"Dick Inskeep was a great publisher," said Craig Klugman, longtime editor of the Journal Gazette. "He understood the importance of a free press, and a press that can speak truth to power and can keep citizens informed."
Klugman said the Journal Gazette staff will carry on that tradition as it moves forward.
Inskeep also was very "plugged in" to the community, Klugman said. Along with being involved in many community organizations, Inskeep also started The Journal Gazette Foundation in 1986, which Klugman said has given more than $10 million over the years to local organizations and causes.
Born Aug. 25, 1924, in Bluffton, Inskeep graduated from Rock Creek High School in Wells County in 1942 and Indiana University in Bloomington in 1950.
In 1949 Inskeep married Harriett Simmons, a niece of Virgil M. Simmons, who was co-publisher of the Journal-Gazette with James R. Fleming. Inskeep began working at the paper that same year, and over the next two years worked in every department at the newspaper.
Virgil Simmons died in 1958, and when Fleming died in 1973 Inskeep was named publisher.
On Jan. 1, 1997, he retired from his job as publisher, and his daughter, Julie Inskeep, succeeded him as Journal Gazette publisher.
However, he continued to serve on the board of Fort Wayne Newspapers, the business agent for the Journal Gazette and its competitor, The News-Sentinel, which is owned by Wheeling, W. Va.-based Odgen Newspapers. He also remained president of The Journal Gazette Co., which owns investments and funds The Journal Gazette Foundation.
Richard Inskeep's contributions to journalism were recognized in 1991 when he was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. In December 2006 he received the First Freedom Award from the Hoosier State Press Association. The group created the award in 1978 to recognize service and commitment to freedom of speech.
In 2009, the Allen County Bar Association honored him with a Liberty Bell award. The award is given each year to a non-lawyer who is recognized for community service that strengthens the American system of freedom under law. His wife, Harriett, won the award in 1990.
Inskeep was known for more than his contributions to journalism. He also will be remembered for his involvement in higher education, especially his work on behalf of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and Indiana University.
"Dick Inskeep was a champion of higher education and a loyal and generous supporter of Indiana University and IPFW," said Irene Walters, executive director of University Relations and Communications at IPFW. "He advocated for higher education in our city, our state, and throughout the country in his role as national president of the Indiana University Alumni Association."
He was a member of the IPFW Foundation, Walters said, "and brought high standards for service and integrity to every endeavor he undertook."
He was awarded an honorary degree from Indiana University through IPFW in 2006 and the Broyles Medal in 2003, Walters said. The Broyles Medal is awarded for unique and significant contributions to IPFW from an IU graduate. Harriett Inskeep won the award in 1978.
The Inskeep Library inside the DeVault Alumni Center at IU is named for Richard and Harriett Inskeep.
He served on the board of directors of the Memorial Coliseum and the President's Council of Indiana University Bloomington.
He had served as a YMCA/Central Branch board member, chairman of major gifts for the Metro YMCA Building campaign and was a member of the United Way board of directors. He also was a board member of the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and Fort Wayne Philharmonic.
Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana named him to the Greater Fort Wayne Business Hall of Fame in 1998.
County Commissioners' statementWednesday afternoon, the Allen County Board of Commissioners issued the following statement regarding the death of Richard Inskeep, longtime publisher of the Journal Gazette:
“Richard Inskeep was a talented and committed journalist who cared deeply for Allen County, Fort Wayne and the northeast Indiana communities his newspaper covered. His paper never shied away from taking positions on a variety of local and state issues, and he would steadfastly lead the defense of the paper's opinions. He left his mark on his profession in this state with the establishment of various scholarships for students interested in pursuing a career in journalism. He will also be remembered for creation of The Journal Gazette Foundation and his community involvement and activity on boards and organizations, including the Memorial Coliseum board of trustees. Our prayers and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends during this time of loss.”