Jackie Lee “Jack” Stoner, 74, of Cle Elum, WA and former publisher of the Potter County News in Gettysburg, died suddenly at home on Thursday, June 5, 2014.
He was born on March 5, 1940 to Elmer and Bonnie Stoner in Kansas City, Missouri.
Jack got his first taste of the newspaper business at age 12 delivering the Topeka Daily Capital. In July, 1956 he went to work at the Oskaloosa Independent as a printer’s apprentice, working after school and summers. He graduated from Oskaloosa High School in 1958. He attended classes at Kansas University in Lawrence. On June 3, 1961, Jack married Jerri Tosh shortly after her high school graduation, In Oskaloosa. The couple moved to Lawrence, KS and Jack worked at the Lawrence Outlook as a linotype operator. In 1964, they moved to Cozad, Nebraska. While living there, he worked part-time at the Daily Telegraph-Bulletin at North Platte. Late in 1965, they moved to Colorado Springs, CO where Jack worked as a linotype operator for the Daily Telegraph-Gazette. From 1966 until 1972, he was production manager at the Daily Independent in Gallup, New Mexico. They purchased their first community weekly newspaper business in 1972 at Twisp, Washington – The Methow Valley News. There Jack served as a Captain on the Volunteer Fire Department where the couple dedicated time as volunteer firefighters. He served in the Twisp Kiwanis Club and the Chamber of Commerce.
In 1976, the family moved to Spearfish, South Dakota where Jack became managing editor of the Queen City Mail. He was active in the Spearfish Chamber of Commerce and bowling league there. He also helped re-organize the Lions Club. A year later, they moved to Gettysburg, SD where they formed Oahe Publishing Corporation and purchased a three community newspaper chain including the Potter County News (Gettysburg), Eagle Butte News (Eagle Butte) and West River Progress (Dupree).
Jack’s interest in community news found him covering council meetings, fundraisers, Zucchini Days, fishing tournaments, pow wows, local 4-H, accidents, fires and breaking news.
During their 22 years in South Dakota, Jack was a member and past-president of the Rotary Club and the Gettysburg Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of a community committee that worked to save the Chicago-Northwestern rail line. He participated in the Gettysburg Centennial Committee in 1983. Jack enjoyed local history, so helped build the Dakota Sunset Museum in Gettysburg. He served as president and vice president of the board for several years. He was appointed in 1987 by the City Council as Chairman of the Gettysburg Committee for the South Dakota Centennial. During the “Great Faces, Great Places” 100th year celebration, Jack helped organize the local community events during year-long statewide celebration. In 1988, he was named Citizen of the Year by the Gettysburg Chamber. Jack served on the Governor’s Fisheries Advisory Committee which worked with the Department of Game, Fish & Parks. He was a member of the Potter County Emergency Disaster Team, National Newspaper Association, South Dakota Museum Association and was active with a Gettysburg Doctor Search Committee. He was honored to be awarded a Non-Legionnaire of the Year award by the Ralph-Lieu Post of the American Legion in Gettysburg and in 1986, he was given a Potter County “Friend of 4-H” Award.
On Feb. 1, 1999 he, Jerri and their daughter, Jana purchased the Northern Kittitas County Tribune and the office supply store in Cle Elum, WA.
During the past 15 years Jack was a member of the Roslyn Kiwanis, Cle Elum-Roslyn Chamber of Commerce, Phoenix Group (Kittitas County Economic Development), Cle Elum Downtown Association, Life Support, Draft Horse Pull committee, Upper Kittitas County Senior Center and Board of Directors, Roslyn-Ronald-Cle Elum Heritage Club and several coffee clubs around town.
He is survived by his wife Jerri of 53 years, children Jeff and Bob (Denver, CO), Jana and Terry (South Cle Elum, WA); sister Anne (Bob) Lowe of Winona, KS;
He is preceded in death by his parents Bonnie and Elmer. Jack’s wishes were to have no formal services at this time.
A celebration of his life will be organized at a future date. In the meantime, the family would love to read any memories you would like to share with the NKC Tribune, PO Box 308, Cle Elum, WA 98922 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations made in his name to either Life Support, an organization he heartily endorsed (www.lifesupporti90.org/content/ donate-now) or towards scholarships to journalism students provided by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Assoc. Foundation (www.wnpa.com/ foundation) as fitting tributes. Cascade Funeral Home, Cle Elum was in charge of arrangements.