Tom Leathers
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Tom Leathers, publisher of The Squire, dies By JIM SULLINGER
The Kansas City Star

Tom Leathers, a Kansas City area journalist and publisher of The Squire, died Monday at age 77.

In addition to editing and publishing weekly newspapers for many years, he was the host of talk shows on area radio stations and cable television in Johnson County.

He also appeared in several movies shot in the Kansas City area: “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge” with Paul Newman, “Truman” with Gary Sinise and Robert Altman’s “Kansas City.”

Leathers was president of The Ad Center, an advertising agency, and publisher of more than 150 books by area and Midwest authors.

He was raised in Kansas City and attended Kansas State University, Manhattan, where he earned a degree in journalism. He formerly covered police and city government for The Kansas City Star.

During the Korean War, he served in the U.S. Navy as a naval air intelligence officer.

Leathers founded the Best in Theatre Awards and was formerly a member of advisory boards for the Dream Factory, ALS Society and St. Joseph Health Center. He was on the advisory board of Avila College and was program chairman of the Men’s Breakfast Club at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood.

He was married to Patty Leathers, a post-anesthesia nurse, and had two sons — David Leathers, publisher of Kansas City Homes & Gardens, and Kevin Leathers, a New York attorney.
Published in Kansas City Star on Sep. 13, 2005.
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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26 entries
September 3, 2016
I met my wife thru the "other paper". We have now be married for 30 years.
Larry Gieringer
August 22, 2006
I lived in the Kansas City area from '82 - '91 and knew Tom from my work in local radio during that time. In the years since, I haven't kept up with KC goings-on and I am only now learning of Tom's passing. Picking up a copy of Tom's newspaper was a weekly treat and a nice alternative to The Star. He was one-of-a-kind!
Scott Marinoff
October 16, 2005
My family knew Tom and his family for two generations. They shopped at our grocery store in Leawood KS for years and years. I sacked and carried out hundreds of orders for them. Tom even wrote a feature article when Dad sold the store in 1980.
Fairwell old friend - you, too, will be missed.

Dan
Daniel Martin
October 11, 2005
My sincere condolences to Tom's family. I met him only once -- this summer -- and he never let on that he was ill. I was bowled over by his irrepressible enthusiasm for life, his newspapers, and politics. What a terrific man he was! We are proud to count him as an alumnus of K-State!
Llewellyn Crain
Kansas State University, College of Arts and Sciences
Llewellyn Crain
September 24, 2005
Jerry
September 21, 2005
Though I have not lived in Johnson County for nearly 12 years, I will always remember Tom as a truly independent journalist who always called them as he saw them and always had an affinity for the underdog. Tom never feared the powerful folk. He treated everyone the same. My vision of Tom will always remain with him firmly planted in his booth at Pumpernick's, drinking his 10th cup of coffee, armed with pen and legal pad, hammering out his latest epistle. Knowing Tom, I'm sure he's about to start the first after-life newsmagazine. My sincere condolences to Tom's family. May his memory be a blessing.
Gary Blumenthal
September 20, 2005
Tom was such a tireless, humorous and wonderful person. Really quite an entrepreneur in a difficult profession.
We became good friends in the mid-1980's through various Johnson County activities. I don't think we ever disagreed, which means I must have been right all of the time!
It should be noted that he was a pivotal organizer of the Leawood Chamber of Commerce and an enthusiastic supporter of its activities.
He was a great Johnson County historian, and knew so much about Leawood that I sometimes thought the City fathers named the City with the first three letters of Tom's last name in mind.
The likes of Tom Leathers don't come along very often. He left an imprint on so many. He will be missed.
Steve Melcher
Solana Beach, CA
Steve Melcher
September 19, 2005
Leather's Family = the community will miss Tom so much. He was instrumental in our family joining Asbury UMC in l955 because of their sports program! Tom and Dan played on several teams & coached youth basketball. Maybe they are both continueing their sports interest along with our son Del. We enjoyed his articles and honesty in the Squire publications. He wrote with integrity. I still remember all of us playing pingpong at our house when he told us he was starting his own newspaper. Our hearts go out to you; blessings and love. Helen
Rev. Helen Liston
September 19, 2005
Tom,
Thanks for all of the great Publishing classes that you taught for me while I was in Leawood. I was very excited to work with you again in Shawnee. I will see you again. You will be greatly missed...Thank you.
Eric Ely
September 17, 2005
Susan R Downing, MPA
September 16, 2005
Like many of Tom’s friends, we initially met when I wrote to him about something he’d said or written that I disagreed with. There have been so many things Tom and I have disagreed on over the years that I can’t remember what the original argument was about. What I do remember is that from that debate sprouted a friendship that lasted 20 years.

I used to call Barbara at The Other Paper or Squire and simply say, “I need to talk to my mentor.” There was not a better source for local Kansas City history than Tom. He could tell me who and what each street was named for and what happened beneath each lamppost. Leathers was a great guy and just enough of an imp to keep him interesting for over 50 years. May we all live life as fully as Tom Terrific.
Greg Hall
September 16, 2005
Tom Leathers You will be missed very much for how you've been an encourager and a strength. May you rest in peace and I pray the peace of God will be upon your family and That he will continue to protect them while you rest.

You will always be remembered for your words of encouragement and your tender heart and kindness toward every life you've touched.
Gina James
September 15, 2005
My heart goes out to the Leathers Family. Tom was a great friend... a true inspiration. For two years I wrote a column for the Town Squire Magazine, and it was one of the most enlightening experiences of my lifetime. My time spent with Tom was really very important to my development. Our friendship stayed strong even after I left Kansas City. Most recently, Tom joined me for the Orange Bowl in 2003 against Iowa, and it was just like old times.

