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James R. Hetherington

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James R. Hetherington Obituary

James Richard "Jim" Hetherington

James R. Hetherington, longtime Indianapolis journalist and public relations executive, passed away July 23, at Clare Bridge of Carmel. He is survived by Susan, his wife of 61 years, and sons Robert (Marybeth) of Germantown, TN and William (Jamie) of Boerne, TX and seven grandchildren: Rick, Matt, Greg, Abby, of TN, and Amelia, Katie, and Will, of TX. Brothers John D, of AZ, and Robert A, of GA also survive.

Calling will be Monday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Flanner and Buchanan in Broad Ripple. A memorial service is planned for Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (52nd & Central) of which he was a 53-year member.

The son of Fred and Pauline (Suiter) Hetherington, Mr. Hetherington was born February 3, 1931 in Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis. He attended middle and high school in Chatham, N.J. and was the outstanding male journalism graduate at Indiana University, Bloomington in 1953. He served in the U.S. Army at Ft. Benning, GA and Ft. Mead MD until 1955 when he joined the Louisville Times as a reporter. Later he became Indiana Editor and Picture Page editor.

Jim returned to Indianapolis as assistant city editor of the Indianapolis Times in 1961. And in 1963, he moved from print to broadcast journalism, joining the WFBM stations as reporter, documentary and editorial writer. During his 13 years at Channel 6, Jim and the station received the three major national awards for excellence in broadcast news: the George Foster Peabody award for distinguished achievement and meritorious public service, the Alfred I DuPont Award - the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize for broadcast documentary and digital journalism - and the Alfred P. Sloan award, as well as multiple Casper Awards. Jim taught broadcast newswriting at Butler University. He was the first broadcast journalist elected president of the Indianapolis Press Club.

In 1976, Mr. Hetherington joined American United Life Insurance company, Inc. where he served as vice president for corporate communications. During his 20 year career at AUL his responsibilities included the sign board, designed to bring a smile to passersby.

Jim was active on at least seven community boards, including IndyGo, the Indianapolis Public Transit Corporation. He served as president of five separate organizations for professional communicators. He received a Sagamore of the Wabash from Gov. Orr in 1985. In retirement, he ran in two half marathons and authored four books about Indianapolis history, institutions and people.

In 2008, the Indianapolis Public Relations society honored Jim with its first PR Legend Award. In April of this year, Jim was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.

Memorial contributions may be made to Bethlehem Lutheran Church or the Propylaeum Historic Foundation. Arrangements entrusted through Crown Hill Funeral Home .

Published in the The Indianapolis Star on July 27, 2014
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