He knew he was an heir to a fortune and to a key job In the organization if he earned it. But he didn 't take himself tOO seriously." It was obvious that John S. Knight hoped through his grandson to see that name kept in lights on the marquee of the publishing world. During the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 1975, In his 23rd-floor suite of the Dorchester apartment building in the center of Philadelphia , John S. Knight 1lI was stabbed to death during a robbery by three men. There were homosexual overtones. At the time, his grandfather was visiting at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin C. Whitehead of Greenwich, Conn. Mrs. Whitehead is a daughter of the then Betty Augustus, widow of Cleveland millionaire Ellsworth H. Augustus . Knight and Mrs. Augustus had known each other for 35 years through a mutual interest in thoroughbreds and horse racing.

Dining with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1955 tumor. When Knight was told the cause of death, he said , " That's what his mother died of. " Frank was 30. Charles Landon - "Lanny" the other son, already knew something of unrelenting fate. As a child his limbs were wasted by polio.

THE MOTHER of John and James - Clara I. Knight - died on Nov. 12, 1965, at her Akron home . She was 95. For a time after his mother's death , fortune seemed a little more evenhanded in its treat ment of

John S. Knight. He grew closer to his brothel' and son. The few honors that he had not already won as a journalist and a human rights advocate were heaped on his shoulders. Then, on Aug . 8, 1974, Beryl, his wife of 42 years, died after a long illness. And there wa s more to come. The news of the death of John S. Knight Jr. in Germany was kept from Johnny's wife , the form er Dorothy Wells of Columbus, Ga. , until after the birth on April 13 about two weeks later - of a boy who was named John S. Knight m.

Knight 's gra ndson grew up in Columbus. After one year i n high school there, he transferred to Lawrenceville School at Lawrenceville, N. J ., to prepare for Harvard. He graduated from the latter cum laude in 1968 with a degree in history , then went on to study philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford U niversity in England , where he earned a master of arts degree, with honors. in June 1970. During high school and college, he worked summer vacations at several Knight papers , including the I3eacon Journal. His first full-time newspaper job

E, J_ THOMAS was asked to tell Knight of his grandson's death. "There's no way to break that sort of news gently," Thomas said. "I just told him . "There was a silence for a moment and then he said, 'Life is pretty tough .' ' 'I'll never forget that. " Knight flew to Philadelphia and then to Columbus, Ga., for the funeral. He could not go to the burial. In a Miami Herald interview on the eve of his retirement in May 1976, Knight told about going to Boston then and checking in - not as a patient - at the Massachusells General Hospital, saying, "I'm here to think . I don't want to be disturbed . "So for foul' days I thought it out." And finally he concluded, " If

Continued on next page

"There's no way to break that sort of news gently. Ijust told him. There was a silence fora moment and then he said, 'Life is pretty tough. ' I'll never forget that. " -

E, J. Thomas

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Continued from previous page

The Poor Richard Club in Philadelphia honored Knight in 1946 for his "foresight and determination in promoting freedom of the press on an international scale."

John S. Knight 11I and I could relive our lives, I can't think of a thing 1 would change. 1 can't think of a time I let him down. So I am not going to adjudge myself guilty. "I am not going to let this thing conquer me," he told Thomas. "I've decided to start a new life." He returned to Florida and 11 days after his grandson's death, Knight announced he would marry Betty (Elizabeth) Augustus. They were wed Jan. 6, 1976, in the chapel of the Church by the Sea at Bal Harbour, Fla. The then Lifestyle editor of the Beacon Journal, Betty Jaycox, described the occasion as "relaxed and happy." They lived in Florida at Knight's home on LaGorce Island and, in Akron, at his North Portage Path apartment. Mrs. Knight died this year on Jan. 1 while watching the Rose Bowl game a t the LaGorce Island home. WHEN HE STEPPED DOWN as editorial chairman of Knight-Ridder in mid-1976 , his title became editor emeritus of Knight-Ridder Newspapers and the Beacon Journal. His decision to quit was called wise by Thomas and others. "The trouble with most men in Knight's position," Thomas said , "is simply that they stay on too long. They think that the business can't run without them. So when they pass on, there is chaos. Nobody can take over." In late years, even old friends say, he became "the new Knight." One added, "He was happier than I'd ever seen him."


Akron Beacon Journal


WIT and sense of humor, which had always been assets, improved. He was watching on television the 1976 Masters golf tournament at Augusta, Ga. The announcer told how the winner, Ray Floyd, had recently quit his bachelor ways and late and liquid hours and taken a bride. "I married at 81," Knight said to the others gathered around the TV set. "I quit smoking and drinking hard liquor. Maybe my golf game is improved, too. See if you can get me a starting time at the Masters next year." He credited his health and vigor then, actually, to his good sense in following the doctor's orders and to his good luck "in marrying one of the finest ladies in the world." THEY SHARED many interests. Knight's Fourth Estate stable owned a dozen thoroughbred racehorses. His future wife specialized in breeding and selling yearlings at her 1,200-acre Keswick Farm outside Charlottesville, Va. Their long friendship ripened when, in 1975, she bought a mare from him and, later, he bought rrom her a foal out o( that mare. He first became interested in thoroughbreds through his rriendship with the late Marshall Field Jr. formed when Knight published the Chicago Daily News and Field the rival Sun-Times. They started the Fourth E.~tate Stable in partnership. Knight berame sole owner after Field's death at 49 in 1965. The stable induded Editorialist, a

Checking into the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, 1945 multiple stakes winner, and War Censor, who won $519,000 in a brier career. Knight was inducted in 1980 into the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame for his contributions to "the sport or kings." In his career he won so many awards and honors, especially in the field of journalism, that they are listed apart from this account on page 23. HE WAS TWICE president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and served the Associated Press in many roles - director, finance committee chairman, executive committee member and vice president (1956). The next year, the AP board hailed him as a delightful companion, a craftsman of the highest type and "one of the world's leading publishers." A longtime member, he was an honorary past president or what is now the Soci ety of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi. He served a term as president of the Inter-American Press Association. Because of Miami 's position at "the gateway," he was keenly aware of the struggle for freedom by newspapers in South America. PHILADELPHIA'S Poor Richard Club, whose members create, buy and sell advertisements, cited Knight in 1946 for his "foresight and determination in promoting freedom of the press on an international scale." Knight disarmed critics by agreeing that he was not an originator but that, in building up the sagging newspapers acquired, he had been an adapter. Those who knew him for many years and others who became friends in his later liIe agree that he was not dominated by a desire for money, but by a determination to publish excellent newspapers. He took great pride in the fact that they were profitable, but largely

berause this was a certain sign of quality. "There is no known substitute on the market for integrity and character," he told members of the New York' State Publishers Association, "and no synthetic has ever been discovered ror guL~." DURING HIS far-ranging career he breakfasted with aU. S. President (Richard Nixon), lunched with a queen (Elizabeth II of England) and dined with many of history's immortals: Churchill, Roosevelt, Eisenhower ... as well as novelists and artists. But the one-time member or the West Side Grays never forgot the town where he grew up - in every way. In 1940, he established what is now the Knight Foundation, in memory of his father. It has provided college aid totaling 5475,000 for 277 young men and women of need and potential.

tributions were made toward the construction of Kolbe Hall. Knight displayed his affec tion and concern for Akron in many other ways, often, again, with an open checkbook. When, in 1975, the clergy and parishioners of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, or which he was a member, wanted to start a "telephone reassurance" program to call people "over 60, with chronic handicaps or illness, and living alone," he donated S22,OOO to establish the program and meet costs for the first six months. In 1969, while he was still serving as president of the Knight Foundation, the Akron Art Institute asked for 510,000 to redecorate and refurbish its rooms. He offered $50,000 - to be used for endowment only - if the institute would raise a like amount. It did. HI<: WAS a proponent of the formation of the United Fund on the foundations of the old Community Chest and was an original board member. On March 29, 1974, he received the organi7.ation's distinguished service award . As early as 1954, when he saw that Akron was losing ground in the struggle for economic growth, Knight wrote what became a famous front-page editorial titled "Akron, Let's Go." He conduded: "Either we are determined to have a growing, thriving community, or let it go slowly backward by default." This "handwriting on the wall, " as some called it , led to the formation of the Area Development Committee, which brought in important industrial facilities. He was the keynoter when Citizens for Progress was organized. KNIGHT WAS honored this month for his long service to the Akron Community Trusts, a charitable organization he helped found in 1955. In May, he was presented with two honorary doctoral degrees from Wayne State University and the University of Detroit. Knight accepted the degrees during the sesquicentennial of the Detroit Free Press, of which he also was editor emeritus.

THE FOUNDATION, together with Knight and his late wife, Beryl, and the Beacon Journal Publishing Co., gave just over $1 million to the University of Akron during building campaigns. The foundation, in 1977, granted $195,000 to build an open walkway connecting the E. J . Thomas Performing Arts Hall and Guzzetta Hall; in 1968, Mr. and Mrs. Knight gave $400,000 for the construction of the Clara l. Knight Plaza and fountain at Thomas Hall, the largest individual gift of that building drive. A year earlier, he turned over the Knight home at 80 N. Portage Path to the university. It was sold to a developer for 5155,000 and the money used for the hall project. During the campaign for funds to build what is now Warren Leigh Hall on campus, Knight pledged $150,000. The auditorium in the building is named for him. The Beacon Journal Publishing Co., as far back as 1952, gave 520,000 to get the Memorial Hall project orr the ground. Other con-

He remained a partisan but a critic of newspapers to the last and a foe of any politician not on the up-and-up. "A newspaper is many things," he said in late years. "It informs, it entertains, it offers opinion on public questions. "But its first responsibility is to print the news and do it without fear or favor." In a speech at the Akron Press Club awards dinner in November of 1977, he said, among other things, "Newspapers have berome dull and unattractive" and added, "If it were not for the press, the rogues in government would steal it ail." The boy who once shouted "extra!" on election nights had a full, rewarding and sometimes hard and disappointing life. But he had the fortitude to embrace the philosophy of "Don't be afraid of change." In the case of Jack Knight, the last two words of that quotation could be eliminated.

'J keep thinking how proud his father would have been about Jack's achievements' - Columnist James Reston

Tributes from the men and women who knew him well

" .. I have always had the greatest admiration and respect for him as a person and for his abilities. "

From staff and wire rePOf"'tl

John S. Knight was a man to stir the affections of interna tiona I leaders, fellow journalists, friends and the people who read his paper but never met him. One after another, they took time after learning of his death to renect on the importance of the editor from Akron. "The free press of the world will miss him ," said Henry Ford n, retired chairman of the Ford Motor Co. James Reston , a New York Times columnist, said, "I keep thinking how proud his father would have been about Jack's achievements in building one of the remarkable newspaper associations in this country 's history." Knight 's father, the la te C. L. Knight, was editor and publisher of the ' Akron Beacon Journal, the newspaper his son would use as the founda tion for what is now Ameri ca's largest-c irc ulation newspaper group. Former Ohio Gov. John J. Gilligan called John S. Knight " the most impressive single figure in journalism that I've encountered." Reston said, "Jack Knight befriended me when I was a boy, playing in the Ohio Ama teur Golf Championship at the Portage Country Club - so many years ago I can't remember the year - and I looked up to him all the rest of his life. " He was a reporter's publisher because he never forgot to be a reporter and he never left you in doubt about his opinions, which were strong and sometimes printable. " Allen H. Neuharth, who worked as a reporter and editor for Knight Newspapers in Miami and Detroit from 1954 to 1963 and who now is chairman a nd president of Gannett Co. Inc., said: " Jack Knight was one of the great journalists of all time. Not only did he build and guide a splendid newspaper company, but, more important, he taught genera路 tions of journalists to share his un路 stinting commitment to accuracy and professionalism. And that legacy lives on inside and outside his company ." Said Henry Ford, "I was very much saddened to hea r of the death of John Knight . He was a


Henry Ford II

Receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Kentucky In !!ISO longtime friend. I very much regret his passing. I was with him only last month. I have always had the greatest admiration and respect for him as a person and for his abilities." Financial analyst Sylvia Porter, a syndicated columnist and close friend of Knight's, said, "For me, Jack Knight will never die. He was a magnifi cent example , for all journalists , of integrity a nd imagination. " I was a friend of his going all the way back to the beginning of my career. He and I used to argue about the subjects of the day. He

was an admirer of people who had something to say. "I'll never forget him; I just loved the ma n." GILLIGAN said Knight 's greatness came from " his enormous talent and his absolute determination to use it for community betterment. " " He was straightforward ," said the forme r governor , speaking from his vacation retreat in Leland, Mich. " He might disagree with you, but he would never take a cheap shot. It was a touchstone of his approach that he wrote his

opinions in a signed column." Knight's "Editor's Notebook " column won a 1968 Pulitzer Prize. In Chicago, Russell C. Tornabene, executive officer of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, said, "John S. Knight was more than a successful newspaperman. He was a thorough professional and a model of highest ethit'S. In addition, he was personally a thoughtful human being. " The Society of Professional Journalists, SDX , mourns his pass路 ing, but also salutes his long life Conllnued on ned page

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Continued from previous page and many contributions to professional journalism . :\11'. Knight was twice honored by the society. In 1947, he was elec ted national honorary president, and in 1968 was selected a fellow of the society , among the highest honors in American journalism."

"It's trite to call him a giant, but that's what he was. He was one of the visionary people who saw the role and the mission of the modern newspaper. " -

Keith Fuller

Akron Beacon Journ al


D. J. GliZZE'ITA , 'niversity of Akron president, r eflec ted , "H is dedication to truth as he saw it , his carefull y organized energy and ex路 emplary honesty established him - and his newspapers - as lead路 ers in the Free World. "At the University of Akron. the John S. Knight Audit or ium a nd Clara 1. Knight Plaza and Foun路 tain speak daily to the honor of this man and his mother . The university is honored to remember him and thank God that he was one of us." John Feudner, executive director of the Ak r on Co mmunit y Trusts, of which Knight was a cofounder, and retired chairman and president of the M . O'Nei l Co .. said : "Mr. Kni ght 's death is a great shock and a tremendous loss to the community. Without any question in my mind , he was the most outstanding leader and ci tizen of this community and certainly one of the great leaders in this country . " Just last week at the annual Akron Community Trusts meeti ng, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award . which is a highly coveted award. He was in his usual good spirit at the time. " Mr. Knight was one of the founders of Akron Co mmunity Trusts in 1955. He was a great supporter of Akron Com munity Trusts as well as the entire community and he will be missed." Leading newspaperme n across the country hailed John S. Knight as both a friend and a legend who set industry standards for integrity and professionalism. POLITICAL LEADERS who sought his counsel sa id he was an independent thinker and a fairminded man. "Reacting to Jack's death is like r eacting to the death of Marconi in the field of communicat ions," Assoc iated Press president K eith Fuller sa id . "He was a founder and pioneer. "\t's trite to call him a gia nt. but that's what he was. He was one of the visionary people who saw the role and the mission of the modern newspaper. " Alf Landon , former Kansas governor and 1936 presidential candi date , sa id tha t a lthough Knight was a Republican , Kni ght newspapers remained "prett y much independent with Republican leanings. In a day when the papers were lined up on party issues, the Akron Beacon Journa l was pretty much independent with a broad view of sound and better government. " Katharine Gra ham, chairman of the Washington Post Co. , ca ll ed Knight " one of the few towering figures in then newspaper industry ." " He combined editorial excellence and business acumen in a unique way, and his personal zest

John S. Knight with columnist SylvIa Porter at a dinner in 1972

WIth former Goodyear chairman E. J. Thomas on Mr. KnIght's 85th birthday

HHehad some of the best counsel of any

pers0l! I camem contact with. He was interested and knowledgeable in worldwide events. " -William B. Saxbe

for life overcame all obstacles," Mrs. Graham said. Mrs. Graham recalled a discussion with Knight that, she said, characterized his feel for the common man . "We met him in Nassau," she said. "We were talking about people who had private planes. He said he thought they separated you from people and that's why he didn't have one." " He's almost too big in this business to describe, " said Daniel J. Warner, editor of the Lawrence (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune and a former managing editor of the Akron Beacon Journal. "He had beautiful instincts and impeccable values. And he made you always want to reach out. . . . He was an incredible man." U.S. Sen. John H. Glenn , a Democrat, said he followed Knight's column in the newspapers before meeting him about 12 years ago. '" was an admirer of his," said Glenn. "He was one of the leading figures in the whole news field. He was more than a manager. He was a man of definite and well-thoughtout opinions which J came to respect." Former U. S. Attorney General William B. Saxbe said, " He had

Continued on page 1S

NGLYF.N CAO KY (left), just elected vice president of South Vietnam In U67, greets a group of visiting Americans. They Include (from left) Oregon Gov. Thomas McCall; David Sulllvan, an AFIrCIO vlcc

president; Eugene Patterson, Atlanta Constitution editor; WhItney M. Young Jr., president of the Urban League, and Mr. Knight, president and editor of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Akron Beacon Journal


"To me, he combined the best qualities of a publisher: The business acumen ofa publisher and the zeal and skill of an editor. " - Barry Bingham Sr.

