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Published: Thursday, 12/1/2011

Edwin L. Heminger, 1926-2011: Newspaper chairman dedicated to civic efforts

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

FINDLAY -- Edwin L. Heminger, chairman of the Findlay Publishing Co. and a former publisher of the Courier who was a leader in industry groups and civic activities, died Wednesday at his home in Hancock County's Eagle Township. He was 85.

The cause probably was heart-related, his daughter, Meg, said.

A former president of Findlay Publishing Co., Mr. Heminger was publisher of the Courier from 1965 to 2000 and editor from 1977 to 1989. He went to his office at the newspaper daily, most recently on Tuesday.

"He didn't actively manage things," his daughter said, "but he was there as guidance for the rest of the family, and [he] was very involved in volunteer endeavors in the community."

"He was a giant, a man of spectacular prominence," said Dr. C. Richard Beckett, a retired veterinarian and chairman of the University of Findlay board of trustees. "He handled everything as a gentleman. I admired him."

He often helped with civic projects behind the scenes, said Harold "Puck" Rowe, a retired Columbia Gas division manager, who said Mr. Heminger's example inspired him to settle in Findlay.

"He cared for people of all walks of life," Mr. Rowe said.

Findlay Publishing also owns the Review Times in Fostoria and radio stations in Findlay and in Indiana. Mr. Heminger's son Karl is publisher and company president, son Kurt is treasurer, and his daughter Meg is the corporate secretary and administrative assistant for the Courier. "We were brought up in the newspaper culture, and he was pleased to find us all back at the company," she said.

Mr. Heminger grew up in that culture too. His grandfather I.N. Heminger became a part-time reporter in 1886 for the Morning Republican in Findlay and later invested in the business and became a manager of Findlay Publishing, which eventually bought the Courier. The newspapers merged in 1933.

Mr. Heminger was born July 30, 1926, to Golda and R. Lowell Heminger, who became editor, publisher, and chairman.

While attending Findlay High School, he delivered several thousand newspapers daily to the post office a block away. He was a Navy veteran. He had a bachelor's degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, after which he returned to Findlay and rejoined the newspaper.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate in journalism from Bethany College, Bethany, W.Va., in 1980. He was a former trustee of the Ohio Newspaper Association and a former president of the Ohio Newspapers Foundation, a former director of the Associated Press; an ex-chairman of the Newspaper Association of America Foundation, and a former president of the Inland Press Association.

He was a former president of the Findlay Area Chamber of Commerce and a former president and chairman of the state chamber. He helped found the Hancock Historical Museum and was a volunteer for the commemoration in 2012 of Findlay's bicentennial, as he had been for the town's 150th birthday.

He and his wife, Barbara, married Sept. 20, 1952. She died Aug. 26, 2006.

Surviving are his sons, Karl and Kurt, daughter, Margaret "Meg" Heminger, and seven grandchildren.

Visitation is to be from 2-7 p.m. Friday in the Kirkpatrick-Behnke Funeral Home, Findlay. Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Andrews United Methodist Church, Findlay, where visitation is to begin at 10 a.m. The family suggests tributes to Delta Tau Delta Educational Foundation, Fishers, Ind., and the Hancock Historical Museum, Findlay.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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