Harold F. Grumhaus, who died May 29 in Naples, Fla., at the age of 96, rose from Chicago Tribune assistant production manager to chairman and chief executive officer of Tribune Co. in the course of a four-decade career which spanned the one-man leadership of Col. Robert R. McCormick to a modern multi-media corporation.

By: Vernelle Dorvil

In 1960, five years after McCormick’s death, Grumhaus was Chicago Tribune production manager when he was appointed business manager and given the assignment of completely restructuring the newspaper and its parent company. Grumhaus’ plan, which included reincorporating both entities, prepared the way for the eventual emergence of Tribune Co. as a public company in 1983.
Grumhaus was named Chicago Tribune publisher in 1969 just as the newspaper was making another kind of transition from its traditional outspoken Republican partisanship viewpoint. Grumhaus supported the paper’s journalists even when he disagreed with them. That hands-off approach was tested most severely, perhaps, during the Watergate crisis when the Chicago Tribune in May 1974 called for the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon.
Grumhaus was named to the additional positions of Tribune Co. chairman and CEO in 1971. Two years later, he relinquished the title of publisher to Stanton R. Cook, whom he had mentored in the production department.
Cook succeeded him as Tribune Co. chairman in 1974. He retired in 1976 as a Tribune Co. director. Grumhaus was preceded in death by the former Helen Royall Dean, his wife of 56 years. He is survived by his second wife, Margaret Austin Rodgers, whom he married in 1988; a son, David; a sister, Evelyn Parker; eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Three children of his second wife survive: David Rodgers, Sally Rodgers Cole and Ann Rodgers Loeffler. A memorial service in Lake Forest, Ill., is being planned for mid-July.

MIRIAM GESSNER, 71, a former editor for the The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., died on May 10, while traveling on an airplane to Lakeland from Philadelphia. Gessner received her degree as a registered nurse and worked in Chicago and Philadelphia after she graduated from college. She made a career change to journalism in the 1970s when she joined The Ledger as a community news editor for the paper’s weekly section. She was later promoted to copy editor for the editorial department. She developed the social column “”Over Your Coffee”” for the Life section of the paper. Overall Gessner’s journalism career lasted 14 years. She continued to write her syndicated column for the paper even after retirement, until poor health forced her to stop a few years ago. She remained active in several community groups.

KELSO GILLENWATER, 52, retired publisher of The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., died in Tacoma May 26. Gillenwater was also responsible for three regional Washington weeklies: The Peninsula Gateway in Gig Harbor, The Pierce County Herald, and the Northwest Guardian, a U.S. army newspaper serving Fort Lewis. Before moving to Tacoma in 1991, he was publisher of the daily Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash.

RICHARD HUNTER HEMP, 80, former editor at the San Francisco Chronicle died from cancer complications on May 31. Hemp served nearly four decades at the paper, rising from copy boy, to one of the paper’s most respected editors. He served as night city editor for 19 years; from 1969 until 1988 he worked as assignment editor. He later worked on the editorial page until he retired in 1993.

Richard Crabb, who founded the weekly McDonough (Ill.) Times while he was still in college and went on to become political editor and columnist for suburban Chicago papers, died May 12 in Hopedale, Ill. He was 88.
After graduation from Western Illinois University, he was farm editor of The Dispatch in Moline, Ill. He took a two-decade break from journalism to work in advertising for Funk Brothers Seed Co. in central Illinois. He next worked at several Chicago-area papers including the Arlington Day, Press Publications of Elmhurst, The Courier News in Elgin, and the Daily Journal of Wheaton, where he was consulting editor and columnist until the paper folded in 1992.
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