Akron Beacon Journal


Mr. Knight, James L. Knight and others watch Akron Mayor Leo Berg start


Beacon Journal's new presses, 1954

"I don't know any finer journalist. He had all of the qualities of an honest, fine and clever journalist. "



\J " ,:1 W


- William Randolph Hearst Jr.

With Ohio Gov. James A. Rhodes at a 1'75 luncheon that focused on the development of downtown Akron Continued from page 17

some of the best counsel of any person I came in contact with. He was interested and knowledgeable in worldwide events." BARRY BINGHAM SR" former publisher of the Louisville CourierJournal and a friend of Knight's, said, "To me , he combined the best qualities of a publisher: The business acumen of a publisher and the zeal and skill of an editor." "The passing of Jack Knight ends an era In the newspaper in路 dustry , for he was one of its giants," said Cleveland Plain Dealer publisher and editor Thomas Vail. William Randolph Hearst Jr., chairman of the executive committee of Hearst Publications, said he knew Knight well enough to consid路 er him a "Dutch uncle." "1 don't know any finer journalist ," Hearst said. "He had all of the qualities of an honest , fine and clever journalist." Frank Batten, head of Landmark Publications, which includes the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, called Knight "probably the most respected newspaperman in the country." R. Victor Dix, publisher of the Wooster (Ohio) Daily Record, said Knight's death was "a loss not




Ohio Senate resolution The Ohio Sena te honored John S. Knight, editor emeritus of the Beacon Journal and Knight-Ridder Newspapers, in a resolution citing him as " one of Ohio's finest citizens, whose contributions to the newspaper industry and the people of Ohio are immeasurable." The resolution, sponsored by Sens. Oliver Ocasek, D-Northfield; Kenneth R. Cox, D-Barberton, and Marcus A. Roberto, D-Ravenna, ca lled Knight "a only to newspapers but to freedom of information as well." Despite his widespread commitments, both pers6ilal and professional, John S. Knight was rooted

giant among his peers" and an "honest, articulate guardian of the free press. " "In his long and distinguished career, John S. Knight set a national standard for journalistic excellence," the resolution said. "John S. Knight will not only remain an esteemed figure in the history of American journalism, but his memory will also live on through the loyalty he displayed to the Akron community." in the community where he began his newspaper career. Akron political and business leaders , as well as personal friends, recalled the qualities that

made Knight such a large figure in local affairs. Knight, for example, was in a few words a ble to make a lasting impression on State Sen. Oliver Ocasek. Ocasek, D-Northfield, remembered introducing a resolution lauding Knight for winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1968. Such resolutions, Ocasek said, are standard boilerplate in the alla!rs of the Ohio Senate, and are used to honor winning high schoo! football teams and other local notables. Ocasek visited the Beacon Journal after passage of the measure, and presented the document to Knight. Ocasek remembered that Knight scanned the paper and said, "Oliver, there is a mistake here," referring to a minor grammatical or spelling error. Ocasek said he then responded to Knight by calling him "a great journalist . . . and a perfectionist." RAY BLISS, form er national chairman of the Republican Party, said he had not seen Knight for several months but had expected to see him at a breakfast gathering on June 19. "A man of tremendous capacity and ability has passed trom the American scene," Bliss said. "John S. Knight's many construc-

Akron Beacon Journal

Continued on next page


"He was always interesting and exciting. The other night he came here for dinner and was out there hitting golf balls over my trees. " -Dr. James Claypool

Knight asked more of himself than he asked of others Lee Hills, the first chairman and chief executive of KnightRidder Newspapers Inc. and an architect of the b'l'OUP's development as one of the country's largest newspaper companies, called John S. Knight one of journalism's "greats." Hills retired in April, leaving his positions on the KRN executive and operating committees and his position as ed itorial chairman. He continues to serve on the board. " Journalism has lost one of its greats in the death of John S. Knight, a giant a mong his peers," Hills said. "Few American newspapermen of his time were so highly respected. " He had done it all - reporter, editor, commentator, businessman, publisher.

"HE BELIEVED fiercely that newspapers must be independent, both editorially and economically, and that is the wa y he ran his. He practiced his profession with passion , energy and courage. "He lived a full life, blessed

Continued from previous page

Akron Beacon Journal


tive contributions to the newsprint world, his energetic support of good government and his very tangible support of so many civic endeavors stands as a monument to his dedicated interest in his fellow men." Bliss said Knight assisted him in his rise in the Republican Party. "Very prominent editors would say, ' Jack Knight speaks highly of you .' That was a tremendous assist to me in my political career, " Bliss said. "He was. . definitely an independent Republican. He supported a cause because he believed in it. There was never an inch o[ phoniness about Mr. Knight." John Ballard , former Republican mayor o[ Akron, called Knight "a giant in journalism . Ballard said Knight's many activities, which orten took him far

With then-Miami Herald Managing Editor Lee Hills in New York, 1946 early and late with great happiness, but also marked repeatedly by personal tragedy. Those blows, however, never shattered his spirit or diluted his zest for lire. "Jack Kni ght was a demanding leader , and he demanded more from himself than he exacted from those around him. His enormous sense of integrity touched and enhanced the lives of hundreds of journalists and millions of readers. He left a legacy o[ excellence. "Restless and never satisfied,

from Akron , did not diminish his feelings for this city. "Knight always had Akron close to his heart," Ballard said. "He did so much for the university (of Akron) and for all facE'ls of life in the community. " He was very honest, straightforward and knowledgeable. 1 always admired him very much." Former Goodyear board chairman E. J. Thomas, a close friend and associate of Knight's for 50 years, called Knight "a man o[ great stature, great ability and great vision. " "We lost one of our really great men - and I've lost a really close friend," he said.

Bl:SINESS U:ADER O. Pendleton Thomas, former chairman of the board at 13. F . Goodrich, said that everyone who ca me in contact with Knight benefited. "I've never known anvone who was so genuine and who -knew the

he worked to improve himself, his newspapers , his communities and his country, and each gained strength [rom him .

"LONG AGO, he began transfelTing power and authority in Knight Newspapers 10 younger men, gradually giving up all 0 [ficial titles ' a nd letting others carryon the responsibilities of the news paper organization which he and his brother, Jim , had buill. "Over the years, he was accorded virtually every honor

problems of the people in this nation ," Thomas said. " He had great character and integrity. " Another Akron industrial leader , John D . Ong, c hairman of the board of B. F . Goodrich , last saw Knight one week before his death. "I guess the thing that comes to mind is that here 's a man that really founded a national company and built it into what Kni ght-Rid der is today, yet he still had a substantial tie to Akron," Ong said. "He was v itally involved in causes peculiarly oriented to his town. It was typical of him." Personal [riends said Knight was always vital and brimming with ideas. " He was always interesting and exciting ," said Dr. James F. Claypool , an Akron dentist and close personal friend .

that a newspaperman can rece ive, including the Pulitzer Prize for editorial commentary [or his famous 'Editor's Notebook .' which he wrote for nearly 40 years. "In a career covering much o[ the 20th century , John S. Knight left an indelible mark on America n journalism. He lived to see the newspaper group he founded span the continent as Knight Ridder. He will have a lasting effect on those newspapers and on his profession. His will be a continuing presence."

"The other night he ca me here for dinner and was out there hitting golf balls over my trees. " He said , 'We should start playing again.' " He always looked to the future and didn 't worry about the past. "

DR_ (JERALD AUSTIN, a physician and personal fri end , also said Knight always looked ahead !'ather than dwelling on the past. " To the very end o[ his life, he was optimistic and interested in what was going on," Austin said. "He went to work every day (and) had an extraordinary ability to make the best o[ all situations." C. C. Gibson , a [or mer Goodyear executive and now president of the Knight Foundation , said Knight's greatest contribution locally was his leadership at the newspaper. " He was always quick to take the leadership role for the good of the city and the people who lived here," Gibson said.

u â&#x20AC;˘ . I never saw him in 52 years mistreat anybody. I've seen him cry over people. We had people who were ill and he took care of them."

-Ben Maidenburg U. S. Sen. Hubert Humphrey with Beacon Journal publisher Ben Maidenburg and Mr. Knight In Akron, 1972 By Ma.rilynn Marchione and Rick RelfI Beacon JOU rMI staH writen

Retired Akron Beacon Journal publisher and executive editor Ben Maidenhurg, who has spent his life working with words, said he couldn't Hnd the right words to describe how he felt when he heard of the death of the man he said

was "like my father." Stunned by the death of John S. Knight, Maidenburg choked back

tears to describe his 52-year association with the legendary newspaperman.

"It's just unbelievable that he's gone," Maidenburg said. "I had lunch with him last week and he was just fine. U's a terrible thing to sit and talk about him. I'm crying."

MAIDENBURG said Knight was "as kind a man to work for as anybody could have been." "His ability as a newspaper publisher, I think, goes beyond anybody. living or dead, " he said. " He made every newspaper he touched. He was honest with the reader, honest with everything. "And he was a friend, too. 1 never saw him iii. 52 years mistreat anybody. Just the contrary - he went out of his way to help people. "I've seen him cry over people. We had people who were ill and he took care of them." Maidenburg said Knight had "a

An editor's grief expressed in tears tragic life " and deeply grieved over the death of his wile, Betty, on New Year's Day this year. U[ DON'T THINK he ever did (recover from her death), " Maidenburg said. "When 1 saw him recently he told us - there were tour of us there - 'I get up every morning and 1 cry. Mter 1 cry I straighten myself out and go about my business.' "He had three wives and they all died on him. A boy killed in the war. Frank, (another son) who practically died in my arms," said Maidenburg, recalling how he accompanied the young man in a n ambulance to the hospital, where he later died of a brain tumor. Maidenburg said Knight had a deep love for Akron, retaining an interest in local matters even after he became involved in the newspaper group that bore his name. "You can 't separate the names Knight and Akron, " Maldenburg said. "He always was back here. He spent summers here, he always had a home here. His father d\d, his mother did, his sons grew up here.

" He never considered any city besides Akron his home. He always insisted the Knight Foundation maintain Akron as its home forever, and this in the face of suggestions it be moved somewhere else. "Take a look at Cascade I who do you think made it possible? He went to (Columbus developer John W.) Galbreath and got him to put up the building. He's the one who got the rubber companies to take out leases to guarantee it was successful. " Maidenburg said Knight had an equally deep love for the Beacon Journal and regarded it as "his baby, his child." " Many times when he was in Miami, he'd find a typographical error in the Beacon and he'd ... (send it) back with a red pencil mark around it," he said. "I don't know if he ever did that with another paper." MAIDENBURG said people often wandered into the newspaper with a complaint about delivery or another gripe and be surprised to

suddenly find themselves talking personally with Knight. " It happe ned a few thousand times," Maidenburg said. "Listen, there's one thing he always had a list of telephone numbers (of Beacon Journal circulation managers). People called him (to compla in about a missed delivery). He never separated himself from the newspaper. He took care of it. " When he was in Miami, I used to write to him several times a week about things that most people considered miniscule. He let them (Knight-Ridder officials) know that the Beacon was the progenitor of the whole thing. "EVERYONE understood that, everyone appreciated that. There were efforts made to reduce the importance of the Beacon in the Knight chain, but he wouldn't permit it. "During the Depression when all newspapers were cutting down, the Beacon hired people. He did that on purpose." Referring to their personal relationship, Maidenburg said, "I've said this a thousand times, and 1 will say it again: I don't know anybody who likes to work for another person; I don't think the human being is built to do that. Animals are and I'm no! even sure they like it. "But Jack Knight is the only person I ever worked for whom 1 really enjoyed working for."

Akron Beacon Journal



His awards The Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing won in 1968 reflected John S. Knight's far-ranging interests and the depth of his concerns. The prize was based on a series of weekly signed editorials in "The Editor's Notebook" that appeared in Knight newspapers. In the editorials, Knight dealt with numerous topics, many of worldwide importance, others relevant primarily to his own city. BEFORE and after his Pulitzer, his work in so many fields and on so many fronts resulted in many more awards, including : Syracuse University School of Journalism medal for distinctive achievement in newspaper pu blishing; Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for journalistic achievement from Colby College (Waterville, Maine); Frank M. Hawks Trophy for services to a via tion; Uni versi ty of Missouri honor award for distinguished service; Sigma Delta Chi, public service in newspaper journalism; La Prensa Award for Inter-American relations, Rio de Janeiro; Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, outstanding alumnus; Daughters of the American Revolution national scholarship in the name of John S. Knight; Freedom Award and Honor Medal; Lianza Inter-American "Man of the Year." OTHERS were America's Foundation Award; University of Missouri School of Journalism Hall of Fame; Governor of Ohio Award; Columbia University Maria Moors Cabot Medal for the advancement of internal friendship in the Americas; National Conference of Christians and Jews, Brotherhood Award; Ohio News Photographers, Robert S. Carson Award; Society of Industrial Realtors, Industrialist of the Year ; Eleanor Roosevelt Israel Humanities Award ; John Peter Zenger Award; University of Arizona Journalism Department Award; Gallagher Report "outstanding newspaper executive" in 1963 and 1970 ; Freedoms Foundation George Washington Honor Roll ; Theta Sigma Phi, for distinguished service in communications ; William Allen White Foundation Award; Institute on Man and Science Communications; National Press Award; Ohio University's Carr Van Anda Award; Bert A. Polsky Memorial Award ; Akron Interfaith, for distinguished citizenship, and the Matrix Table of the Akron Club of Theta Sigma Phi. IDS OFFICES included chairman of the newspaper industry committee of Project Hope ; Chicago chairman of the National Conference of Christians and Jews; director of the New York World's Fair; trustee of the National Jewish Hospital; trustee of Cornell University and of the University of Miami (Fla.); presidential councilor of Cornell ( membership held for life) . He was awarded honorary doctoral degrees by the University of Akron, Northwestern University, Ohio State University (a scholarship was established in his name at Ohio State) , Kent State University, the University of Michigan, West Virginia University, Oberlin College, the University of Kentucky and, in the month before his death, from the University of Detroit and Wayne State University. In addition, he was a member (for more than 40 years ) of the Wendell L. Willkie Post of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Portage Country Club in Akron, Burning Tree Golf Club in Washington and others.

"Knight always had Akron close to his heart. " - John Ballard

We will~ miss him greatly. John S. Knight was an unusually talented, perceptive and dedicated newspaper editor and owner. His success at his chosen field was well established and well known - both here in his hometown of Akron and throughout newspapers across the country. He was an aggressive newspaper competitor. In 67 years and a day in this business, he built this newspaper into a strong daily operation striving always, as he put it, "to print the news and do it without fear or favor." But he also branched out beyond Akron's borders and gradually developed one of America's great newspaper organizations. What began in Akron turned first into Knight Newspapers and then into Knight-Ridder Newspapers, an organization of 32 newspapers with a combined circulation of 3.6 million daily and 4.1 million on Sunday. Along the way, he and the newspapers won every professional accolade that could be bestowed. In 1968, Jack Knight himself won the Pulitzer Prize for his weekly column, "The Editor's Notebook." Tha t track record of success was clear long ago. Wha t may not be so clear to those outside the newspaper profession was why tbose of us in it - who have worked for him or on one of the papers with which he was associated - feel he occupied a special and important place in our business. Some newspaper publishers in this country have only been interested in the bot-

An editorial AKRON BEACON JOURNAL Founded April 15, 1839

C. L. KNIGHT. Publisher. 1907-1933

John S. Knight, Oct. 26, 1894 -

tom line - the amount of the paper's profits. Not Jack Knight, however. He wanted his papers to make a profit, because he knew they could not survive without that. But he believed strongly that the way to make a profit was to publish the best possible newspaper. And so his emphasis from his early days at the Beacon Journal was on quality, the presentation of news and ideas, and on integrity. "There is no known substitute on the market for integrity and character, and no synthetic has ever been discovered for guts," he once told a gathering of publishers. He had the courage to speak his mind even when what he said was not popular. He was, for example, an early and strong opponent of American involvement in Vietnam. He lived to see his convictions proven right on that score. Those of us at the Beacon Journal or other Knight-Ridder newspapers knew him in other ways as well as an unusual owner-editor. His style as captain of a growing group of newspapers over the years was never that of a Hearst; he did not attempt to impose his own editorial

June 16, 1981

ideology on each of his newspa pers. There were never any cables from Akron or Miami ordering all the papers to endorse a candidate for president. Jack Knight believed fiercely in the editorial independence of each newspaper; he took pride in their diversity of opinion. He was always a strong exponent of good, clear writing, and he read his papers carefully. A writer would be cheered by a clipping with a red pencil notation, "Well stated," and the familiar initials, "JSK." Those outside the newspaper knew that he believed deeply in the community, and especially in Akron. Akron was always his hometown, despite the growth of the organization that expanded his sphere of interest. He was generous with his own time and money in doing those things he thought could help the community; he liked to see progress. He created the Knight Foundation and endowed it well so that his success could continue to encourage progress and improvement long after his death. During his life, he gave much of his energy and his resources to the development of the Akron area.

