John Brooken Gaines, the former publisher of the Bowling Green Daily News who headed the paper’s parent company, has died.
Gaines died Friday at The Medical Center in Bowling Green following a brief illness. He was 92.
Gaines was president and chairman of the board of News Publishing LLC, which operates the Daily News. His grandfather, John B. Gaines, founded the newspaper in 1882 and it has remained in the family’s hands since its inception.
Gaines was a Bowling Green native and was involved with the Daily News since 1938, becoming publisher in 1947 and continuing in that role until becoming president in 1997. His son, Pipes Gaines, is currently the paper’s publisher.
During his long career Gaines developed a reputation as a passionate newspaper man who cared deeply about the bond between the paper and the community it served.
“He was a hell of a good newspaper man,” said former Daily News managing editor Don Stringer.
Gaines remained involved at the paper until his final days, coming into the office whenever his health would allow.
“He always stood behind us in the newsroom and he had no compunction, when we were right, about saying ‘That’s what we’re going to do,'” Stringer said.
Gaines’ straightforward nature earned him the respect of the readers and the businesses who advertised in the paper, said Gregg K. Jones, co-publisher of The Greeneville (Tenn.) Sun and president of Jones Media Inc.
“So many people in Bowling Green have built their businesses through (the) newspaper in Bowling Green,” Jones said. “He loved that and seeing people succeed, and seeing Bowling Green progress. At the same time, John was a fiercely independent guy.”
Gaines was heavily involved in the industry, serving as president of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and the Kentucky Press Association. He received the Edwards M. Templin Memorial Award in 1980, presented annually by the Lexington Herald-Leader for outstanding community service.
Funeral services will be held for Gaines at Christ Episcopal Church on Monday. Visitation will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. CDT, followed immediately by a memorial service.
Gaines attended Western Kentucky University and graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in journalism. He was a member of Sigma Chi social fraternity and the Society of Professional Journalists.