January 6, 1931 - February 8, 2022
On February 8, 1995, the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph front page headline read “Kenner Era at a Close”; that would be the end of Jack’s era in the newspaper industry and on February 8, 2022, Jack L. Kenner departed this life, ending yet another era of a remarkable life, well lived. Jack was born on January 6, 1931 to Lorene Ann (Holland) Kenner and Hugh Lance Kenner Sr. in Pampa, TX and it was in Pampa at the age of 8 years old, that Jack’s 56 year career in the Newspaper Industry began when he talked his older brother into letting him sub on his delivery route so that he could save up money to buy a bicycle. A passion for the newspaper industry and a desire to learn more and earn more, Jack applied for jobs as they came available and at 14 years old with the help of his mom signing a note, he purchased a motor scooter to help him deliver papers more quickly so he could get back to his other jobs at the paper! One evening at dusk, Jack was hit by a driver and unbeknownst at the time, he suffered a broken knee cap. He took a job at a movie theatre as he healed up but that would only last a year as the printer ink was still in his blood and he went back to work for the Pampa News before his family relocated to Guymon, Oklahoma in 1947. Jack promptly began working for the Guymon Observer building ads and running a hand fed press. He quickly outgrew this job and went to work for a competitor earning more money so he could buy a car and advance his career. Jack volunteered to help the paper establish a delivery system, buy additional equipment and he learned to run a flat bed press, set type on a linotype machine, was involved in sales and advertising and was promoted to circulation manager at 17 years old! It was in Guymon that he met and married his beloved wife Mildred Whitney Kenner and shared a 63-year love story until Mildred’s death in 2013. Jack’s successful career and his talent and commitment resulted in continued advancement in the newspaper industry moving Jack and Mildred back to Pampa TX with other newspaper stents in McAllen, San Angelo, Pecos, Amarillo, and Harlingen TX, Lima OH, and Colorado Springs, CO where he would conclude his distinguished career as Production Director of the Gazette Telegraph. Jack worked for Freedom Communications for 43 of his 56 year career and said that the advent of the computer was the most significant event for newspapers. Jack played key roles in developing more successful operations at every job he held and he touted the highlight of his career as the role he played teaming with Freedom Publisher E. Roy Smith when the Pampa, Lima and Colorado Springs competing papers were acquired. Jack built new plants, installed new presses, and operated just about every production, facility and equipment job available. He set out to learn all that he could about every aspect of the industry, leading by example and not afraid to get his hands dirty. In Freedom Family News Print and Gazette Telegraph Articles, publishers and peers described Jack as “a legend in his own time who accomplished a great deal in exciting and challenging times”; “a loyal friend and extremely competent newspaper man”; “the closest thing to the indispensable man”; “competitive, strong willed, committed to win, feared by vendors who had to negotiate with him, but respected by all” and “when they say there will never be another Kenner, they mean it”. Jack has also been described as dependable, fair, a gentleman, inspiring and a mentor. His wife Mildred said, “Jack came from the school of hard knocks” and that she never knew when the phone would ring to let her know Jack was hurt. Jack enjoyed sharing several stories of injuries he had along the way and how he always fared well in what could have been much worse. Jack and Mildred also owned a commercial laundry in Pampa TX for 2 years. Despite Jack’s successful career he maintained a great work-life balance, finding time to do the things he loved; playing golf, fishing, hunting and traveling and spending time with his cherished wife Mildred, especially on the golf course. His surviving nieces and nephews say that their uncle was real big on family and treated them as if they were his own, though he and Mildred had no children. Their uncle was an avid gardener, golfer, bowler, fisherman, hunter and sports fan and made many trips to Alaska to visit his brother Jim and fish the Kenai River and Lake Illiamna and play golf. In his later years, Jack looked forward to his Sunday football ritual with his niece Trish. They’d share one another’s picks (Jack had a hand written list each week) then later talk on the phone to see who won! They go on to say how he loved to talk about his childhood and had some really great stories to tell that kept everyone riveted and either laughing or crying. Jack loved Texas, his country and was a good American and words alone will never express how much he will be missed. After Jack’s retirement in 1995, he and Mildred traveled and thoroughly enjoyed their golden years together. After much exploring, Jack and Mildred relocated from Colorado Springs to Bullard, TX on Lake Palestine where they resided for their remaining years. Jack continued to maintain beautiful manicured lawns, a lush garden of flowers and shrubs as well as a vegetable garden and still took his boat out on the lake well into his 80s. Jack and Mildred had lasting friendships from everywhere they lived, a true testament to the genuine, kind and fun people they were! Throughout Mildred and Jack’s successful career and lives, they knew that they were Blessed and generously gave back to their communities through their time and treasure. Jack is pre-deceased by his beloved wife, parents, his sister Tampa May (Kenner) Dougless; brothers Bill Kenner, James “Jimmy” Kenner, Hugh Kenner and niece Susan (Kenner) Mosher. He is survived by nieces Sandy (Kenner) Mathis, Kathy Kenner, Patricia “Trish” (Kenner) Rockett and Vicki (Kenner) Jump; nephews Karl Kenner, Bobby Dougless, and James Kenner Jr., and special neighbors Sylvia and Doug McKay who looked after him in his final years, and special friend and former neighbor Joan Gallas. A debt of gratitude to Comfort Keepers Tyler TX for the care, compassion, and companionship that they provided Jack in the last year of his life. Rest in peace Jack Kenner, you were truly one of a kind, having left an indelible mark on all who were fortunate enough to have known you. A celebration of Jack’s life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, March 11, 2022 at Stewart Family Funeral Home, 7525 Old Jacksonville Hwy, Tyler, TX 75703. Memorial donations may be made to The Hospice of East Texas Foundation, 4111 University Blvd. Tyler, TX 75701.
On February 8, 1995, the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph front page headline read “Kenner Era at a Close”; that would be the end of Jack’s era in the newspaper industry and on February 8, 2022, Jack L. Kenner departed this... View Obituary & Service Information
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