Cascade Plaza in downtown Akron became a reality because of his commitment of time and money. He helped the growth of the University of Akron. He and the foundation he created gave generously to a wide variety of civic endeavors; a recent Knight foundation gift was $150,000 toward the development of the new Akron Art Museum. His enthusiasm and devotion to the annual United Way campaign were unbounded; the success of that campaign, he felt strongly, was a mark of a good community. Despite some searing personal tragedies, his life was rich and varied. He knew presidents and princes, but he also would stop to chat with a cub reporter. His political insights were keen, and he scooped the nation's press time after time on national politics, even in his later years. He gave up his weekly column several years ago, but he maintained a keen interest in world events and politics. Political campaigns brought out the reporter in him; they were like a horse race, and one consuming hobby was the raising and racing of horses. But his chief devotion throughout his life was to newspapering - and to the end he fretted daily about how to make newspapers more interesting, more vital, more relevant to the lives of their readers. That is why those of us who knew him in this business will miss him, but will never forget John S. Knight and his lifelong dedication to excellence. June 17,1981

The code we try to live by Editor's note: The guiding principles and policies of the Akron Beacon Journal stem not from expedience but from the newspaper's heritage. They are a constant, even in a changing world. And the death last week of the man who did so much to shape those principles will not change their application. On Feb. 7, 1943, John S. Knight's "Editor's Notebook" provided a forum for him to discuss this matter with his readers. The excerpt printed here contains the salient passages.

Akron Beacon Journal


The Knight newspapers strive to meet the highest standards of journalism. We try to keep our news columns factual and unbiased, reserving our personal opinions for the editorial page, where they belong. It is true that we make mistakes. So does every other newspaper that isn't afraid of its own shadow. When our facts are shown to be faulty, we make amends cheerfully and resolve to do better next

time. You don't build great newspapers on sloppy journalism. Our newspapers . . . ha ve never been run by the board of commerce, the retail merchants association, the manufacturers, the banks or the labor unions. We do not operate them in the interest of any class, group, faction or political party. As my late fa ther said so appropriately many years ago: "We are ourselves free, and our papers shall be

free - free as the Constitution we enjoy - free to truth, good manners and good sense. We shall be for wha tever measure is best adapted to defending the rights and liberties of the people and advancing useful knowledge. "We shall labor at all times to inspire the people with a just and proper sense of their own condition, to point out to them their true interest and rouse them to pursue it." JOHN S. KNIGHT


These pages reflect the changing face of John S. Knight's Akron Beacon Journal By l'au1 A. Poorman Editor of the Seacon Joumal

Jack Kni ght managed to get through ~l of his 86 years without my acquaintance. and that 's one of my major regrets. Oh. 1 knew of him. all right. 1 spent nearly 10 years competing against his Detroit Free Press. so 1 was well aware of who he was and some of the things he was up to. 1 met him once years ago in an elevator at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington. but he didn't remember it. He was talking with Clare Boothe Lute at th e lime. and didn't seem impressed to be in the presence of the managing editor of the Detroit News. The next time we met was in Miami, when he and others We'"e talking with me about the Akron Beacon Journal and the prospe{'ts of my coming to work here. That conversa tion was my first indica-

tion of just how special Akron was to him. and of how closely I'd he as.,ociated with him after 1 ca me here. "I sometimes make suggestions to the editor." he remarked in a classic understat ement. "Maybe you would consid er me a pr:oblem ." 1 said no. 1 wouldn't consider him a problem, just a fact. ANI) A FACT he was. A living. breathing. octogeneria n fact who came to the of lice every day, read the paper and olfered suggestions at a rapid pace. Jack Knight built the nation's premier newspaper or-

ganization with sharp business sense but still considered himself an editor and talked to me as one editor to another rather than as a proprietor to an employee. He was obviously proud of the Kni ght路Ridder newspapers. a nd sensitive about the size of the organization at the same time. And he absolutely detested thf' word "chai n" in connecti on w ith his organization.

A consummate perfectionist with a sense of humor I knew th at -

every ne wspaper

orga nization hates to be called a chain - but it was hrought sha rply home one day when we carried a short item on the business pages abou t a Knight-Ridder dividend. Incredibly, we referred to,it as the "Knight-Ridder chain." When the first edition came up, a couple of us collided in the hall wa y in a rush to have it changed . When I returne(l to the office, there was .John S. Knight. looming like a thunderhead, with the offending clipping in his hand . 1 exp l a in ed it was being changed. and that it would never happen again, of course. As he was leaving my office. he spun on his heel and said: "Well, il a chain is as strong as its weakest link. we 're in tl'ou ble in

Akron." 1 got the point. ONE TIIINB 1 hadn't r ealized before I came here was how dose his office would he to mine. Right next door. in fa c l , and th e six months of the year he spent in Akron he was very much in evidence on a daily basis. Not long after I came here. I got a ca ll from a fellow Knight-Ridder editor, who had bcen a colleague of mine long ago on another newspaper. lie welcomed me to the gr oup. and told me how much I'd enjoy being an ed itor in this organization.

"They really leave you alone,"

my office and into .Jack Knight's office next door. "Oh." he replied. " Well . it works fine in Philadelphia." It worked line in Akron. too. He was a careful and critica l reader of the Beacon Journal, but that's just part 01 the Ahon landscape. Every reader we have puts his 03 1' in . .Jack Knight was no except ion. He was critical of the same thin gs other readers find to remark on. He didn't like sloppy newspapering, poor ed iting, incomplete reporting. small type sizes or long stories. And he made it deal', in the few years I knew him, that he thought good newspapers wou ld be successful newspapers. With minor disagreements, we got along fine. He was the consummate perfectionist. and it is possible that many people who, over the years, heard him give apparently off-the-cuff remarks to audiences. didn't know how hard he worked at saying the right thing. It was my privilege to sit throu gh a num ber 01 the dress rehearsals. and read some advance texts. He lussed over them , and wantl'l.1 to make sure everything was right. I remem bel' one speech where. listing his precepts for the good life. he had written "Observe the Ten Commandments." In pencil, in the m~rgin. he had written " not al-

working lor a large newspaPer orthem." Well, I said , that's line. and good to know as I sit here looking oul 01

- John D. Ong

He did spend some time in Detroit - and in Chicago, and Miami and Lexington and other towns where Knight-Ridder newspapers now flourish. And the best times were when he'd pause in his stillbusy schedule and begin reminiscing about newspapering in the days before I was born. The man had done it all and had done it well. The opportunity to listen to him talk about it ranks as a high point in my own newspaper career.

His specia l feeling for Akron was obvious. too. The Beacon Journal was the first Knight newspaper, and Akron was his home town. He was proud of the other newspapers, and interested in the other cities. but he cared about Akron. He never denied tba t he had bent evcry effort to improve Akron, and move it (orward , and when in recent years someone would be critical of his heavy community involvement in the past, he'd shrug it off. "Hell, 1 don't care who runs Akron," he once told me. "Just so somebody runs it. It's too important to be left alone." And now he is gone, only a short time after the death of his beloved Betty.

AS A )fAN, he had known his share of SllCCess in Ihis life, and his share of sadness. He was lOugh. hut he also had a sense of

OTHI<:R..<; ARE writing of Jack Knight's place in American journalism, and of his myriad accomplishments. For me. I can only say that for a brief time he was a friend of mine, and I'll miss him. As one editor to


another .


he sa id . "You'd never know you're ga niz.ation. You never heal' from

He tolerated my ignorance of horses and horse racing, although plainly he thought something was missing in my upbringing in this regard. And he was unsympathetic with my distaste (or Ohio winters. " I spent some time in Detroit, too. you know," he'd say. "And that's no tropi ca l paradise, either."

"He was vitally involved in causes peculiarly oriented to his town. It was typical of him."

Akron Beacon Journal


THe first 'Notebook'

"1 won't always deal with serious things. Some days there might be nothing to write about but a tree on a hill." - JohnS. Knight

It started modestly - almost apologetically - under the letters on the Beacon Journal editorial page of Dec. 2, 1936. "The Editor's Notebook:" said the headline. And an insert said: "The cartoon by Ed Reed formerly occupying this space will be found today on the first page of the second section." It was all one item. "One wonders why the Better Akron Federation didn't iron out its problem with the labor unions long before the time for holding the annual Community Chest drive had actually arrived." Four more paragraphs, then: "We're inclined to feel that the labor unions are on good ground in demanding representation. It's only human nature when a workingman kicks in with a day's pay that he should want to know something about what happens to the money. He'll undoubtedly find things run to his general satisfaction but he's going to feel a lot better

The writing editor March 2, 1952 - The best newspaper crusade is not sensation mongering but simply printing the truth. Nov. 20, 1955 -The old-fashioned editor had his faults but he never had to hire a foundation to tell him how to run his newspaper. Dec. 28, 1958 - I have been gratified by the number of letters expressing both agreement and disagreement. . . . Bouquets and brickbats are always welcome. The fan letters are pleasant reading; the brickbats teach humility. Jan. 3, 1960 - There aren't many of us writing editors still around. In fact, Grover Hall of the Montgomery Advertiser once called me as rare as a whooping crane. Incidentally, Grover doesn't think much of my column, either. But I cling to the old-fashioned view that editors are supposed to have opinions. So I express them. July 2, 1961 - A recent Gallup poll reveals that nearly half the people favor government censorship of radio and television, and nearly a third believe in censorship of newspapers. They forget that every dictatorship in history has used censorship to conceal the truth from the people. Nov. 26, 1961 - Having lived under 12 presidents and known seven of them, served in two World Wars, experienced both good fortune and bad, knocked around the globe a bit and seen most of the great and near-great come and go, I find life is still the exciting adventure it has always been.

Akron Beacon Journal


Nov. 22, 1964 - During the laudatory speeches about my 50 years in journalism, I kept thinking that we are frequently given too much credit for our accomplishments, but find only a limited understanding of our failures.

for the knowing. J .S.K." Less than 300 words, and no clue that this was the birth of a column that would run nearly 40 years and win a Pulitzer Prize. When Beacon Journal Editor John S. Knight started the feature, he planned to run it daily - and for a time he did. " I won't always deal with serious things," he said. "Some days there might be nothing to write about but a tree on a hill." At first it was largely local. As the number of papers with which he was involved grew, he picked broader subjects , and shifted to writing weekly. Week in and week out with rare exceptions, he told readers, directly and simply, exactly what he thought. On March 30, 1975, at 80, he reluctantly signed off under doctor's orders. This four-decade torrent of forthright talk defies summarizing, but here are samples of his views on a few of his thousands of topics.

For almost 40 years, Knight wrote it as he saw it Oct. 13, 1963 - All experienced newspapermen know that "off-therecord" conferences are devised to deceive and misinform the people. Jan. 17, 1965 - The bar associations which are presently recommending "guidelines" for the conduct of the press might better employ their talents in the policing of their own members. May 2, 1965 - Today's press is certainly cheating the reader in the humor department.... There is precious little in our newspapers to make a man laugh. And he wants to, you know. March 13, 1966 - No responsible journalist enjoys belaboring government policies merely for the sake of controversy. Unbridled and irresponsible criticism can be as harmful to the national interest as remaining silent when it is endangered. April 23, 1967 - The current public opinion polls dutifully printed in our newspapers are quite meaningless. In these times of rapid change, public opinion switches from week to week. March 16, 1969 - At times the newer breed of reporters is more concerned with reforming the world than in reporting it. Sept. 21, 1969 - Often readers complain about editorials as being biased or slanted, forgetting that they are reading opinion and not the World Almanac. Aug. 23, 1970 - Modern journalism needs more editors and

broadcasters who understand and carry out their newsgathering responsibilities, and fewer impressionables who are flattered by official invitations and "beaten to death," as Ed Lahey used to say, "with lady fingers." Feb. 24, 1971 - If your daily newspaper depresses you, try reading the sports section first. It is also a good way to keep up with Vice President Agnew's golf game, and much safer than being with him on the same course.

Try as we may, it is difficult not to become embittered. All of the kindly, sympathetic words we have spoken to others now taste like ashes in our own mouths. Perhaps it is always that way. July 2, 1950 - I am convinced "this is it": If the Reds win in Korea, a series of similar "tests" in other parts of the world will lead to an open break between the United States and Russia. May 9, 1954 - Do the interventionists believe we should draft American boys for jungle war in Indochina when the French use only regulars and volunteers to protect their own interests? Aug 9, 1964 - As one who has consistently opposed our unilateral involvement in South Vietnam, I now rise to cheer President Johnson's immediate retaliatory action against North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Our wars

Civil rights

Dec. 24, 1939 - The flower of Europe is being sacrificed for the glorification of mad and fanatical rulers. It is a struggle without hope, a conflict without principle. Dec. 14, 1941 - For nearly two years, we have heard a great deal about planes on hand and tanks on order, about the strides we are making in national defense . .. in short, about how good we are. Now that we have met with a major reverse, this would seem to be the time to stop boasting and get down to business. April 22, 1945 - News report: First Lt. John S. Knight Jr. was killed on March 29 near Haltern, Germany, while leading a small reconnaissance party on the right flank of the 17th Airborne Division's drive on the Westphalian capital of Munster .. . . Johnny is gone.

June 10, 1945 - The Negroes cannot be shunted to one side or treated as if they did not exist. Nor should they be permitted to develop intolerance of the rights of others. Aug. 4, 1963 - Why must (civil rights) progress be marred by appeals to passion, mob hysteria, the shabby treatment of James Meredith, the booing of Chicago's Mayor Daley, the rabble rousing in New York, the white hoodlums now reverting to the fang and claw of the jungle on Chicago's South Side? March 21, 1965 - Today's tragedy is that most organized groups - whether they represent labor, the Negroes, the right or the left are against you unless you agree with them 100 percent. It's no good to see their way only 90 percent of the time; that automatically makes you an enemy. April 19, 1970 - Having been

nominated by Women's Lib as "Cad of the Month," I hasten to that I have nothing against women's rights so long as the advocaties stay out of the men's bar and don't clutter up the golf course on weekends. Feb. 8, 1970 - While havi,ng considerable sympathy for parents who undergo the traumatic experience of seeing their children uproloted from past and happy patterns: of school life, it is as plain as a pikestaff that school desegregation is the law of the land and must be obeyed.

~---.--=-~John S. Knight! PrIze For Kni Itt Ne1fspapers And Two Others For g

Our weaknesses Nov. 24, 1946 - When we can raise our intellectual and tolerance levels above the chatter of the cocktail lounge and the gossip, of the Tuesday bridge club, America unlimited is ours. Nov. 23, 1947 - Describiing these times as the "contortiomist era intellectually," Clare Bootthe Luce freely admits her own comfusion. Shouldn't we all be as candlid? Nov. 25, 1951 - The horizom is dotted with television aerials. 'The larders are full. But in the nnad pursuit of goods and gains, is it possible that we have lost something infinitely more precious .. . our standards of morality ,and honor? Aug. 15, 1954 - Six-hour days, annual wage increases, generous pensions and expensive fringe benefits are wonderful while they last. But they won't amount to much when the plant shuts down. April 25, 1971 - The communist dictators .. . could have devised no better way to serve their purposes than the self-defea Ling course we have been on. A nattion divided , cursed by inflation, torrn by strife . And to think that we ' in America, in our innocence cand chauvinism, have brought it on ourselves.

