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Tom R. Hennion

Tom R. Hennion

Tom R. Hennion, an award-winning newspaper editor who worked in journalism for nearly half a century, died July 20, 2006, at the age of 93.

Hennion, who was editor of the Tulare, Calif., Advance-Register for 36 years (1945-1981), died in Medford, his home since 1998.

Born in Ventura, Calif., June 8, 1913 to Frank and Nellie Hennion, he moved to Tulare Nov. 11, 1945 to become editor of the Advance-Register, which had just been acquired by the John P. Scripps Newspaper Group of California and Washington. He came from Ventura where he had been managing editor of the company's flagship newspaper, the Ventura County Star-Free Press.

During his 36 years at the AR's helm, the newspaper won more than 120 national, state and regional awards for journalistic excellence. He was nominated in 1980 for journalism's most prestigious honor, the Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing.

After his retirement, he spent years volunteering for the Tulare City Historical Society, as a charter and life member and as vice president and also as its historian, publicity chairman, and newsletter editor. He authored and narrated six documentary slide shows on the history of Tulare and its people.

In 1985 he was named Tulare's Man of the Year. In 1987 and 1988 he served on the California Farm Equipment Show staff as public information director and in 1992 authored and supervised publication of "Silver Memories," a historical volume recording the story of the first 25 years of what is now the world's largest agricultural trade show.

He was respected throughout the newspaper profession for his continuous work in its behalf. He was a director of the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the Western Newspaper Foundation, a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and for nine years chairman of a statewide CNPA committee credited with greatly improving the quality of journalism education in the West's colleges and universities.

He was chairman of the California Editors Conference at Stanford University, a co-founder and second president of the Associated Press News Executives Council, secretary of the California-Nevada AP Association, and first chairman of the Journalism Department Advisory Board at California State University, Fresno.

In December 1993, 13 years after his retirement, he became only the fifth person ever to receive the California Newspaper Association's prestigious Philip McCombs Achievement Award for distinguished service of a particularly unusual nature to his community and the newspaper profession.

He is survived by his wife, Evelyn, of Medford; their son, Reeve and his wife, Lyn, of Buncom; daughter, Judith Anne Harza, Campbell, Calif.; grandsons, Jeffrey Reeve Hennion, his wife, Elizabeth and their three children, Andrew, Nicholas and Paige of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Douglas Hennion, his wife, Laurie and two children, Alex and Mariah of Eugene, Ore.

Remembrances may be made to the Endowment Fund, Tulare City Historical Society, P.O. Box 248, Tulare, Calif., 93275; to the Tom R. Hennion Scholarship Fund at University Foundation Account #7123, California State University Chico, Chico, CA 95929, or to the donor's favorite charity. No funeral service will be held.

Tom R. Hennion