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Longtime publisher of Iola Register dies at 88

4/24/2013

By JOHN HANNA

By JOHN HANNA

Associated Press

TOPEKA -- Emerson Lynn Jr., who became one of Kansas' best-known editorial writers as the longtime publisher of The Iola Register, died Wednesday after a career in journalism spanning more than 60 years. He was 88.

The Register said Lynn died at a Topeka hospice where he'd been receiving care after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. He was the newspaper's publisher from 1965 until 2000, when he sold it to his daughter, Susan, who remains editor and publisher.

Lynn retained the title of associate editor and continued to write editorials until earlier this year. He was inducted into the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2001.

Doug Anstaett, executive director of the Kansas Press Association, said Lynn's editorial voice "rang all across the state and region." Anstaett compared Lynn to famed Emporia editor William Allen White and said Lynn could write tough editorials without being boisterous or rude.

"He could really write biting editorials with a calm voice," Anstaett said. "He didn't have to raise his voice."

Lynn served in the Air Force during World War II before working as editor and publisher at newspapers in Humbolt, Kan., and Bowie, Texas, in the 1950s and 1960s. The Iola newspaper was owned by his grandfather and uncle before Lynn purchased it from his uncle in 1965.

In addition to being a member of the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame, Lynn also received the KPA's career mentoring award and its lifetime Master Editor award. Kansas State University's rural development institute also honored him last year with its first lifetime achievement award for a commitment to community journalism.

He also was a regular panelist on "Kansas Week," a Wichita public television program examining Kansas politics and government. He served on the board of the William Allen White Foundation at the University of Kansas and was a past KPA president.

"Kansas just lost one of its finest journalists," said Kia Breaux, The Associated Press Chief of Bureau for Kansas, Missouri and Iowa. "Emerson symbolized the qualities that Kansas journalism is known for -- fairness, precision and, ultimately, the drive for accountability of our elected leaders. Our condolences go to Emerson's family, and those who knew and worked for him."

Lynn also was active in community groups and served on the State Highway Commission, as well as state advisory panels on the judiciary and economic development.

His wife of 59 years, Mickey, died in 2009. They had four children.

The Register said his family plans a May 4 memorial service.