IN 1940 the distinction between Knight and his home !paper had not grown sharp enough for him to feel the need to endorse a presidential candidate in his Notebook. Instead, beside the Beacon Journal's Nov. 3 editorial endorsing Wendell Wmkie, he philosophized to arrive at this point: "Let us determine ... to give the next president, whether he be Wendell Willkie or Franklin D. Roosevelt, our undivided support. . .. Our country will still be here no matter which man is president." But in every presidential election thereafter he stepped up to say where he stood personally - until 1972's, the last before he stopped writing. In that one he couldn't stomach either major candidate. Here's how his endorsements went. Nov. 5, 1944 - Governor Dewey's election will bring a breath of fresh air in Washington and renewed stimulation and encouragement to those of us who still think that America

In 1968 John S. Knight was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing on the basis of his " Editor's Notebooks" of the previous year. "For distinguished editorial writing," the citation read, "the test of excellence being clearness of style, moral purpose, sound reasoning and power to influence public opinion in what the writer conceived to be the right direction, due account being taken of the whole volume of the editorial writer's work." It had been a good year for the Notebook, but for Beacon Journal readers who had followed JSK's comment in the paper for almost 32 years it was the same clear, forceful writing they had always known. Some excerpts: March 12 - To those of us who have long opposed U. S. intervention in Vietnam, there is no solace to be found in our past warnings that little wars have a way of erupting into big ones. The blood, the tears and the sacrifices of our gallant men in the field leave us sick at heart. April 9 - If the young people

A column consistent in its clarity and force of today are different from those of us who accepted the gauntlet without question, it is because they dare to investigate the causes of war and examine its immorality. Vietnam is no blithe adventure, nor is it being fought for a ca use which all Americans can conscientiously defend. Aug. 6 - Public indifference, lulled by years of inflated prosperity, may undergo a change by 1968 as rising protests against war, taxes, civil strife and mismanagement of public business foretell the hour of resentment and discontent. Aug. 27 - On Monday next, a delegation appointed by President Johnson will leave for South Vietnam to observe the

JSK's political endorsements

should be a land of boundless opportunity. That is why I believe America's future can best be served by the election of Dewey. Oct. 31, 1948 - A vote for Dewey is a vote for integrity and a long overdue housecleaning in Washington. A vote for Truman is a vote to continue the blundering of a small-time politician who got into the 路 White House by accident and never quite measured up to the job. Nov. 3, 1952 - The voters will say, with their ballots, whether they will further entrench the corrupt, corroding and cynical party of Truman, or turn with faith and conviction to the enlightened leadership of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Nov. 4, 1956 - It seems unnecessary to repea t here the

reasons why President Eisenhower should be re-elected. They are already well known to the American public. But the compelling reason at this critical period of world history is that Eisenhower, more than any other man in America, is best qualified by training and experience to deal with the Middle East crisis now endangering the peace of the world .... To replace him at this time would be an act of incredible folly. Oct. 30, 1960 - I shall vote for Vice President Nixon rather than Senator Kennedy .... Nixon stands for the kind of America which jeopardizes neither our solvency nor our freedom. Oct. 25, 1964 - By now, it is no secret that I prefer Lyndon B. Johnson over Barry Goldwater for president of these United

Sept. 3 elections .... The Man in Charge, who knows I am no supporter of his Vietnam policy, said in effect that I could write what "I damn well pleased" and that was good enough for me. Sept. 17 - A deluge of questions posed by readers of this column suggests a press conference in print. Topping all other queries - and no ducking, please - is this one: "You have been a persistent critic of our involvement in Vietnam for many years. Have you changed your mind since visiting Vietnam?" My answer is a flat "No." Oct. 15 - With a presidential election in the offing and Mr. Johnson in trouble, the word has been passed to the party faithful to make a show of unity by deriding any who dare to dissent. Mr. Johnson would be better advised if he took the American people into his confidence, rather than turning loose his political headhunters to attack the reputations and impugn the motives of free men in the exercise of their precious constitutional rights.

"'We must never be silent out of timidity or despair, lest those who would reshape the world in our image carry us to selfdestruction. " - JohnS. Knight

States. This preference has nothing to do with personalities. Both candidates are able, courageous and dedicated to their respective beliefs. The issue here - as I see it - is which man is best qualified by experience and temperament to cope with the multitudinous problems which beset this nation. In my mind, at least, that man is Lyndon Johnson. Nov. 3, 1968 - If you have enjoyed the last four years of the Johnson-Humphrey administration, you can get four more of the same under the vice president. But if you think it is time for a change and a fresh approach to our plaguing problems, the choice must be Nixon. Oct. 29, 1972 - I cannot vote for George McGovern, and mostly because I think his election would place shackles on our competitive system. But neither will I vote for President Nixon, because I am outraged by this administration's abdication of moral principles.

Akron Beacon Journal


"No American editor ever achieved more, or stamped his ethos more indelibly upon U. S. journalism, than the man his colleagues called, with respectful affection, 'JSK.' " -The Miami Herald

Detroit Free Press

Gary Post-Tribune

John S. Knight , whose name has been on the masthead of the Free Press for 41 years a nd is remaining there despite hls death on Tuesday, will be remembered as a towering figure in American journalism. To those of us who worked with him, he also will be remembered as a warm, ceaselessly observant and often trenchantly critical boss and colleague. No one ever a ccused him of being shy or retiring, and few of us ever imagined that he would be ho-hum about anything important in his newspapers. . . . Jack Knight was a builder, and hls talents ultimately made him the leading figure in a company that has more daily newspaper readers than any other. But although he held many titles, he was proudest of being an editor. He was a writing editor: one who loved to get a "beat" on hls own reporters, one who set forth hls own opinions in a signed column every week. It did not bother him if hls editors differed with him, or if their editorials and hls own column often were in sharp disagreement. What he demanded was that hls editors be able to defend their own views logically and persuasively. Woe to the editor who tossed out loose, Ill-founded opinions. A terse note scribbled on the side of an editorial and signed "JSK" might blister an editor as he had never been blistered before. But there was no demand for conformity. The associates he scorned from time to time were those he thought had too little conviction, too little concern, too little weight behind what they had to say, or those who simply put out sloppy newspapers. His standards were such that there were relatively few of those.

Once in awhile, a giant falls. In the newspaper industry, John S. Knight was respected as a giant, and rightly so. His death this week at 86 diminishes not just Knight-Ridder Newspapers, and The Post-Tribune which is a part of that newspaper group, but all of American journalism as well.

Joe H_ Stroud, editor, Free Press John S. Knight was a curmudgeon. He loved to banter with people and challenge them. At a party he would hold court. The topiC of the conversation would vary, but the manner of the encounter left an indelible Impression, especially If he chose you for his foil . His columns tended to show that side of him: blunt, sometlmes acid, clear, unpredictable. They also reflected his love of sports, especially horse racing, and his passion for politlcs. He loved to write from personal encounters with public people and from being present at events. This was no ivory-tower editor.

The Miami Herald

Akron Beacon Journal


No American editor ever achieved more, or stamped his ethos more indelibly upon V.S. journalism, than the man his colleagues called, with respectful affection , "JSK ." When he died suddenly on Tuesday in Akron, Ohio, his summer base, JSK left a void that no one else can ever fill, a legacy that no one else can ever bequeath. He was not simply a shrewd acquirer and determined improver of newspapers, although at that he was pre-eminent. He was not simply a journalist of unimpeachable integr ity and unflinching courage, although at that he had few peers. He was not simply a friend, a goad, an exemplar, although his friendship, his goading, his example were as cherished as they were freely given. No, JSK was a journalist, and a human being, who stood for something. Something fine, rare, worth emulatlng. He stood for journalism that is fair, fearless, factual. He felt no qualms beeause his newspapers, thls one included , were quite profitable. He knew that profit ensures independence and the ability to send reporters to cover the news wherever and whenever it happens. As his newspaper empire grew, he hired the best journalists he could find and let them decide their own editorial policy . He might (and frequently did) disagree, but he did not dictate from afar.

Tributes to an

editor by his peers Rolfe Neill, publisher Charlotte Observer Jack Knight 's monument is that he improvE'<! every newspaper he ever acquired . . People still ask about him with fondness. They respected, perhaps more than anything, hls informed fairness. To really know the man , you needed to be one of his editors. He was adept a t everything, from shooting dice and raising race horses to making business deals. But newspapers were hls greatest love. To make his papers excelient and to direct them in the service of their readers were his passions. He went about it in a way that Hearst or Pulitzer would never have understood. He hired the strongest people he could find and then gave them their heads and hls backing. 10 19 years' association with Jack Knight, I received occasional advice, some criticism and never an order. He knew that the best pay for an editor is freedom. As a consequence, he read things in newspapers he owned that he did not like and saw editorial positions he would not have taken.

Philadelphia Inquirer He was, before and above aU else, a reporter and an editor. He believed, with a characteristically patient fierceness, that those two roles were inseparable. He believed there was no higher calling on earth. To know and work with him was to be certain of that belief of his, certain that he held it, and held it a bove all other convictions, of which his were many and strong. In hls courtliness, he greatly respected a nd deeply accepted the purposefulness of other strong men and women in an almost infinite number of pursuits, politics high among them. But first and flnaUy, it was to seek the truth and to make fair and intelligent comment upon it whlch most excited and moved him. He was tough, canny and skeptical. He was romantic, in the most positive sense of that word, but he despised sentimentality and mawkishness. He was a man who could and did use words such as ideals and convictions, such as nobility of purpose and integrity, with comfort. The dignity with which he did that stood on a granite foundation of sureness that there are rights and wrongs. He was just as sure that sometimes It is tortuously difficult to draw a clear line between them, but that only amplined the imperatlve to go on trying to do so. He was a taskmaster who knew the folly of purposeless intrusion. He was a leader who knew that to lead is no less and no more than to prevail by example and persuasion. He was a colleague who encouraged dissent and earnest disagreement. He respected and celebrated individuality while detesting hypocrisy and servility.

Macon Telegraph While a good businessman , Knight was first and foremost an editor. He was the winner of the journalists' coveted Pulitzer Prize in 1968 for distinguished editorial writing for a series of his "Editor's Notebook " columns, which ap路 peared in this paper during the 1970s. From his own experience, therefore, he was aware of the need for editorial independence. He left it to local editors to arrive at their own positions on national, state and local issues. At the same time, he stressed uncompromising objectivity on the news pages.

Macon News A great newspaperman left us when John S. Knight died of a heart attack a t age 86 Tuesday. Founder and chief stockholder of KnightRidder Newspapers, whlch includes the Macon News and the Macon Telegraph, he built a financially shaky Ohio paper inherited from his father into the newspaper group with the largest circulation in the V .S. Knight was an editor as much as a businessman; his 40-year column, the " Editor's Notebook," won a Pulitzer Prize in 1968. Feeling that good journalism was good business, he stressed the editorial independence and newsgathering energy of his newspapers - and they have won 26 Pulitzers.

Gil Spencer, editor, Philadelphia Daily News In this business, you usually get to meet some impressive people. I had met a president, some governors, a movie star or two, some fine writers and great newspaper people. And I had stood within five feet of Kelso. But I wasn't ready for Jack Knight. 10 this business, there was none better and few more awesome.

Long Beach Press-Telegram In Akron, Jack Knight's paper struggled, survived and grew. His competitor didn't. He went on to purchase the Miami Herald and ultimately to make it the flagship of the nation's largest group of newspapers in terms of circulation. More important, in doing it he proved that good journalism is good business, that the best way to make money is to make good newspapers. Knight died Tuesday at the age of 86. The Press-Telegram is a member of the Knight路 Ridder group and we feel a special loss. But we know that he is mourned not only in our newsroom but in the newsrooms of our competitors as weli . John Knight's contribution was to ali of journalism.

San Jose Mercury and News John Knight wanted his newspapers to make a profit, and they have done so. But he believed , and practiced, a philosophy that said you succeed in this business by providing your readers with quality journalism. To him that meant thorough reporting, clear writing , accuracy, and editorial independence. He won the Pulitzer Prize hlmself, in 1968, for his personal columns, more important , his personal example influenced genera路 tions of reporters and edi tors who have worked and still work in the security of knowing that what is expected of us is to tell the truth, to the best of our ability.

Helped young people I have just learned of the death of John S. Knight. I know how highly regarded he was in newspaper publishing anti in anal yzing current

events and world arrairs. I would like someone to know what Mr. Kni ght mea nt 1,0 me. 1 was born a nd raised in Akron anrI. as a teen-ager, I ca ddied at severa l area golf courses in the late 'ZOs and early '30s. Mr. Knight was ver~' kind and generous 10 caddies, and I learned about him on the golf course. I was on the first Red Pepper football team sponsored by the I:::!eacon JournaL Here again I learned of Mr. Knight 's kindness and interest in helping young people. I recall :vir. Kni ght providing a job at the Beacon .Journal for Jerry VanSi ckle, a player on the Mooseheart footba ll team from the Moose Lodge home for orphans, which impressed many of us boys at the time. Mr. Knight knew most of the Red Pepper football players and recogniZ!~1 m e fn~lu e ntly. I believe it was in 1933 that I qualified from the Akron district to go to Springfield, Ohio, 10 play for the State Amateur Golf Championship. Mr. Knight came to the tournament. ),;;.lCh time I saw him he had words of encouragement. I won a prize and at the presentation banquet Mr. Knight came to me, shook m y hand and heartily congratulated me. He told me then that if ever he cou ld help me to come and see him. I r ecall how proud I was that a man of Mr. Knight's status would pay that much atten-

tion to me. rour years later, having been accepted to medical school and having no way to pay the costs, I went to see Mr. Knight. I still remember his warm greeting asking what had happened to me since he had not seen me around. I told him I had heen in school and had been accepted to medica l school. but had no money . I believe I was the first rec ipient of a John S. Knight scholarship, whi ch made it possible for me to go to medical school. During medical school he had words of encouragement each time I talked to him . During

World War II he was in London and 1 was in the China路Burma路lndia theat er. I corresponded with him throughout the war. His letters were an inspiration to me . I went to see him after the war and during the years since. We corresponde!1 fr('{luently when he was writing "The Editor's ~otebook. " I got to know Mr. Knight well. He had me to lunch at the Portage Country Club several

years ago - we talked for two hours. It was a great thrill for me 10 be in his company. As you know, he suffered through severa l tragedies in his family, The recent death of l3etty Augustus Knight was a cruel blow. He had lost a companion . I'm very saddened at Mr. Knight' s dea th. I will miss him , not because I saw him so often, but because of his spirit. I am very proud of his friendship. WILLIAM CATAI.ONA, M.D. Muscatine, Iowa

Tribute from a dissenter All the tributes are in by now and John S. Knight is gone. So let me , as a long-t ime dis"''"ter, add my modest wreath to his muchd"eorated bier. It is true enough that in his prime the man was a keystone in the arch of the establishment. And it is true that he once petitioned the government to try me for sedition because I had editorially castigated that government for eonnivance in the Pea rl Harbor atrocity. It is also true that I have been criticized by tradi tional radi ea ls ( which I am not ) for shedding my anti-Knight bias. He and I corresponded in recent years and he was kind enough to read my novel about Akron's rubber workers even when he was suffering from shingles. He a nd Mrs. Knight received my nephew, Dan Lias, in their Por-

crowd for some perceived popularit y value.

Readers salute Knight's memory tage Path home. The old man questioned the young man , tolerantly, about my current philosophies. John S. Knight wasn't born to power, lie work,,) energetically for its acquisition, struggled for it, earned it. As Akron people tend to he, he was a fighter not easi ly put off or put down, Mostly he had a mind. He had a dear mind like a honed blade - not a muddled megalomania like Hearst or a buffoonish bluster like McCormick. It was a mind that deserves to be remembered. I think .John Knight tri ed to be a fair man and many times succeeded at it. In my case it came late, l3ut it ca me, and I am grateful for it. I3URR McCLOSKEY Dallas, Texas

Fdicor's oo/r.': McCloskey , once iI socia list orgnnizer in Akron. is now .1 free路Jan('(! writer. His novel, " He WiJJ Stay Till You Come," is ha.w'rJ 00 tht' rise to strength of Akron 's rubber unions.

Never be afraid JSK is ' dead , but can any man die whose words and beliefs live on in the eyes of men. This DepreSSion newslx)y first met John Knight in 1936. In the following -15 years, he had much public and personal correspondence. The crude art-cartoons whi ch I sent to him always brought a gracious, gentlemanly letter. If I learned one lesson of life from Mr. Knig ht, it was this: Stand tall, hold your head high, chart your course in life - success or failure - yet never be afraid of what others

He practiced personal journalism. He was a perfectionist. \"0 error was too small for him to detect and correct. He was alert to what was best and what he deplored as unacceptable in th e newspapers that were his love. He was a disciplinarian and yet a thoughtful and compassionate man. His example was one to which a ll who chose his profession ca n look with pride for having done so. Given the times in which we live, we may never see anot her of his achievements pass our way again. CLA YTON C. HORN Uniontown ~'rlilor 's note: A11'. Horn is ,1 former eliitor of the Cc1 nton Reposito/'y and retired ex(}clItive editor of Thomson-H1'Ilsh-Moore Newspapers.

