The longtime mayor of northwest Missouri’s Chillicothe died Saturday morning at the age of 81.
Chuck Haney was also a Missouri Press Association Hall of Famer, spending years as a reporter, newspaper publisher and radio announcer, primarily in northwest Missouri.
He covered two news stories in and near Chillicothe, that became national stories.
Missourinet Chillicothe affiliate KCHI Radio reports Haney served as Chillicothe’s mayor for 11 years, from 2007 until his passing.
City Administrator Darin Chappell describes Haney’s death as a shock.
KCHI notes Haney was a spokesman for Chillicothe, promoting every aspect of the community, from youth sports to education to the city itself.
Haney lived in Chillicothe all but three years of his life.
The “Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune” reports Haney worked at the newspaper for 34 years, and served as its editor and publisher from 1980-1998.
Veteran “Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune” news editor Cathy Ripley tells Missourinet Haney was inducted into the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame in 2008.
The Missouri Press Association’s website notes that to be considered for induction into the Newspaper Hall of Fame, “a person must have made exemplary contributions to the newspaper industry over a number of years, lived honorably, influenced unselfishly, thought soundly and displayed community involvement.”
MPA, which is based in Columbia, founded the Hall of Fame in 1991.
Haney is one of only 97 people to be inducted. Members include Joseph Pulitzer.
The Missouri Press Association’s website notes plaques of the honorees are displayed in the MPA building and in Lee Hills Hall at the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia.
Haney covered several major stories which made national news.
U.S. Rep. Jerry Litton, D-Chillicothe, was a congressman who represented northwest Missouri. He had strong support from farmers. There were green bumper stickers at that time, which read “Litton for President.”
Litton ran for the 1976 Democratic nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Stuart Symington (D).
Litton captured the Democratic Senate nomination on August 3, 1976, beating former Governor Warren Hearnes and Congressman James Symington. That night, Litton and his family were about to fly to Kansas City to join their supporters when their plane crashed on take-off. Litton, his wife Sharon, their two children, and pilot Paul Rupp and his son were all killed.
Haney covered the crash and also allowed news outlets from across the state to use the Chillicothe newspaper’s facilities, to file their stories.
“In particular, his reporting on the tragic death of Jerry Litton and his family on Election Night in 1976 was recognized nationally by the news cooperative (AP),” former Kansas City AP bureau chief Paul Stevens tells the “Constitution-Tribune.”
Haney also covered Congressman Litton’s funeral, noting that then-House Majority Leader Tip O’Neill (D) and numerous other members of Congress traveled to Chillicothe for the funeral.
Haney also covered the high-profile Ray Copeland case.
Ray Copeland and his wife, Faye, were convicted of killing five drifters in Livingston County, near Chillicothe. They were the oldest couple ever sentenced to death in the United States. Ray Copeland would die in prison in 1993, and Faye Copeland died in 2003.
The gruesome murder investigations and the trial also attracted coverage from “60 Minutes”.
Haney also worked in radio, including time at KCHI. He was involved in hosting high school football scoreboard and interview shows on both KMZU Radio in Carrollton and later for KTTN Radio in Trenton.
During the 1990s, Haney hosted the popular “Fifth Quarter” show on KMZU on Friday nights during high school football season, and on Tuesday and Friday nights during the high school basketball season.
KCHI reports Haney’s funeral is Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at St. Columban’s Catholic Church in Chillicothe, with burial in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Wheeling.
Memorials for Mr. Haney are suggested to Bishop Hogan School or the St. Columban’s restoration fund.
Copyright © 2018 · Missourinet