Ron Jenkins, who served as editor of The Gleaner newspaper in Henderson, Kentucky, for more than 30 years and was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 2007, has died. He was 83.
Jenkins died Monday at The Heartford House hospice facility in Owensboro, The Gleaner reported.
“I remember him as a hard-working and hard-driving newspaperman, just as he was a hard-working and hard-driving athlete,” said Henderson Mayor Steve Austin, a former publisher of The Gleaner who worked alongside Jenkins for decades at the western Kentucky newspaper. “He had a lot of skills that offered him a lot of opportunities.”
Jenkins started working for his hometown newspaper in high school and wrote a regular sports column. He left to attend Murray State College, to work for larger newspapers and to play minor league baseball, but ended up back in Henderson at The Gleaner-Journal in the 1960s and had been named editor by 1972. The newspaper dropped “Journal” from its name in 1973.
“He always said, ‘I belong here,’” longtime friend Ron Sheffer said.
Jenkins advocated for excellence in all aspects of the newspaper and The Gleaner won the Kentucky Press Association’s first-place General Excellence award for daily papers in its circulation class 22 times in a 25-year span under his leadership.
“You can see how important and valuable that was for our community,” Austin said.
In addition to journalism, he will be remembered for helping launch an initiative in 2006 to train and mentor emerging community leaders.