A fine leader When I learned of .John S. Knight 's death , it was as if I had lost a friend. Though I never met him I loved him for the qualities that made him great. He epitomized integrity and pursuit of truth . I am just sorry that I never wrote to him to tell him how I felt. Ameri ca and the l3eacon Journal have lost a fine leader, JANE HESSTN Silver Lake

An institution in Akron It was with sincere regret and unhappiness that I learned of the passing of MI'. John S. Knight. Mr. Knight was a veritable institution in the Akron area and contributed tremendously to the profession of journalism as well as the newspaper industry as a whole. His passing represents a loss to the ci ty as well as the newspaper profession. Temple Israel and I join the Beacon .TournaI and Akron in sincere sympathy. As we say in our tradition , "May the memory of the righteous be for a blessing." RABBI MARK A . GOLUH Temple Israel , Akron

"What he demanded was that his editors be able to defend their own Vlews logically and persuasively. Woe to the editor who tossed out loose, illfounded opinions. " - Detroit Free Press

Sage of this era It is with heartfelt sympathy that we join the family and friends of John S. Knight in mourning his passing. To many of us he was the sage of this era. Over the years his "Notebook" was not only educational, but also a joy to read. MRS. ORVAL A. F'RANTZ Akron

may say or do. Press on toward the ('lerna I mark. LARRY TAYLOR CRAMER Akron

A great man I was sorry 10 hear that John S. Knight is gone . He was sllch a great man. 1 will never forget him . KARI::l'\ S. PATIF.RSO\" Akron

A giant in his profession As a neighboring journalistic contemporary of John S. Knight, I have observed for almost a half-cen tury his growth in stature as a giant in his pI'()fession . He was an editor in the truest and most respected meaning of the word. He carried no label - conserva tive 01' liberal. lIis independence dictated only a quest for the truth and the

courage to print it. He was his own man. No politician could find him predictably supportive. Issues were analyzed and positions tak en for what he concluded was in the best interests of his community and his country, 'II was nOI in his nature 10 run with the

Fellow newspaperman As two journalists who knew him well and him not only as their boss but as a fell ow newspaperman , we mourn your loss. With our condolences, KEYES BEECH Los Angeles Times DON OBERDORrER Washington Post reven~1

A giant among men The departure of John S. Knight from thp scene will be regrel1ed by all. In all respects ,

he was truly a gia nt among men. In an era when too many newspapers failed to live up to the highest standard s of journalistic fairness a nd object ivity, Knight and his papers insisted upon the strictest adherence to those standards. Whenever others oversteplx!d the bounds, Knight took vigorous objection. On the domestic and world scene, also, he was no less outspoken when he felt the situation demanded it. WILLlA:vI R. BROWN Pittsburgh

Akron Beacon Journal


"1 don't believe in cheating, 1 believe in competition, mental and physical, but 1 play the game by its ru1es . .. " - JohnS. Knight

Editor's note: Daniel H. Neuharth, then a visiting assistant professor of journalism at the University of Florida, conducted one of the last interviews with John S. Knight in October 1978, two days before Knight 's 84th birthday. Neuharth, now completing a year on the staff of the CoJJege of Journalism and Communication at the University of Florida , is the son of AJJen H. Neuharth, once an executive at the Detroit Free Press, a Knight-Ridder newspaper, and now chairman of Gannett Newspapers. Here is an edited transcript of tha t taped interview of Mr. Knight by the younger Neuharth.

By Daniel H. Neubartb Knight·RidcMr


I expected some frailty. He had told me over the phone he had both a cold and a persistent attack of the painful shingles. But when I arrived at his corner office in the Akron Beacon Journal. I met with no frailty. Instead. Knight's brilliant, piercing blue eyes and his strong, steady voice that came forcefully from low In his chest. I recall my first thought: "If I can be this alert, this alive at age 64 - let alone 84 - I have nothing to fear from growing old." Equally strong and unfrail was his wit. He talked nearly without prompting for four hours in measured, efficient language, the kind of language politicians rehearse and writers rewrite a dozen times for. In March of this year, I saw Knight again in a Washington hotel - or more precisely heard, then saw, Knight. He was talking with a group of newspapermen about the Washington Post and the Janet Cooke incident, firing off one-liners. I thought then that he was as strong and vital as he was 2~ years earlier. I thought he would live forever. AT THE University of Florida, outside my office, Is the red-brick John S. Knight and James L. Knight courtyard, where students gather 10 times daily, before going to their reporting or writing classes. 1n those classes, I and others try to impart a bit of the old gentleman's magic - as much as we understand it. We'll have to try harder, now.

Q. What do you believe In?

Akron Beacon Journal


A. I'm an individualist. I know what I know, I know what I think. I'm not afraid of anybody. I have my own code, how I live, and I live up to it. I've never intentionally done anyone a disservice, unless this person was avowedly out to do me in. I don't go around undermining people, trying to hurt them in their jobs_ I don' t go around repeating rumors about people I've heard. I don't believe in lying, I don't believe in cheating, I believe in competition, mental and physical, but I play the game by its rules . I guess I belong to a disappearing class. If somebody comes in and says, "Oh, you should have heard what somebody said about

ticipate in most of our business matters that ca me up, but this wasn' t my primary interest. Q. What was your greatest strength, that got newspaper owners to sell to you \' A. I don't want to be immodest , but I think I convinced them first of my capability. Second, I was completely direct with them. Take a case in Deu·oit. ED. Stair. Year, 1940. Crusty old fellow , banker, rough, on the exterior anyhow. I got to know him and like him. So one of the knockers he shot at me was, "They teli me you're not the man your father was. " And I said, " Well, Mr. Stair, you're absolutely right. I'm not. I lack a lot of his great qualities. But if I may immodestly recite, I would like to tell you what I consider to be some of my attributes." Well , that disarmed him, telling him I'm not, have no pretentions to be, I'm different, also have something to offer. I found that just being direct and honest with him . . . I bought the Free Press for ton Post was for sale In 1t33, a $3.2 million and there was $500,couple of years before you bought 000 worth of newsprint in the basement, I don ' t know whether he The MIami Heraldl' knew that or not. A. No. He loaned me the money to buy his paper. I don't know what the Q. Would you have considered quality is, but I don't walk into a It! Would you want to own a paper man's office with a briefcase full In Washington, D.C.\' of figures. Now where people blow A. No. I'm not temperamentally deals . . . is when four guys in suited for Washington. I dislike black suits and briefcases walk Washington. I dislike anything that into the owner's office and say, reeks of phonies and insincerity "We're here to buy your paper. " and shenanigans and double-deal- Of course he recoils. It's an art. ing and all that kind of thing. I sa w too much of that when I was a Q. Tell me about the Chicago kid. Dally News. You made the highest offer! Q. What Is It tbat makes newspaA. That was very interesting beper deals today\' cause the three executors - Annie A. I don't know. It's all changed Knox, a leading lawyer there, and .. The only thing I don't under- the head of the Chicago Ti tie Trust stand is the urge to have so many. - they interviewed me. She Where do you stop? What are you (Knox) wanted to know what I driven by that you want to own thought of the way her husband . . . a hundred newspapers? How (Secretary of the Navy) Frank rewarding is that? See, that's not Knox had run the News. all that rewarding to me. Unfortunately, I told her what I I always said I could run, and I thought. So I lost her vote. Fortuthought this took a lot of crust, I nately, she was more interested in said I could run, guide, let's say, getting the money than in who was editorially, Akron, Miami, Chicago going to buy the paper. and Detroit. When Charlotte (purchase of the Observer) came up I Q. Why did you tell Mrs. Knox said, " Gee, Jim (his brother you didn't like the way her husJames Knight), you run that. This band I'8n tbe paper? is about all I can deal with." A. Because I'm not always disOf course I used to deal on a creet, I'm inclined to be blunt , inpersonal, direct level with these clined to tell the truth, not skillful people . . . We didn't have many enough or wily enough to phrase it committee meetings . . . You see, differently, which I might do toI'm a line man. I've never, I don't day. know anything about, and I detest The general manager for the the concept of running anything by meetings. I don't understand that. News at the time had been selected I belong to the " Hey Joe" by the employees to form a group school. I pick up the first edition of to buy the paper, and they reprethe Beacon Journal in the morn- sented Adlai Stevenson's interests. ing , I see something, I run up in Adlai was to be publisher. They the newsroom and say, "Hey Joe, bid 12, I bid 12~, they bid 13, I bid for Christ's sake, get that straight- 13~ . I ran them out finally. Adlai ened out." See. I like that. I don't Stevenson was a great man. He want to write somebody a long lacked one quality. He didn't want memorandum, arrange a confer- to go the last mile . . . I just inched him up until he quit. ence, discuss it. . . . Today's management is far So we put $2.25 million into the more professional that it ever was paper .. what do you think the under me. I was very frankly an interest rate was'! 2.78. I made editorial man. I was not unaware money every year at the News. We of the value of a doliar, I did par- averaged a million, a million two-

What do you believe in?

. . . 1 just want to have a reputation as being fair and honorable and doing the right thing . .. you last night, " I say, " Well, was it good? If not, then don't tell me." Whoever it was has a right to feel that way, but what difference does it make who likes me and who doesn't like me? It is a great comfort in life to be not afraid of being disliked. I just want to have a reputation as being fair and honorable and doing the right thing. Printing good newspapers, being objective and opinionated. Q. Objective and opinionated? A. Objective in the news columns, and I think editorials ought to voice strong opinions. Q. Is Ula t harder today? A. It's harder to find people who can do it . .. I think it's easier to do it; you've got more targets. Q. Is It barder today to be sure of yourself! A. No. I'm always sure. I know this sounds terribly immodest, but that's the way I live. If I don't know, I say so. If I make a prepared speech somewhere I always make it a point in the Q & A period not to know at least the answers to two things :- even though I know every word of it. I say, "That's very interesting, I should know. I've been derelict about that, but I'll sure know it tomorrow."

Q. Are newspaper editorials less controversial today! A. As a generalization, and it's only a generalization, I'd say yes. I think they're too bland. . I think the papers in larger cities are more aggressive than the papers in smaller cities. Perhaps that's because they're farther removed from their critics. In smaller cities everybody knows where the editor's office is. I used to brag about it. I'd draw a map, show them where it is. "Come up and see me, " because I wasn't afraid of anybody. There are a lot of brave men in type sometimes who don 't like to face the dissidents. Q. DId you know The Washlng-

fifty, not after taxes, You might ask me why I got out'! Q. Why did you sell the J)ally

News In 1969! A. Well, I think I'm rather perceptive. I began to think about the future of the six·day evening newspaper in Chicago. So I tried to buy the American (an afternoon paper with a Sunday edition). , had meetings with Bill Hearst Well, the deal fell through. The Chicago Tribune stepped in and bought it for $41 million cash, which was a ridiculously low price for Hearst to accept. Hearst took S10 million and bought some new presses in Baltimore. And what did he get out of the deal? Nothing. Second biggest city in the country. Well, when all this failed I began to reassess the situation. I thought a lot about the future of a six-day evening in a big city and concluded there wasn't any. So, about this time, Marshall Field (owner of the morning Sun-Times) called me .. I said I'd sell for S24 million. He said, "Gee, that'S great," I almost jumped over the table. , knew he might have some trou· ble because I knew that at the First National Bank they thought this was a horrendous price . . . We had several meetings and he said , "Well, how do you make a deal like this?" , said, "Look , Marshall , it'll be a five-minute deal . .. I'll have the (Knight) directors sitting in one room here. I'll get Jim Knight to entertain them with stories about Florida, which he can do at length. Then, you walk in with the checks, which have previously been made out , and you hand me the checks and I'll hand you the stock certificates. Then we'll go in and announce it and then we'll go over to the Chicago Club and have a few martinis,"

He said , "When do you make a deal?" I said, "During a holiday season, between Christmas and New Year 's, when everybody's drunk, nobody's paying any attention to things like this, reporters are not inquisitive." So I got a suite at the Palmer House, we called a meeting. He came, there were some delays. So , sent word out, "What's the delay?" He said, "I'm having trouble with my lawyers in New York." So , said , "Look, Marshall, I don't know anything about your lawyers in New York but you make this deal today, at this meeting , or there's no dea I." He went out and came back and said , "It's all set." 'said, "How 'd you do it?" He said, '" told them they better approve this deal or they would lose all the Field business." So that's how we made the deal. Q. Before you got Into the "hardball leagues" of the big cities you owned some small Ohio papers, Is that right!

A. In Springfield. Governor Cox owned the Springfield News. We had the Springfield Sun, which was a morning and Sunday. My fa ther had bought it because he thought it would fit in with his statewide p0litical ambitions . It never made any money. So I hired a contractor. loaded

When the Knight papers went public in 1969, did you make any changes? [ told the financial security analysts, "Ladies and gentlemen, [ do not intend to become . " your prisoner. up about a dozen linotypes, a lot of newspaper equipment, engraving stuff, supplies, loaded them up and drove them down to Springfield. Passed out the word that we're going to the evening field. Next day I had a call from Governor Cox. " Want to sell the Sun? " he said. I said, " I don't know , hadn't thought much about it. Matter of fact we were figuring on expanding. " He said, "I don' t think there's room for both 01 us." 1 said , "You think you have the stronger hand," and he said yes. 1 said, "Well, we've got some resources." This went on, finally he and I got together and he said, "Would you sell?" and , said, "Between old Iriends, in deference to my father, we'd consider it." So we sold him the Sun . I had had some trouble in Springfield. , took the title of editorial director. That's where' first thought 01 it. The Klan was very strong down there so they had a big meeting. , was standing out in front of the hotel, the Klan had a big parade, and some guy came up and said, "Take off your hat." I said, "I'm not gonna take ofl my hat." He said, "God damn it, don't you see the flag?" I said, " Yeah, I see the flag , but 1 take off my hat when it's carried by the right people , not by you bums." I didn't take it ofr. It's a wonder I didn' t get bashed . That's youth.

roll?" And he said yes. He didn't know that I, that 1 won a bundle in the Army shooting dice. So I put it in here, rattled it, knocked out an 11 on the first roll. So 1 picked up $10,000. We kept that paper until we bought the Miami Tribune from Moe (Moses) Annenberg, and we traded for it.

ism . I'm not. I think it's a chang· ing profession. I think it's still reo warding people with talent on both sides, editorial and management. I don' t think it's as much fun as It used to be - I think there are too many considered decisions and not enough emotional or hunch deci· sions. Q. If you were going to be celebrating your 25th birthday In !we days, how would you be going about structuring your careerT Wonld you 8tUl go to the same thing!

A. Probably . I would either do that or go into law. Knowing what I do about today's business world, and the regulatory climate about government, I wouldn ' t go into business. It would have no fascination for me at all . I WOUldn't have the patience to work with all those forms and junk . . . . What did stir me up when I was very young, 1 went to a civic meeting down at the club, at cocktail hour. I was In my 20s, I heard a couple of the town's leading citizens. I gathered they were talking about me, and one 01 them said: "Well, you know his father's a great man but that boy, I don't think he'll ever make It. I don't think he's got it." Well, that helped me a lot. I wanted to show 'em.

" .. [don't think it's as much fun as it used to be - [think there are too many considered decisions and not enough emotional or hunch decisions. " - John S. Knight

Q. Wbat about your parents Q. When the Knight chain first went pubUc In U6t were there any changes you had to make In rnn· nlng the company that you hadn't anticipated! A. I don't think there were any. I

made the first talk at the financial security analysts - the last talk I ever made - I was never invited again. My opening line was: "Ladies and gentlemen, I do not intend to become your prisoner." I told them why. I said that as long as I have anything to do with it we are going to run the papers, we are going to spend money sometimes that they wouldn't understand why we were spending it, for future gains, and we did not intend to be regulated or directed by them in any respec t. That's pretty challenging, isn't it? It was the right thing to say, too. Q. Are you concerned about the Ufe expectancy of newspapers, as a business!

