Ed Heminger , A Findlay Treasure Passes
Courier, The (Findlay, OH) – Thursday, December 1, 2011
Maybe he had been researching a subject related to Findlay’s upcoming bicentennial or, perhaps, planning his next trip to Chicago. But he was more likely composing a note to a friend.
Heminger only knew one speed in life: Full. Even occasional health issues would only temporarily slow him down.
He was at the office Tuesday, as usual, before attending a show and having dinner with dear friends.
Heminger , 85, was the third of five generations of his family to publish or work at The Courier and he remained active with the newspaper’s parent company, the Findlay Publishing Co.
The Heminger family has been connected to newspapering since 1886, first with Ed ‘s grandfather, I.N. Heminger , then his father, R.N. Heminger . Ed ‘s three children, Karl, Meg and Kurt, are now involved in the business.
Heminger grew up surrounded by newsprint and hot lead type, so it couldn’t have surprised anyone too much when he started his own weekly newspaper as a boy in the south Findlay neighborhood where he was raised.
He later was a paperboy and, after shuffling back and forth between the military and college, returned to The Courier.
His positions included assistant business manager, editor and publisher. He handed over the publisher reins to son, Karl, in 2000.
Heminger was a faithful guardian of the Fourth Estate. He was a believer in the public’s right to know and that it was more important to be fair than sensational.
No subject was off limits to Heminger , who encouraged his news staff to tell it like it was even if it meant stepping on toes. He knew that positive change in a community could come from reporting on difficult subjects.
Over the years, he became well known in the newspaper industry in Ohio and beyond. One highlight was serving as a director of the Associated Press.
But Heminger was much more than a newspaperman. He was a community cheerleader who served dozens of civic and professional groups.
Ed loved history, especially Findlay’s, and one of his favorite associations was with the Hancock Historical Museum, which he helped establish in 1970.
Recently, he had been involved in planning for Findlay’s bicentennial, which will be celebrated next year, and helped work on a book, “Our People, Our Story,” an updated history of Findlay.
As a frequent speaker on historical topics, he often spoke from memory. He was a storyteller.
He was Republican at heart and supported conservative candidates and issues, yet welcomed a vigorous debate of politics, regardless of the point of view.
Heminger was a true “gentleman.” You could tell he was genuinely interested in you if you happened to meet him.
He was a thoughtful man. It was not unusual for Ed to surprise one of his seven grandchildren by stopping by one of their athletic events or school programs unannounced, or to bring a bouquet of flowers to an ailing friend.
Heminger never knew a stranger. He would talk to anyone he would encounter, often making a Findlay connection with those he met.
Even after his beloved wife, Barbara, died in 2006, he continued an active schedule, frequently traveling, sometimes alone.
While he called Chicago his favorite place to visit, and he had a fondness for travel, it was perfectly clear there was no place like home. It was obvious he loved Findlay and its people.
In many ways, Ed Heminger was Findlay.
Along the way, Heminger witnessed great transformation in the newspaper industry. But unlike publishers who fought change, he embraced new technology, computerization and the Internet, and brought it to Courier operations.
Small town family-owned newspapers are a dying breed, often bought out by media chains where employees seldom even see their top bosses.
Heminger likely could have moved on, too, but he stayed, and we’re glad he did.
Findlay needs more men like Ed Heminger . He will be missed, but the city is a better place today because he passed this way.