Former Rapid City Journal editor dies at 87

2013-06-11T05:30:00Z Former Rapid City Journal editor dies at 87Kevin Woster Journal staff Rapid City Journal
June 11, 2013 5:30 am  • 

Former Rapid City Journal editor Jim Kuehn, a man who loved the Black Hills and the news they produced, died Monday at a Rapid City nursing home.

He was 87.

A native of Mobridge, Kuehn worked an after-school job at the weekly newspaper in his home town, which inspired a passion for news. He followed that passion to earn a journalism degree from the University of South Dakota, work at weekly newspapers and after serving in the Army spend 37 years at the Rapid City Journal.

He was the editor for 19 years, overseeing the Journal's coverage of national news and events that included the Rapid City flood of 1972 and the Wounded Knee takeover in 1973.

"Jim Kuehn was a model journalist: highly ethical, kind, caring and gentle," said Jack Marsh, president of the Al Neuharth Media Center at USD. "He demonstrated his love and concern for the Rapid City region and its people by producing an outstanding newspaper in tune with his community."

Kuehn helped give fellow South Dakota journalist Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today, a start in the business by hiring him as sports editor of the USD Volante, where Kuehn served as editor while in college.

"It was a leap of faith by Jim that helped launch Neuharth's career as one of the most accomplished media figures of our time," Marsh said.

Kuehn, who served on the advisory board at Neuharth Center, helped launch many news careers and shape and guide many others, said former Rapid City Mayor Don Barnett.

Barnett said he relied upon Kuehn and the Journal in the aftermath of the 1972 flood.

"Jim wrote the editorial two days after the flood, and it said exactly what this city needed to hear, that it would rise again like the Phoenix," Barnett said. "Somebody had to believe in the city, and Jim Kuehn and the Journal believed."

Kuehn was a believer in Rapid City throughout his professional years and in his community work after retiring in 1986. Mayor Sam Kooiker said Kuehn's work during the difficult period after the flood and, 40 years later, in its 2012 remembrance showed his commitment to the community.

"He was instrumental in the flood recovery and in the commemoration," Kooiker said Monday. "His service to our city was vital, and he will be missed."

He will be missed in particular by loved ones and friends who knew him long and well. They include Jerry Shoener, a 50-year Journal employee who was in leadership roles in circulation and other duties during Kuehn's years at the paper.

"He didn't blow a story up or knock it down. He was fair and he wanted accuracy," Shoener said. "He was very thorough, very accurate. When Jim was involved as a writer or editor, you knew it would be well done."

Shoener said Kuehn managed to be both a gentleman and an influential newsman who made a circulation manager's job easier.

"He always gave us a good product to sell," Shoener said.

Contact Kevin Woster at 394-8413 or kevin.woster@rapidcityjournal.com

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. Still Homesick
    Report Abuse
    Still Homesick - June 11, 2013 8:26 pm
    Another of western South Dakota's stalwarts has passed on. It was my privilege and honor to have known Jim for a very long while. Never one of my director mentors, he nonetheless helped to shape my career. The Fourth Estate is richer in ways that cannot be measured for his years of talented service and dedication. My condolences to his family and thousands of thankful readers. David Super
  2. Bluesky
    Report Abuse
    Bluesky - June 11, 2013 8:31 am
    Goodbye Jim, you will be missed. Rapid City is a much better community because of you and your leadership. The Rapid City Journal is what we grabbed everyday because you produced such a great newspaper. It is sad when Rapid loses such great person.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Deals, Offers and Events

Poll

Loading…

The speed limit on Interstate 90 may be trimmed to 75 mph from Rapid City to the Wyoming line after recently being increased to 80 mph. Do you agree with the decision to return to 75 mph?

View Results

Recent Blog Posts

Hardrockers, Chadron State to close spring football

Hardrockers, Chadron State to close spring football

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Chadron State College, South Dakota State and Wyoming will close their spring football seasons …

April 24, 2015 8:27 pm(0)

The woman with the red umbrella

The woman with the red umbrella

I had a friend visit Rapid City for the first time last week, so I thought it would be a good chance for him to see Mount Rushmore. Despite th…

April 24, 2015 2:00 pm(0)

Moderate with rain

Expect warm temperatures today with rain this evening. Tomorrow and Sunday the temperatures will cool off slightly and rain can be expected bo…

April 24, 2015 10:11 am(0)

PUC adds public-comment night on TransCanada permit

The final piece is now in place for the state Public Utilities Commission’s process for considering the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline’s per…

April 24, 2015 7:38 am(0)

MEDUSSA

MEDUSSA

MEDUSSA = Medusa

April 23, 2015 8:52 am(0)