A. Well, I think I' d rephrase that. I think I'm concerned about the luture of newspapers. I'm concerned about the loss of readerQ. After you sold Springfield, ship. We, Gannett , other compayou bougbt a smaller paper In nies have meetings, we talk about MassUlon, Ohio! our financial statements, the great A. That was owned by a trio, progress we have made, how evincluding a Jewish gentleman erything 's on the rise. I always say, "On the rise exnamed Bernstein. . I went down there, heard there might be some cept that you're not a growth ininterest in selling, and there was. dustry . . . Show me where you're So, we dickered around on price, gaining circulation. And the rates finally this Bernstein said, "Well, are higher, all the time, and the we're only $10,000 apart. By the the type is smaller. So what you're way, you ever shoot dice?" I said, doing is tha t you're charging the "No, no, I know what it is, been reader more and giving him less. around it a little, but no I wouldn't Is that smart merchandising? I say that I know a lot about it." He don't think so. . . . " said, "Why not get together, how'd Understand, I hope I haven't you like to roll the dice for $10,- given you the impression that I'm OOO?" 1 said, " You want me to bleak on the prospects of journal-


A. I had two wonderful parents. Great people. My lather an exceedingly brilliant man, a little erratic, a vocal but poor politician, I thought. A flamboyant writer. He wrote editorials, hell, they wouldn't print them today, but everybody read them. He loved politics, got in all kinds 01 fights and jams, opposed World War I, was accused of being pro-German. . . . My mother was small, petite, beautifully educated, exquisite tastes. She was a great influence on me. At the end of World War I, I had about 6,000 bucks in my pocket I won with the dice, so I went to Santa Barbara (Calif.), played some golf, blew a lot 01 it, went out with the girls, had a good time. One day my mother called and said, "John, don't you really think it's about time you thought about going to work?" I said , "Yes, mother, I've been thinking about that, and I'll pursue It very shortly." Well, my lather wanted me to go in with him and I said, "I'll do it on one condition: that if I don't like it I can get out and if I'm no good you'll kick me out." So we shook hands on that . . . . I got fascinated by it. I'd go down Sundays, plow through exchange papers from other cities to see what other papers were doing. I became hungry for inlormation, knowledge. This got to be an obsession, almost. 1 had delivered papers belore, and worked in the composing room, done the usual things, but this time I really got that infusion, that printer's ink . I was just absorbed with it. . . You never lose tha t love . At least. , never did.

Akron Beacon Journal


KnightRidder had a record year in 1980, topping $1 billion in sales for the first time. • DAILY NEWSPAPERS Aberdeen American News Philadelphia Inquirer Akron Beacon moat Philadelphia Daily News Boca Raton News St Paul Pioneer Press Boulder Daily Camera SI. Paul Dispatch Bradenton Herald San Jose MerCtJ'Y Charlotte 0bMrver San Jose News ~tte News State College (Pa.) Centre Daily Times Columbus Ledger Tallahassee Democrat

CoIuml>us Enquirer

Detroit Free Press Duluth Newt-Tribune Duluth Herald Fort W.yne News-Sentinel Gay Post-Tribune Grand Forks Herald JoIJ'naI of Commerce lexington Herald Lexington Leader Long Beach Press-Telegram Macon TeIe'1aph Macon News

Miami Herald Pasadena Star-News

WIChita Eagle-Beacon

Akron Beacon Journal


Miami is its headquarters city . But Akron a lways has been the second home of Knight-Ridder Newspapers Inc., a $1 billion communications group that traces one side of its corporate fam ily back to 1903, when Charles Landon Knight purchased the Beacon Journal. Knight Newspapers Inc. was headq ua rtered in Akron belore moving its offices to Miami and merging in 1974 with Ridder Publications, headquartered in St. Paul. The merger produced a na tionwide co mmunica tions lirm e ngaged in newspa per publishing , television broadcasting, electronic distribution of commodity a nd financial news, newsprint produc tion, book publishing, a nd computeri1.ed information a nd retrieval services.

TELEVISION STATIONS WJ!H-lV, FUnt, Mich_ WPRf-.lV, Provideoce, R_I. WTEN (lV). Albany, N,Y_

• SUBURBAN NEWSPAPERS CALIFORNIA FLORIDA Anaheim Independent The Broward TII118S Arcadia Trib\me The Florida Keys Keynoter Buena Parle News GEORGIA Dua-tean (Duarte) The Unioo-Recader (Mijledgeville) Huntington Beach Independent le Mirada Lamplighter MonrOllia News-Post Orange County News Ternple City Times

By James Toms 6ucon JourMI businns td"or


SUBSIDIARIES ADAMS, Inc. American Quotation Systems, Inc. Commercial T«minals of Detroit. Inc.

Commodity News Services, Inc. Fisher PUblishing, Inc. (HPBooks) Knight-Ridder Newsp8pflf' Sales, Inc. KNT News Service, I.nc_

Observer Transportation Company POftage Newspaper Supply Company Twin Cities Newspaper Services, Inc. V_data Corporation of America, Inc.


OWNED COMPANIES Seattle Times" Southeast Paper Manufacturing Co_ (Dub~n Newsprint Mijl)" Walla Walla Union-Bulletin·


.~ owm AU" fi Ibt WI:it'IQ tkQ II'd '''' 10\.... ~aocL . ~ .fDddIr 0M'It IJtIHWd ~ in"" p. .tNp . . . .... ~ , lnc . .tndeo.~, __


1979. Year-end earnings of $92.8 million, or $2.87 a share, were up 5 percent Irom income 01 $88.3 million , or $2.69 a share. in 1979. The compa ny's growth has been ma tched by lew firms in the industry. Just a decade ago, in 1970, Knight Newspapers Inc. reported reve nues of S251 million a nd income 01 $13.9 million, or S1.35 a share. The acqu isit ion of the Fort Wa y ne News-Sen tin el in 1980 helped boost daily circu lation of Knight-Ridder Newspapers above 3.6 million . Sunday circ ula ti on topped 4.2 million , maintaining the company 's position as the largest he held the title 01 editor emeritus. newspaper group in the country in Knight-Ridder had a record year terms 01 weekly circulation. in 1980, topping SI billion in sales Accord ing to the most recent lor the fi rst time at $1.09 billion , proxy issued by the company in an increase Irom $979 million in adva nce 01 its March 26 a nnual

JSK's legacy: America's most widely circulated grou p of papers John S. Knight , who took over as editor of the Beacon Journa l a lter the death 01 his father , C. L. Knight, was a guiding lorce on the Knight-Ridder board. At his death

By James Toms Beacon Journal busineu editor

It is expected that the legacy of John S. Knight eve ntuall y will transform the Knigh t Foundation of Akron into one of the nation's larg est phila nth ropic

organiza t ions. According to the will filed in Summit County Probate Court, the bulk of Knight's esta te including 6,356,50路1 sha r es o( Knight-Ridder Newspapers stock - has been placed in a trust con trolled by his brother, James L . Knight of Miami.

Knight Foundation expects to benefit from bequest of Knight's holdings

Earlier, however. Alva h H. Chapman Jr., president and c hi ef exec utive offi cer of Knight-Ridd er, said mos t of Knight 's stock would go to the 31 -year-old fou ndation , whi ch operates ind ependently of Knight-Ridder and the l3eacon Journal.

Lawyers for the esta te said the stock already had been made part of the trust. It is not a part of the estate for purposes of probate. The trust agreements and arrangements for dist ..ibution of the stock will not be made public because they a .. e not required to pass through the probate cou .. t. C. C. Gibson, president of the Knight Foundation, said he had been informed that it would be severa l years befOl'e there would be any signi fi cant increase in the level of funding of the foundation because of the Knight stock. The marke t va lu e of the shares would be S24 1.5 million , based on t he New York Stock Exchange dosing price of $38 a share on Friday J une 19 three days afte.. Knight's death. The stock dosed at 38 % one week late.. - June 26. A bequest amounting 10 100 percent o( the stock would boost the Knight Foundation'S assets (rom 522 million to S263.5 million . Such an increase wou ld a!fect th e foundation 's dist .. ibutions. Unde.. (ede law, a charitable foundation must disburse its 10-

meeting, John S. Knight owned 6,356,504 shares of Knight-Ridder stock, which at the market close the day of his death was worth S260.5 million. His stock represented 19.95 percent of the 31.9 million shares outstanding. Another family member, James I.. Kni ght - former chairman and chief executive officer and John S. Knight 's br other - also is a major stockholder . According \0 the proxy, he owns 3,026,870 shares of Kni ght -Ridder stock , or 9.5 percent. The only other shareholder with more than a 5 percent holding is the Capital Group Inc. of Los Angeles, an insurance holding company that has slightly more than 2 million shares. or 6.56 percent. Knight -Ridder Newspapers owns and opera tes 32 daily newspapers , four VHF television stations , 12

tween S60 million and $90 million . The Knight Foundation has bee n the second largest , followed by the Firestone Foundation, wit h as.'iCts of about $17.8 million. The inh erita nce al so is expec ted to make t he Knight Foundation one of the 50 largest philanthropic orga nizations in the nation, according to local foundation officials. The largest is the Ford Foundation, with assets listed at S2.3 billion in May 1980. The Rockefeller Foundation has assets o( about $1.3 billion. The Fi Na tional Bank o( Akron was appointed executor of the will. Meeting in Miami the week alter Knight's funeral , the foundation's boa .. d elec ted James L. Knight to succeed his brother as chairman . Other Knight-Ridder officers, including retired ed itorial chairman Lee Hills, a lso serve as trustees. Knight-Ridder stock declined in the days immediately (ollowing Knight 's death. From a high of S41 a share, it dropped to $38 to close the week . Analyst Ed Du nleavy, who (ollows the publishing industry (or Salomon Brothers in New York, said i nvestor concern over what would happen to Knight's holdi ngs may have caused some o( the decline. More likely, however, was the fact that Knight's death came at a time when the overall market was weakening.

Knight Foundation chairman James L. Knight tal yearly income, 0" 5 percent o( its asse ts, whicheve.. is gt'ea te.. , to maintain tax-exempt status. The Knight Founda tion had estimated its 1981 income a t $1.5 million. II it we ..e to inherit 100 pe .. cent of Knight's stock, its dividend income (or a full year would total more than S5 million, based on the cu .... ent

suburban newspapers. and severa l

subsid i ar y compa nies, i ncl udin g Portage Newspaper Su pply Co. in Akron. Its daily newspapers are the Beacon Journal ; the Aberdee n (S. D. ) American :'\ews; the Boca Raton (Fla .) :'\ews ; the Boulder ( Colo. ) Daily Camera ; the BradenIOn (Fla . ) Herald ; the Charlotte (N. C. ) Observer and News ; the Columhus ( Ga.) Ledger and En'Iuirer; the Detroit Free Press; the Duluth (M inn.) News-Tribune and Herald. The Fort Wayne (lnd.) _'ewsSe ntin el ; the Gary ( Ind . ) PostTribune; the Gra nd Forks (N . D. ) Herald ; the Journa l of Commer ce in New York ; the Lexington ( Ky. ) Herald a nd L eader ; the L ong Beach (Calif. ) Press-Telegram; the :vIacon ( Ga . ) Telegraph and

quarterly dividend of 26 cents a share. With assets of 526:1.5 million , the Knight Foundation would be the la .. gest of the 149 charitable (oundations and trusts in Summit County. The Roush Founda tion, sta .. ted by the family of the late Galen Roush, (ounde .. of Roadway Express, has been the largest. Its assets are estimated at be-

News; the Miami Herald; the Pasadena (Ca lif. ) Star-News. The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News; the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch ; the San Jose Mercury and News ; the Sta te College (Pa . ) Centre Daily Times; the Tallahassee (Fla. ) Democrat , and the Wichita ( Kan. ) Eagle-Beacon. Partially owned compa nies include the Seattle Times and Walla Walla (Wash. ) Union-Bulletin, in which Knight -Ridder holds a 49.5 percent interest, and the Southeast Paper Manufacturing Co . lts VHF television stations are WTAR-TV in Norfolk, Va .; WJRTT V in Flint , Mich.; WPRI-TV in Providence, R. I.; and WTEN in Albany, N. Y . Suburban newspapers operat ing in Cali(ornia are the Anaheim Independent, the Arcad ia Tribune,

" There may have been some weakness ( in the price) caused by Mr. Knight's death," Dunl eavy said . "But that was a temporary thing." Dunleavy said the prospects for the company remain bright. " Knight-Ridder has had a significant period o( time when professional ma nagers have been mnning the operat ion," he said . " It has gone through some well-planned management transi tions before, and the death of one man will not hinder its progress."

"KnightRidder has hada significant period of time when professional managers have been running the operation . . . the death of one man will not hinder its progress. " -

Ed Dunleavy

the l3uena Park News, the Duartea n (Duarte), the Huntington l3each Independent , the La Mirada Lamplighter, the Monrovia NewsPost , the Orange County News and the Temple City Times. Other suburbans are the Broward Times and the Florida Keys Keynoter in Florida , and the Union-Recorder in Milledgeville, Ga . Knight-Ridder subsidi aries are Adams Inc.; American Quotation Sy ste ms In c.; Commercial Terminals of Detroit Inc . ; Commodity News Service Inc.; Fisher Publishing Inc. (HPBooks); Kni ght-Ridder Newspaper Sales Inc . ; KNT News Services Inc.; Obser ver Tra nsporta tion Co.; Portage Newspaper Supply Co.; Twin Cities Newspaper Services Inc., a nd Viewdata Corp. o( America Inc.

Akron Beacon Journal


A source of grants for the • serVIce

of human Knight would "sit for hours, p'!-tiently gomgover every detail of the

request. " - c. C. Gibson

Akron Beacon Journal


needs By Kenneth Nichols Beuon Journal staH wrfttr

The scholarship fund crea ted by John S. Knight in 1940 to honor his fa ther, Charles Landon Knight, developed within a decade into a foundation that served many human needs. Under the terms of the son's will, the Knight Foundation is expected to show in the years ahead even greater growth and expansion along much the same lines. From the time it was established through June of this year, the foundation's grants to institutions a nd organizations in the Akron area alone have totaled $3,392,861. Awards have been made to the same types of recipients in other cities where Knight newspapers are published, and on a national basis, usually in the field of journalism. C. L. Knight, editor and publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal from 1907 to 1933, was regarded as one of the last great "personal journalists" of his time. The Knight Memorial Education Fund that honored him made interest-free loans to young people seeking higher education, enabling them to enter or stay in college. At that time there were no government student loans. Each year, the fund distributed the money rece ived from Mr . Knight, members of the family and some of the Knight newspapers, including the Beacon Journal. In 1952 (two years after the scholarship function had been absorbed by the Knight Foundation, the fund's successor) , a 12-year total of $325 ,000 had been loaned to students , From 1958 until 1966 , when loans or grants to individuals were discontinued because of new government regulations, the total was $291,702. As the decade of the '40s ended, it became apparent to Mr. Knight and the fund's trustees that changing to a foundation structure of(ered an even greater opportunity (or service to the general public. The Knight Foundation's articles o( incorporation extended its interests far beyond the educational field. The articles state that the foundation is " to receive a nd administer funds or property of every kind and description, for the purpose of aiding and assisting, exclusively, charitable, religious, scientific, lit crary , general phila nthropic uses and purposes, all of which shall be

A performance of the Ohio Ballet directly or indirectly for the benefit of the general public." Knight suggested tha t the foundation's grants should be centered mainl y in the 11 co mmunities where Knight Newspapers were located before the merger with Ridder Publications created Knight Ridder Newspapers, but that policy ami others arc under review. About 1,000 requests for gra nts a re received each year. A distribution committee acts on the eligible requests. At the time of Knight's death, the distribution committee consisted of Knight, E. J. Thomas, former Goodyear chairman; Ben Maidenburg, for mer Beacon Journal publisher and executive edi tor , a nd C. C. Gibson, a former Goodyear vice president and the foundation's president. Gibson said Knight would "sit (or hours, patiently going over every deta il 01 the request." Suggestions lor grants often come from editors and managers 01 Knight-Ridder papers. But the first question asked about thesc by the loundation, Knight once said, is whether the loca l paper itself is making a contribution - "and il not , why nOI.. .. "We don't want them to think ," he added, "that a gra nt from the

foundat ion can he a subst itute for the support that the newspaper itself ought to give." The committee recommends recipients and the amount each is to receive, a nd its recommendations are passed on to the full board of trustees lor final a pproval. An insight , il a limited one, into the foundation's wide range of (listribution is provided by its 1980 a nnual report. Last year, 91 grants totaling S1 ,401 ,665 were approved . Of that total, S372,OOO went to the Akron area, an amount second

only to Miami's S409,2,0. Amo ng the Akron recipients were the Akron General Development Foundation, $15,000 ; the Children'S Concert Society, S3,OOO; Mobile Meals 01 Akron, S5,OOO; the Greater Akron Musical Association, SIO,OOO a nd 55,000 ; the Ohio Cha mber Ballet ( now the Ohio BalleI) , 525,000. Old Trail School, $35,000 ; Boy's Village, 55,000; the Tuesday Musical Club, $10,000 ; Archbishop Hoban High School , S5 ,OOO ; the TriCount y Radio Reading Service, $10,500; United Way of Summit County . $150,000; the Akron Art Institute, S7,500, and the Western Reserve Historical Society, S25,000.

