Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster

John S. Hager, 86

1sunsetOWENSBORO, Ky. - John S. Hager, 86, passed away July 18, 2013, at his home after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was an Owensboro native, attorney, journalist, philanthropist and a life-long advocate for public reform.

John and his brother, Larry, were third-generation publishers of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer. John was also co-editor or editor from 1973 until 1996 when the newspaper was sold. He was president of Owensboro Broadcasting Company that operated WOMI and WBKR until it was sold in 1993.

During his tenure at the Messenger-Inquirer, the newspaper became Ky’s largest family-owned newspaper. It was named one of the top five small city newspapers in the U.S. The newspaper was also awarded the Silver Gavel award of the American Bar Association. In 1996, the Ky Press Association presented John with its “most valuable member” award. In 2002, he was inducted into the Ky Journalism Hall of Fame. That same year, he received one of the Mayor’s Awards for Excellence because of his extensive community leadership.

As publisher of the Messenger-Inquirer, John was an advocate for civic journalism, seeing the newspaper as a tool for enhancing the good of the community. He advocated relentlessly for access to low-cost higher education in Daviess County. In 1983, John served as the first co-chair of the Citizens Committee on Higher Education. In that capacity, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Owensboro Community College (now Owensboro Community and Technical College).

After the sale of the Messenger-Inquirer, he devoted his life to a number of charitable causes, particularly those he believed fostered community progress, education and the advancement of the democratic process.

In 1996, John and his wife, Marjorie, established the Community Life Foundation of Owensboro (now the Public Life Foundation of Owensboro). One key focus of the foundation’s work has been promoting the empowerment of all citizens on issues of public policy, including sponsorship of two “America Speaks” town meetings. They were also generous supporters of the Goodfellows Club, founded by John’s father, Lawrence Hager, Sr. in 1912.

John was also passionate about other local and state causes, including city-county government merger and a constitutional amendment to overhaul Ky’s courts.

John was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Princeton University and the University of Michigan Law School. He practiced law with the firm of Sandidge, Holbrook, Craig and Hager from 1954 to 1973.

John entered the U.S. Navy in 1945 and the U.S. Army Reserve as a second lieutenant in 1950.

He was director emeritus of the Owensboro Ky Community and Technical College Foundation, member of the Ky Bar Association, member and past president of the Daviess County Bar Association, participant in the Shakertown Roundtable and a loyal member of the Democratic Party.

He served as a director of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, Ky Economic Development Corporation, Ky Center for Public Issues, Owensboro National Bank, American Society of Newspaper Editors, Junior Achievement of Owensboro, Regional Vision 2001 and the Ky Reform Act Evaluation Governing Board.

John was a deacon at First Christian Church and a member of the Sessions Sunday School Class. He was also a member of the Owensboro Rotary Club.

He was a scholar, tenacious reader and tireless advocate for the community. Following his father, John considered the newspaper a public trust and not simply a business. He had a special interest in promoting openness and citizen involvement in government and public institutions.

He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Marjorie McManus Hager, son Stewart Hager (Yolla) of Knoxville, Tennessee; daughter Susie Hager Alford of Owensboro; daughter Sally Hager Wood of Owensboro; son Bruce Hager (Lia) of Cincinnati; and eight grandchildren: Josh Niehaus, (Stephanie) Aimee Alford, Sarah and Laura Wood, and John Paul, Alex, Lauren and Sydney Hager; and his brother, Larry Hager.

Services will be at 11:00 a.m. Monday at Settle Memorial United Methodist Church, officiated by Rev. Jacob Caldwell, pastor of First Christian Church. Visitation will be from 1:00 until 6:00 p.m. Sunday at Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory and from 10:00 until 11:00 a.m. Monday at the church. Private interment will be in Rosehill Cemetery. The family requests that expressions of sympathy be made to the Goodfellows Club, 401 Frederica Street, B-203, Owensboro, Ky 42301 or First Christian Church, 725 Daviess Street, Owensboro, KY 42303.

Messages of condolence may be placed at www.glennfuneralhome.com

In Other News...

DHP White on Main Fundraiser

HENDERSON, Ky. (9/19/14) — White on Main fundraiser for the Downtown Henderson Partnership is coming next Saturday,… Read More

Accident Results in One Fatality

HENDERSON, Ky. (9/19/14) — Terry Maish, 77, of Henderson, was westbound on US 60E in his 2001 Chevrolet Trailblazer… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 15, 2014 5829

Man Accused of Stealing Rural King…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 16, 2014 4454

Postal Worker Arrested for Terroristic…

in Top Stories by GPD PIO Wes Miller
September 19, 2014 3412

Madisonville Man Among Three Arrested for…

in Top Stories by Muhlenberg Sheriff Curtis McGehee
September 17, 2014 3279

Two Arrested for Meth After Traffic Stop

in Top Stories by Alex Piper
September 17, 2014 3178

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 17, 2014 3178

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 19, 2014 2113

Five Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision at…

in Top Stories by MPD Officer Russell Nichols
September 17, 2014 1990

Three Injured in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Top Stories by Kyle Pharris
September 18, 2014 1744

Manitou Man Charged with DUI

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 18, 2014 1617

Vehicle Strikes CSX Train Cars at Crossing

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

September 19, 2014 540

Police Searching for Hit-And-Run Driver

in Top Stories by Jennifer Smith, DCSO
September 18, 2014 539

Owensboro's Nathan Morris Has Worldwide…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 19, 2014 460

STREET CLOSINGS FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

in Top Stories by Abby Shelton
September 18, 2014 384

9-1-1 Phone Lines

in Top Stories by Michael Hathaway
September 18, 2014 348

Bearcats Return to Owensboro for…

in Top Stories by Kayla Cruse

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 15, 2014 5829

Man Accused of Stealing Rural King…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 16, 2014 4454

Postal Worker Arrested for Terroristic…

in Top Stories by GPD PIO Wes Miller
September 17, 2014 3279

Two Arrested for Meth After Traffic Stop

in Top Stories by Alex Piper
September 17, 2014 1330

Muhlenberg Job Corps Support is 'Written…

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson
September 16, 2014 1292

Former 1977 Graduates Speaks at…

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06