Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Kansas' likely oldest working journalist dies at 102

Brown, writing a column (Wichita Eagle photo by Beccy Tanner)
When Protection Press community columnist Bonnie Brown gathered news for "Bonnie's Blog" in the weekly paper, she went on foot; she gave up driving when she was 98. And in her eight years of writing for the Press, she only missed two deadlines — one last year when Protection was evacuated for wildfires, and a few weeks ago when she caught a cold. But the upbeat woman who many think was Kansas' oldest working columnist was found dead in her apartment Saturday morning, just 11 days before her 103rd birthday. Her son, Rodney Brown, said her cold had turned into pneumonia. "In her last column, published this past week, Mrs. Brown wrote that she wasn’t feeling 'up to par yet but hope I am on the last mile … If all goes well, I may make it for my next birthday. One never knows what’s in store for any of us,'" Beccy Tanner reports for The Wichita Eagle.

Town of Protection, in Comanche County, Kansas (Wikipedia map)
It's not just Brown's passing that's worthy of mourning, but her increasingly rare style of gathering news: the 4-foot, 5-inch columnist gathered news "the old-fashioned way — with shoe leather and an inquiring mind" as she beat the pavement every day gathering local news in the town of 500, Tanner reports in a different story for The Eagle. "Her column style — of reporting on who was in Protection, who went to visit who, what so-and-so is doing now – is a style of journalism that began to disappear in daily, and then weekly newspapers, in the 1970s and 1980s." But it remains in many weeklies.

Protection Press Editor Susan Edmonston told Tanner, "People are going to miss her but she was such a positive, upbeat person, we think she is up there, walking around, talking to everybody and still getting the news."

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/local/article199593154.html#storylink=cpy

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