In t.he national field , grants went to the Inter-American Press Assoc iation Scholarship Fund Inc., SI0,OOO; American Newspaper Publishers Foundation. $30,000; the Elizabeth H. Faulk Foundation Inc., 510,000 ; the Educational Research Council 01 America, $10,000; the Close Up Foundation, 51 ,50 0 ; the Inte rnational Press Institute, $3,000; United Way of America, $50,000; the America n Red Cross, 55,000; the American Society of Newspaper Editors Foundation, 51 5,000: United Negro College Fund, S20,OOO , and the Inland Daily Press ASSOCiation, $5,000. Distributions were made in Charlotte, N. C.; Detroit; Philadelphia; Lexington, Ky.; Boca Raton. and Tallahassee as well as in Akron and Miami. "Our preference," John S. Knight once said, "is to support eflorts that involve people and ideas rather than providing money lor bricks and mortar." The grants 10 various newspaper groups reflect Knight 's abiding interest in elevating the standards of journalism and in aiding the fight lor a free press throughout the world , especially Latin America. Knight's loundation, reflecting the man himself, has maintained an abiding interest in the Akron area. On one occasion, the late chairman said: "The Knight Foundation, no less than the Beacon Jounai, has a strong and continuing interest in the healthy economic a nd cultural development o( the city ." Among the largest Akron grants of ret:ent years were: • $200,000 to create a mini-park at Main and Mill streets next to the Akron-Summit County Public Library. • $200,000 lor a convention bureau. • $195,000 to the University of Akron for an elevated pedestrian walk between the E. J. Thomas Perlorming Arts Hall and Guzzetta Hall. Other Akron organizations receiving large grants recently are: Blossom Music Center, $,5 ,000; Children's Hospital Medical Center 01 Akron, $50,000 ; Civic Theater, $50,000 lor renovation; Akron Art Institute , $131,820; Stan Hywet, $29,503, and Goodwill Industries, S29,503 and S50 ,OOO. Until recently, the officers 01 the loundation were Knight, chairman; his brother, James L. Knight, vice chairman; Gibson and Charles E. Clark, secretary and treasurer. Officers also act as trustees. Other trustees are Alvah H. Chapman Jr. ; Lee Hills; Maidenburg; Thomas; Barbara Knight Toomey, and Gordon E. Heffern. Chapman is Knight-Ridder president and Hills is the retired Knight-Ridder editorial chairman. Mrs. Toomey and Heffern were elected last year. Sbe is the daughter of James L. Knight. Hellern, president of the Society National Bank o( Cleveland, was chief executive of the Goodyear Bank until 1974 . At the June meeting 01 the loundation, James L. Knight was named chairman .

· he was a great human being. . He never changed. He was direct and honest. " - Katharine Graham

"I always thought he was the best all-around news/?apermanm America. He was tough, honest and there was no phoniness about him. " - Allen H. Neuharth

Lee lIU1s, a long-time friend of John S. Knight, deUvers the eulogy at the Akron memorial service By Peter GI'lger and MarUynn Marl~hlone 8~.con




Thev camt" from across the na· tion .:.. coll eagues, co mpetitors, comrades a nd kin - to pay tribut e to th ~ newspaper magnatp wh o had left a permanent mark on each of tht?ir lives, Some arriwd in a sta tely proces, sion of limousines . Others walkeu , Together. under a gray sk y . they entered SI. Paul's E p isco pal Church. Thpy slOod shoulder to shoulder . rempmbering John S. Kni ght , edi· lOr emeri tu s of the Akron l:\(>acon Journal and found"r of the Knight ,,('wspapers, now the Knight ·Hid · der group. whoSt· body had been laid 10 rest an hour earlier. Their hl"ads bowen at the r p· quest of the HI'\' . Ceorge Hoss . Purses yielded hantlkerchiefs a nd tears feil as Kni ght was . AMONG THEM were ('onlt'm llO' ral'Y grpats in Am erica n journal·

Comrades, kin and colleagues say last farewell ism such as Katharine Gra ham. owner of the Washington Post : AI· len H . Neuharth, ~ hairm an and president of the' Gannell nt·wspa· PI' !' group, a nd Paul Miller, !,ptired ('hairman of Gan nell and former chairman of The Assodated Press. Mrs. Graham said she felt it was im portant for her to be at Knight 's m(\moriai service beca uSC' " hp was :\ grea t human bei ng." " I fl ew ou t nere " 'ilh AI Nell ·

ha rt h a nd we w(lre reminiscing about how marvelous he wa s with l1I'ople ," Mrs , Graham said , adding that su('cess never spoiled Knight 's ability to identify with th e ('ommon man. "He never c hanged," she "lid. "He was direct and honesl. " Neuhart h , wh o worke d fo r Knight 's Detroit Free Pt'I'SS and Miami Herald before joining Ca n· netl. saiel Knight gave journalism

a direction and "ta ught mc a 101. " "I was lucky I was one of th e generation who worked for Knight Newspapers at the Miami Herald when he was very active," Neu · harth said . " I always thought he was the best all·around newspaper· man in America . "He was tough, honest a nd there was no phonine$.' about him ." NF.lJIIARTII said the eulogy giv· en by Lee Hills, retired chairman a nd c hief exe c utive offi ce r of Knight ·Ridd er , was a filling tril). ute. " I h·1t like applauding," Neu· harth said . In his remarks ti tled, "Tribute to a Friend ," Hills said, "Jack Knight was a strong and for ceful leadpr. H.. ex uded confidence and what we call 'presence,' whi('h en· hanced his qualities of wisd om and intellect. .. He was not a person you over-

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Akr on Beacon Journal


"0 Lord, who shall sojourn in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell on thy holy hill? "He who walks blamelessly, and does what is right, and speaks truth from his heart


Psalm 15

OCCUPYING tbe frent pew at Akren's St. Paul's EplBcepal Chll1'tlb for mem.rial servfces fer ,John S. Knlgbt are (from left) Mrs. A1vab CoIItlnoed from previous page

looked. Wherever he sat was head of the table. By sheer strength of character. he achieved extraordi· nary stature." The man who, as Hills said, "re· ceived countless letters from read· ers urging him to run for presi· dent," was laid to rest at Rose Hill cemetery an hour before the memorial service. On Friday night , there were but 22 floral tributes in a private viewing. The family had requested in· stead that memorial contributions be made to the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi scholarship fund, Buckeye chapter, in care of the Akron Beacon Jour· nal.

Akron Beacon Journal


AN AMERICAN flag , folded in the traditional triangle, lay to the left of Knight 's head, honoring his World War I service. Topping the open coffin at the viewing was a floral spray of white roses from the Knight family. The spray rested on the coffin's closed lid at the cemetery . At the family 's request, the flag was removed as the coffin was closed, rather than draping the coffin, and was given to Knight's son. C. Landon Knight of Akron. The graveside service consisted only of a reading of "Burial II, The Committal," from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer: "Everyone the Father gives to me will come to me; I will never turn away anyone who believes in me." A host of Knight-Ridder executives attended the services, includ· ing president and chief executive officer Alvah H. Chapman Jr. and

Chapman; Chapman, president and cblef execntlve officer of Knlgbt-Rldder Newspapers; Mrs. Lee HIlls; HIlls, retired Knlgbt-Rldder

cbalrman; C. Landon Knlgbt, ,John Knlgbt's son; Mrs. Landon KnIght; Mrs. ,James Knlgbt; ,James L. Knlgbt, ,John S. KnIght's brother.

chairman Berna rd H. Ridder Jr. Others from the newspaper group included senior vice presidents Byron Harless, James K. Batten and Richa rd G. Capen Jr.; Jesse Hill , president of the Atlanta Life Insurance Co. and a member of the Knight-Ridder board of directors, and William Ott, vice president of operations for Knight-Ridder metropolitan newspapers and a former Beacon Journal president and publisher. Members of KnightRidder's Washington bureau also attended. A contingent of friends and former co-workers from the Beacon Journal went to the services to honor Knight's memory. They included editor and vice president Paul A. Poorman a nd vice president and general manager James Gels. Also among them were retired Beacon Journal managing editor Murray Powers, for· mer lifestyle editor Betty Jaycox and retired associate editor and columnist James S. Jackson. BEN MAIDENBlJRG, retired Beacon Journal publisher and executive editor, walked slowly on crutches into the church. He said he felt a sense of unreality attending services for his friend and coworker. "I thought I'd go first," Maidenburg said sadly. About 600 mourners from Akron and around the nation liied into the 30-year-old Greek Revival church. As light from an overcast sky Iiitered through pale violet clerestory windows, the mourners !illed the walnut pews in the plain, vaulted sanctuary. The organist played The Psalm Prelude by Herbe rt Howells. A

The Rev. George Ross

.'-'- """ --": ' - - - , : ( ,,~- ,

"The Lord is my

shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me lie down mgreen pastures. "He leads me beside the still waters; He restores my sou1.. " A PHOTOGRAPH 01 John S. Knight slands draped In black at the Church by the Sea In Bal Harbour, "'a., during a June 23 memorial chora l anthem l Ubi C';u-itas. was followed by 11 bell chimes, and the cross was brought to the altar. Th e memoria I serv i ce opened w ith congrega tional sing ing of Isaac Watts' 1719 hvmn. Oh Goo, 0 111' Help in Age., Ijast, 0111' I'/{'Ip {or YI',lt:s to Com,', whi ch is based on Psalm 90. The open in g Scri pture readi ng WaS Ps.11m 15: "Lord, who shall dwell in th y taberna cle. .," Sa id the Rev, Geor ge E. Ross, rec tor of SI. Paul's, "l3e njamin Jowe tt ( 18th- ce ntury classi ca l scholar ) ca lled it 'the gentleman's psalm .' It expresses the qualities of human life which we celebr ate here today."

t:. s. 1mI'. .Joh n F. Seiberl ing, D -Akron , said a ft er th e serv i ce that the late editor was "one of the reall y grea t men t hat our communit y has pr oduced." "J guess I r emember him most for his courage and intellec tual honesty. his dedication to peace and his dpvotion to ou r communi· ty," Seiberl ing said. Olhpr ('omm unit y a nd area political leaders att ended the services fO[' Kni ght, inc luding Akron Mayor Hoy L. Ray and former mayor John S. flallanl. Former Republican Na ti onal Co mmittee c hair man Ray T11iss and Summit Count y Coroner A. H.

Kyria kides a lso were prescnt. A number of current and retired execut ives of Akron ru hber companies ca me to pay th eir r espects. They included Goodyear presi· dent Robert Mercer. Genera l Tire president M. C. O'Neil , Goodrich vice president Don McCluskey a nd [ormer Firestone board chairman Raymond C. Firestone.

service lor Knight, the lounder and editor emeritus 01 Knight-Ridder Newspapers. Knight wintered In florida lor many years. it was In

the Bal Harbour church that Knight married his third wile, Ellzabeth Augustus, who died earUer this year.

Scholarship fund A request by the Knight family that memor ials be made to a local scholarship fund resulted in g ilts of nearly $21.000 in the first few days following th e death of John S, Knight. Memorials may be sent to the Society of Professional .Journa lists, Sigma Delta Chi scholarship fund , Buckeye chapter, in care of the Beacon Journa l, flox II· 75, Akron 44328.

Edwin J . Thomas, former Goodyea r hoard cha irman ,lnd a Kni ght.-Ridder director, also was th ere. Oth er co mmunit y l ea ders attending were Lisl€' M. B uc kin g ham. senior partner in the la w firm of l3uckingham , Dool ittle and Burroug hs; .J ohn I.. Feudner, exec· IHive director of Akron Community Trusts a nd retired chairm an of th e :VI. O':\eil Co" and Walt er I-I. Sa mmis, former president and chief executive of Ohio Edi son. A GROUP of officia ls from Cornell Univer sity, wher e Kni ght attended college . also att ended the services. Among them were Cor· nell president Fra nk Rhodes and Milton Esma n, the .John S, Knight professor (or international studi es. Peter Clarke a tt pnd ed, rep r esen ting the vni\"C'rsit y o( )1ic hi.L!an school of j ournalism . The 39 honorary pallbearers in· clud ed curren t and r etired Knight-

Oa vid Meeker of Akron, chairman of thi s year's scholarship committee, said all the in· co m e for the fund previously has come fr om tick et sales for the John S. Knight Award banquet, sponsored a nnua lly by Sig· rna Delta Chi to honor commu· ni ty service i n the field of co mmuni cat ions. Meeker sa id th e banquet usually prod uces about $1,400 each year for the scholarship fund .

Ridd er executives and community a nd industrial leaders from Akron and the nat ion. Th e church men's a nd boys' choir, r obed in white with scarlet collars a nd c uffs, sang Thomas Ma tth ews' se ttin g of th e 23 rd Psalm , "Thp Lord is my shep· herd." ISTROIlUCISG the second read· ing, Ross quoted John S. Knight : " ' Never look back. Nevel' give up .' I r emember Jack Knight say· ing that on the occasion of his 85th bi i·thd ay, He will forgi ve us this morn ing if we do look back on his life's task , fai thfull y and honorabl y discharged , " Ross read fro m the Apocryphal Ecclesiasticus 41: 1· 15 - " Let us no\\' praise [amous m en , and our fathers in their genera ti ons. The Lord a pport i oned 10 th em great

g lory.


The Hev. James Tasker. British· r eared assis tant to the rector. read from J John 3: "How gr eat is the


Psalm 23

love that the Father has shown to us. Aft er Hills' eulogy, Ross o(fered prayer : " We thank you for the good and precious gift of the life 01 John Shivel y Knight. , M ost of ali. we thank you tha t he was a man of love and was greatly loved , for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven," The choir sang the Nunc Dimit· tis (" Lord , now let thy servant de· part in peace.") and the Gloria P<ltri ("Glory be to t he Father"). The service conduded with con· gregational singing 01 Siegfried A . Mahlmann's original 1815 words to the hy mn America: "God bless our native l and ; firm may she ever sta nd ." Said Hills in his eulogy, "In a car eer spanning m os t of this centu· ry, Jack Knight leaves an impres· sive mark on Am erican journalism . His will be a continuing presence. Those who come alter him have the guidance to continue the standards he set." AS liE STOOIl aft er the services watching the cars and limousines leave the church parking lot, Ross said he felt honored to olficiate lor Knight , whom he described as "a gra nd benefactor" of the church , " I lived through a l ot of his trag· edies," Ross said. "He triumphed over them all. It was a joy to pay respects to him as a friend as well as a gr eat l eader. J'm going to miss him ." After th e servi ce. fri ends gat h· ered at Knight's apartment in the mail' House on Portage Path, Across the street, a t his favorite golf course, the flag f1.,w at half staff above the Portage Country Club.

Akron Beacon Journal


"We thank you for the good and precious gift of the life of John Shively Knight. .. Most of all, we thank you.

"I guess I remember him most for his courage and intellectual honesty, his dedication to peace and his devotion to our community. " -Rep. John F. Seiberling

Akron Beacon Journal


Among news executives attending Akron memorial services for John S. Knight were (cloc kwise, beginning above) : (left to right) Beverly R. Carter, vice president and general manager, The Miami Herald; Byron Harless and Richard Capen, KnightRidder senior vice presidents, and Norman Morrison, Knight-Ridder vice president-research; F. Gilman Spencer (left), editor, Philadelphia Daily News, and Ja mes K. Batten, Knight-Ridder senior vice president; Larry Jinks, Knight-Ridder vice president-news, Metro Group; William A. Ott, Knight-Ridder vice president-operations, Metro Group; Don Carter, KnightRidder vice president-news, City Group; Knight-Ridder president Alvah Chapman Jr. and Mrs. Chapman.

路 . . that he was a man of love and was greatly loved for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven" - Rev. George Ross Akron-area friends of John S. Knight attending the Akron memorial service inc luded (clockwise from the left) : Akron attorney and Mrs. C. Blake McDowell Jr.; U. S. Rep . John F. Seiberling; Akron Mayor Roy Ray; James Maples, retired Firestone director of manufacturing, and Mrs . Maples; Raymond C. Firestone, former chairman and chief executive officer of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co.; attorney Lisle M. Buckingham, and Ray C. Bliss, former Republican national chairman.

"He combined editorial excellence and business acumen In a umque way, and his personal zest for life overcame all obstacles. " -Katharine Graham

Akron Beacon Journal


· You see, I'm a line man. I detest the concept. of runnmg anything by meetings. I don't understand that. " John S. Knight

KATHERINE GRAHAM, chaIrman of the Washington Post Co., with Paul MIller (cen' ter), former chairman of both The AssocIated John S. Knight's closest friends , business associates and newspaper colleagues served as honorary pall· bearers at the Akron services com · memorating the late editor emeri· tus of the Akron Beacon Journal and Knight·Ridder Newspapers. Knight was buried in a private ceremony Saturday morning , June 20, at Rose Hill cemetery in Ak· ron. A memorial servic:e followed at SI. Paul's Episcopal Church in Akron, and another memorial servo ice was held later at the Church by the Sea at Sal Harbour, Fla .

