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Heaster, Jerry (May 10, 1938-October 10, 2012)



  • Existence: May 10, 1938 - October 10, 2012


Jerry Heaster was born May 10, 1938, in Richwood, West Virginia, to Gerald and Virginia (Orr) Heaster, and graduated in 1956 from South Charleston High School in South Charleston, West Virginia. Heaster's nearly 50-year journalism career began after enlisting in the Army out of high school and spending much of his tour of duty in the Far East.

He worked for the Pacific Stars & Stripes while stationed in Asian outposts, mostly South Korea. After an honorable discharge, he remained in the Far East as a civilian, joining the Okinawa Morning Star as the 1960s dawned. The Morning Star was the daily newspaper that many English-speaking readers relied upon throughout the Far East. It was located on the small island of Okinawa, which at the time was a U.S. territory and housed a substantial American military and civilian population. Heaster worked there the entire decade in a variety of newsroom roles, including as news editor and as an on-the-town, society columnist.

After marrying and having two children in Okinawa, Heaster returned to the U.S. with his family in 1970, eventually joining The Journal Herald in Dayton, Ohio. He began as a night copy editor before becoming an assistant city editor. In 1974, the newspaper began a search for a financial editor to expand coverage of business news. Due to his growing personal interest in economics, personal finance and the business world, Heaster was hired. It was his efforts to expand the Journal Herald's financial/business section along with his opinionated columns espousing free markets that led to Heaster's opportunity in Kansas City.

He spent the last 33 years of his life in the Kansas City area, joining the-then evening Kansas City Star in 1979 as business editor and columnist. He turned to full-time column-writing in 1990 for the Star's business desk upon its operational merger with the morning Kansas City Times. His stint at the Star also afforded him a chance to combine his two passions – writing and golf – to author a book about Kansas City area golf courses.

Heaster retired in 2006 after suffering health issues. He died at his home in Lenexa, Kansas, on October 10, 2012.

Source: Derived from Heaster’s obituary in the Kansas City Star, October 14, 2012.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Jerry Heaster Collection

Identifier: MS-0232
Scope and Contents

The Jerry Heaster Collection was a gift of Hope Heaster in March 2013. The collection contains business columns written by Heaster for the Kansas City Starfrom 1979 to 2005.

Dates: 1965 - 2005