Akron Beacon Journal


TWELVE c urrent and former Knight·Ridder Newspapers execu· tives were among the 39 honorary pallbearers in the Akron services. Included were George Beebe, as· sociate publisher of the Miami Herald; Creed C. Black, publisher of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald and Leader; Alvah H. Chapman Jr., president and chief executive orr;· cer of Knight·Ridder; J . Montgom· ery Curtis,. former director of the American Press Institute and retired vice president of Knight-Ridder; Lee Hills, Knight-Ridder dire c tor and retired editorial chairman; Paul A. Poorman , Beacon Journal editor and vice president, and James V . Geis, Beacon Journal vice president and general manager.

Press and the Gannett newspapers, and Allen Neuharth, Gannett's present chairman, outside St. Paul's Epl.seopal Church In Akron followIng

the memorial service for dohn S. Knight. News executives and friends of Mr. Knight from throughout the nation attended the ceremony.

The pallbearers Also Be n Maidenburg , retired Beacon Journal publisher and exec utive ed itor: Sam S. M c Keel.

Cormer Beacon Journal vice president a nd general manager, now president of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News ; .John McMullan. vice president and executive l~litor of th e Miami Herald: William A. 011, v ice president of operations for Knight-Ridder metropolitan newspapers and former Beacon Journal p"esident and Jlublisher, and Bernard H. Ridder Jr" cha irman of the board of Knight /lidder. C. C. G ibson, president of thl' Knight Foundation and former Goodyear vice president , also was

a n honorary pallbearer.

ing, non -tire operations; M. G. O'Neil, General Tire president: J. Penfield Seiberling , former preSident of Seiberling Rubber and son of its founder. Frank H. Seiberling ; Cl ifford D. Smith, retired head of th e defense products division of Firestone, and Kenneth C. Zonsius, retired Goodyear adver-

tising dire<:tor and tire sa les manager. Also an honorary pallbearer was Knight 's st epson, Albert A. Augustus, son of Knight's third wife, I3ctty Augustus, who died last New Year's Day. A noth er pallbea r er was Daniel G. Van Clief. the third Mrs. Knight's nephew . who breeds racehorses.

Other honorary pallbearers f<:WHT OTHf<:R current and former Akron rubber compa ny execu-

ti ves were honorary pallbeare rs. The y were Henry M. Fa wcet t. chairman and chief execu tive offi cer of the Mohawk Rubber Co.: Raymond C. Firestone , f or m er board chairman and chief executive officer of Firestone; Earl 13. Hathaway, former F irestone president ; James W. Maples, retired Firestone director of manufactur -


Dr. W. Gerald Austin , a heart surgeon and personal fri end of Knight who is now chief of surgical services at Ma ssac hu sc lts General Hospital and professor of surgery at Harvard Medica l School ; Dr. James F. Claypool. an Akron dentist and personal friend of Knight ; Dr. Walter A . Hoyt Jr .. r hief of ol'thopedics at Akron City Hospital. and Dr. Henry Kraus. Knight's personal physic ian .

AI..<;O John K. Barry , a Washington. D. C., attorney and son of the late Beacon Journal business manager John H . Barry; Robert C. I3rouse, an Akron lawyer and (01'· mel' president of Akron Communi ty Trusts: Lisle M. Buckingham, senior partner in the Akron law firm of Buckingham , Doolittle and Burroughs: Leslie Combs II, a Lexington, Ky., thoroughbred horse breeder and adviser to Knight on horses, and John W. Galbreath , a Columbus real es tat e developer who built Cascade 1. an office complex in Akron , and who also owns horse racing 's Darby Dan F arms and baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates. Also Harold Graves Sr., president of the Brown-Graves Lumber Co.; Lincoln H. Gries, r et ired executive vice president of the May Department Stores Co. and former president of the M. O'Neil Co. ; Perth K. Killin ger, vice president of flache Halsey St uart Shields Inc.: C. make McDowell Sr" a personal friend of Knight's and former lega l counsel to the original Knight Newspaper s: C. l3Iake McDowell .II'" an Akron lawyer and former Knight-Ridder assistant secretary ; H . B . Stewart, retired A C & Y Railroad board chairman and chief executive officer, and Edwin J. Thomas . former Goodyear board chairman and friend of Knight.

"A lot of people thought Mr. Knight was a stuffed shirt. I can tell you that he was the exact opposite, one of the greatest persons you could know." By Tom Ryan &.acon Journal staff writer

It was 1953 and someone asked Chicago

Daily News employee Gene Cecchi whether he knew the way to the airport from downtown Chicago. When he said he did, Cecchi was asked to drive a visitor to the airport. The visitor was John S. Knight, and Cecchi's unexpected trip that day was the first of many he would make as Knight's chauffeur for 26 years. Cecchi, 72, retired in 1979 and now lives in Medley, Fla. "A lot of people thought Mr. Knight was a stuffed shirt," Cecchi said. "I can tell you that he was the exact opposite, one of the greatest persons you could know." DRIVING for Knight turned out to be as much an adventure for Cecchi as it was a job. Among his passengers were Harry S. Truman, Richard M. Nixon, Robert F. Kennedy, Lyndon ÂŁl. Johnson and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"They would get in the car and I would drive around while they talked," Cecchi said. "Alongside Mr. Knight, they weren't very impressive."

Knight generally spent about five months of the year in Miami, a month at Saratoga, N. Y., for the races, and the rest of the year in Akron. "Mr. Knight would fly to his destinations and I would start a day or so early with the car," Cecchi said. "When he arrived, I would be waiting for him. "MR. KNIGHT was very punctual, always on the minute_ He would allow enough time to drive to an airport and would add about 15 minutes additional, in case we had a flat tire to change. "He never questioned my driving_ He always rode in the front seat next to me and read the paper during the trips. "I think the thing that impressed people was that he was friendly and would talk to everyone. He never tried to act bigger than other people, though most people would agree that he was one of America's biggest men."

" . . I think the papers in larger cities are more aggreSSive than the papersm smaller cities. Perhaps that's because they're farther removed from their critics. " - JohnS. Knight

Nurse, bartender cherish knowing a different sideofJSK Thomas Moore By Marilynn Marchione Beacon Journal staff writer

The blond woman in the nurse's uniform and the elderly man in a three-piece suit weren't famous by any standard and didn't arrive at st. Paul's Episcopal Church in chauffeured limousines. But Norma Mayer and Thomas Moore said they were privileged to have seen a side of John S. Knight different from the journalistic excellence most of his newspaper colleagues came to know. Mrs. Mayer, 60, a nurse who served Knight in the last few weeks before his death, and Moore, 78, who tended bar and prepared food for many of Knight's parties, were among the 600 people who attended the Akron memorial service for the late editor emeritus

of the Beacon Journal and Knight-Ridder Newspapers.

over; he just wanted someone there in case the heart pains came. It was a lovely experience for me."

MRS. MAYER arrived at the church an

hour before the ceremony began and quietly ,sat in a back pew. "I worked all night and I'm not dressed for the occasion," she said, shyly gesturing at the white tunic and white nurse's pants she wore. "The last three weeks I had the privilege of being one of the private nurses he had and I lived across the street from one of his former secretaries, Lillian Brenner," she said. "He was so . . . he was everything," Mrs. Mayer said. "In spite of his illnesses, he was so wonderful. He didn't want to be fussed

MOORE SAID he had worked for Knight only on occasion since meE::ing him in 1927, but felt "he was my friend for years." Moore said he worked for 31 years as "generai (junkie" for Bankers Guarantee Title and Trust Co., but that was just a job in the truest sense of the word. What he said he really remembered was working for Knight - assisting him in entertaining scores of friends, mixing their favorite drinks and helping to prepare special foods. "He's been so nice to me over the years," Moore said. "And he always sent me Christmas cards."

Akron Beacon Journal


Knight hailed as patriot, friend of the people By MarUynn Marchione Beacon Journal $taH writet'

"History will undoubtedly regard Mr. Knight as one of the leading forces of 20th-century American journalism, both for his intelligence and integrity as an editor and for his success In creating one of the largest and most respected newspaper chains in America." - John Glenn

Akron Beacon Journal


U. S. Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, Introduced into the Congressional Record June 22 a commemoration o( John S. Knight, editor emeritus of the Beacon Journal and KnightRidder Newspapers. In the commemoration, Glenn said he was "a great personal admirer" o( Knight. "History wiiJ undo\lbtedly regard Mr. Knight as one of the leadIng (orces of 20th-century American journalism, both (or his intelligence and integrity as an editor and for his success in creating one o( the largest and most respected newspaper chains in America," Glenn said. "He was more than a manager of news operations. He was a man of definite and weli-considered opinions - and that was a quality I deeply respected." Glenn's speech traced Knight 's newspaper career, beginning with a sportswriting job more than 60 years ago. Glenn said that from Knight's early posts as managing editor and publisher o( the Beacon Journal, "he was able to instill the principles of responsibility and excellence in his newspapers." "These trademarks distinguish the Beacon Journal today and wili undoubtedly continue to do so for many years to come," Glenn said. The commemoration also noted the Pulitzer Prize that Knight received for editorial writing In 1968 . .. As an editorial writer , Mr . Knight had the courage to take unpopular stands, such as his early opposition to U. S. Involvement In the Vietnam War," Glenn said. "It was his series o( articles against this Involvement that led, in large part, to his winning o( the Pulitzer Prize. "And yet, in spite o( his position as head o( a growing newspaper group, Mr. Knight never dictated editorial policy to his newspapers. Instead, he earnestly supported the editorial independence of each member o( the Knight-Ridder chain. "It Is di(f!cult, if not impossible, to state how deeply Mr. Knight will be missed by the city o( Akron and the Beacon Journal. He was completely committed to both . He gave (reely o( his time and personal (ortune to many worthwhile and charitable civic causes. "In its eulogy to Mr. Knight, the Beacon Journal stated : 'We will never (orget his lifelong dedication to excellence.' Neither will I. "The nation has lost a patriot . . . and the people have lost a (riend."

Mr. Knight at Miami's Hialeah Park with grandson John S. Knight III, in 1974 John S. Knight and his late wire, Frances Elizabeth Augustus Knight. both were internationally known as horse breeders and owners of race horses. Knight owned the Fourth Estate Stable. Mrs. Knight . who died of a heart attack .Jan. I , 1981. owned the 1,300-acre Keswick Farm and stables outside Charlottesville, Va., now run by her daughter, Peggy. Knight, who was a member of the prestigious Jockey Club,

Horses were JSK's avocation owned several horses at the time of his death. Two years before the Knights were married in 1976, his brideto-be bought a mare from Knight and he later bought from

her a foal born (rom the same mare. The list of Knight's horses include: Four-year-olds: Active Voice and Observer. Three-year-old: Strongest Link. Two-year-olds: Master Copy and Society Editor. Brood mares : Beaconaire and Editor's Choice. Knight also owned a yearling and a 1981 foal which he had not named.

Here is the complete text of the eulogy for John S. Knight, editor emeritus of Knight-Ridder Newsp.1 · pers. It was written by Lee Hills, Knight·Ridder director ,1nd retired editorial chairm,1n. and delivered by him (1 t memorial services on June 20, 1981, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Akron. Hills also de· livered the eulogy at" later memo· rial service at the Church by the Sea in Bal HMbour, Fla.

Tribute to a friend John Shively Knight 1894-1981

By Hills We are gathered here to bid our last farewell to a remarkable man - father, brother, professional c olleague and friend to us alL It is difficult not to be sad in the face of the terrible finality of death. But let's put that aside. Instead, let us be joyous, let us celebrate the fact that we witnessed a life lived long and welL I stand here very humbly aware of the awesome assignment that I have to translate the deep emotions of the heart into language in some meaningful way. John Shively Knight was not a person you would easily forget. Our memories of him are vivid and lasting. It was fitting that he left us quickly and peacefully in this city where he began his illustrious career almost 60 years ago. He loved Akron and its people, and especially his co-workers at the Beacon Journal, and I know all of you felt the same about him. JACK KNIGHT was a strong and forceful leader. He exuded confidence and what we call "presence, " which enhanced his qualities of wisdom and intellect. He was not a person you overlooked. Wherever he sat was head of the table. By sheer strength of character, he achieved extraordinary stature. He was interested in everything . He loved horse racing, football and dancing, politiCS and world affairs with genuine relish. He was a natural ath· lete and a champion golfer. He knew how to calculate the odds, whether in dice or in newspaper acquisitions. He played the percentages and he always played to win. Jack had some flashes of his flamboyant and gifted father, C. L. Knight , and the caring and grace and humanity of his sensit ive mother, Clara. It was a combination that made him a source of inspiration for those whose lives he touc hed. The more you knew him, the more you respected him . He was equally at ease with presidents and printers, princes and preachers. He was a keen businessman with a hard-boiled, handsome flair that attracted both men and women.

Lee Hills delivering eulogy for John S, Knight IllS PERSONAL life was marked at various times by great happiness and, yes, great tragedy, but he met the latter with courage of the highest order. He suffered sadness without surrender. Some of his older friends remember with affection his first wife, Katie, mother of his three sons, and his second wife , Beryl, who shared nearly half his life. He did not talk about it, but those close to him knew the strong thread of religious belief that ran through his life and of his many generous acts of charity. If you read that his heart caused his dea th , don't believe it. There was nothing wrong with his heart , and it never failed him or a nybody else. Indeed , he ha d a giant heart. His manner cou ld sometimes be crusty and his wit caustic. but

newspapers must be independent editorially and economically, and tha t is the way he ran his . He practiced his profession of journalism with passion, energy and courage . He was an independent thinker. It is impossible to fit him into any slot. He loved being unpredictable. He served his country in a variety of special missions. He repeatedly turned down bids to enter politics, and received countless letters from readers urging him to run for president. Over the years he was showered with honors. His strong sense of integrity touched the lives of hundreds of journalists and millions of readers . He left a legacy of excellence. In a career spanning most of this century, Ja c k Knight leaves an impressive mark on American journalism . As founder of today's most widely read newspaper group, his will be a continuing presence. Those who come after him have the guidance to continue the standards he set. JACK'S LAST five years were crowned with great happiness, brought by Betty Augustus Knight. He not only loved Betty with all his heart - it was a joyful thing to see them together but he also revered her in a way that made this a marriage of rare beauty. He gave her full credit and proudly proclaimed himself the "new Knight" - he was patient, sweet, lovable, contented and agreeable - well , up to a point. When I commented one day that he was never irascible any more, he said he would probably prove me wrong in 24 hours. He did. He picked up one of his papers and complained the type was entirely too small to read . That was typicaL Jack would fret and stew over some minor annoyance, but if an editor or general manager really blew a big one when he was trying to do his best, Jack would usually comfort rather than scold him. Betty brought a whole new dimension into J ack's life, and her large and loving family became part of it. After she died last New Year's Day, he didn't get over it. He could not talk about her without a tear. And so, Jack , we are here today to say goodbye to you as we did so recently to Betty.

we remember him as a kind, warm-hearted, dear friend . The heart governs understanding, and that was his special quality. It also ruled his unfailing sense of responsibility and public trust. He knew that ideals and traditions are not automatically carried on, so he worked to perpetua te them through others. Jack Knight would not want us to linger long over his fabulous achievements. But he was a Renaissance man. He did it all: WE HONOR you not with Entrepreneur, reporter, sportsman, business executive, tears but with unforgettable rea writer of clarity and grace, membrance. We shall miss you personally publisher, philanthropist, col·umnist - but first and last an as a friend. We shall miss you profeseditor. Nothing else was a close second with him. In fa ct, sionally as a colleague. You were one of us. We adhe was at his office critiquing mire and respec t you. his papers the day he died . We love you, Jack, and we He believed fierce ly that will treasure your memory.

"Jack's last five years were crowned with great happiness, brought by Betty Augustus Knight. He not only loved her with all his heart - it was a joyful thing to see them togetherbut he also revered her in a way that made this a marriage of rare beauty. " - Lee Hills

Akron Beacon Journal


"It is difficult, if not impossible, to state how deeply Mr. Knight will be missed by the city of Akron and the Beacon Journal. He was completely committed to both. "

John S. Knight Tribute  

John S. Knight Tribute Section from Akron Beacon Journal published after he passed away in 1981.

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