Tom, I will miss you, will love you always. Sincerely, Mike Garrett
Mike Garrett
September 15, 2005
I worked for Tom for a very short time a few months back. We had our moments together, as we were both stubborn. I feel I was blessed the short time I knew Tom. I sat and listened like a child on my grandfathers lap to his stories,I was in awe and loved them.
He is loved by many and will be missed.
Mark Jacobson
September 14, 2005

I send my condolences to the family:
I fwd this old msg as a way of introducing myself--
I was so sorry to hear on the TV about Tom's death.
We served together in the Navy long ago--when we were in Okinawa --in 1953 about. Only recently had we renewed our acquaintances. Earlier would have been nice.
Please pass this msg along to the family--

Bill Moyer
I was Ens W. F. Moyer back in those days
HAVE A GOOD DAY
From
Bill and Essie
----- Original Message -----
From: Leatherpub@aol.com
To: billstoy@grm.net
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2005 5:44 PM
Subject: Re: Message from the past, For TOM


Bill:
Yes, it is me! And we're trying to get the picture printed off our computer. I haven't changed in 52 years, as you can see. I publish books and a newspaper, The Squire - for 45 years.
You're the only VP-1 contact I've had in 20 years. So it's great to hear from you.
Tom
W. F. Bill Moyer
September 14, 2005
When I moved to Overland Park, a former high school journalism teacher with two teenaged daughters and no job, I called Tom Leathers to complain about an article he had written about poor journalism instruction. That led to Tom's offering me a job as feature writer for The Other Paper and Town Squire Magazine. I chose to write for Tom's publications rather than to teach high school, and have never regretted that choice, thanks to the opportunities Tom gave me. I learned a lot from Tom about trend watching and what makes a good story. Tom truly understood community journalism and the kind of writing that sells. His interest in and knowledge of local history was amazing. He will be missed. My sympathy to Kevin and David.
Rachel Bolton
September 14, 2005
Tom gave me my first job in journalism, in 1971. He was a teacher as much as a boss, and I think that he enjoyed that role very much. He was a wonderful example of "going for it," modeling layouts for his little suburban papers after Esquire Magazine and making his young reporters feel like we were writing for it! His ambition, humor and love for Kansas City were boundless. Every city needs a Tom Leathers, and KC was lucky enough to have one. I have written for bigger newspapers, but the first one was the best, and the closest to my heart.
Bev Price
September 14, 2005
I've known Tom for so many years...starting when I was 19 years old and a young, green salesperson for The Wednesday Magazine in Brookside. The Squire was our competition...and I quickly learned that Tom was adept at winning. He seemed always a step ahead of us. I got to know him better when I married Ed Harnett (my ex-husband) who had been a neighbor of Tom's when the children were young. I spent time with his son, Dave...and felt close to the family. The one thing I did admire about Tom was his wide-open curiosity and slap-you-on-the-back sales talent. He was a whirlwind of activity and his laughter covered whatever personal sorrow or worries that were inside. I am glad to have known him, and wish his children the peace of a loving family and wide group of friends. Anita Osborn.
Anita Osborn
September 14, 2005
I am the Friday columnist for the Vail Daily in Vail, Colorado. Tom Leathers was a mentor for me when I was in high school. I read the Squire regularly and particularly enjoyed Tom telling it as it was. He demonstrated courage that is rarely found today, by letting us know what was really going on. Kansas City and I will miss Tom Leathers. May he rest in peace.
Michael Cacioppo
September 13, 2005
I will miss the Squire. It was like a real down home newspaper, featuring people you may have not known personally but you knew who they were. Tom was not afraid to tell it like he saw it. .
Teresa Weaver
September 13, 2005
i was really sadden to hear about Mr.Leathers never will i foget the kindness he had shown me through the yrs. of waiting on him and you too Patty at Joe's you have my prayers and never will forget either of you i have good memories and will alwayshold them dear to me
lou mccoart
September 13, 2005
I worked for Tom for only a brief period before I became very ill and had to stop working, however, Tom was very supportive of me and treated me very well. I only stopped working a few months ago, but am glad that I knew Tom when I did - he had a very good heart and I know many people will miss him very much - as well as everything that he was involved in. I know that he was very much in love and very proud of his family...you cant go to heaven much happier than that. My condolences to his friends and family. God Bless.
hilary roskens
September 13, 2005
Patty, Sorry to hear of Tom's passing. I only met him a couple of times but I know Pat knew him better. He left a great legacy and I know he will be missed. You have my deepest sympathy and you and your family is in our prayers. Marty Hansen
Marty Hansen
September 13, 2005
WHEN I WAS THE CEO OF ST JOSEPH HEALTH CENTER, I MET TOM AT ONE OF OUR ADVISORY COUNCIL BREAKFASTS AND THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF A GREAT FRIENDSHIP. I WAS RECENTLY IN KANSAS CITY VISITING MY CHILDREN AND WENT TO FIRST WATCH FOR BREAKFAST AND SAW TOM AND PATTIE HAVING BREAKFAST. I CAN'T REMEMBER HOW LONG AGO THAT WAS BUT WE TALKED AND I SHARED WITH THEM WHERE I WAS AND WHAT I WAS DOING. I RECENTLY SUBSCRIBED TO THE SQUIRE AND ENJOYED KEEPING UP WITH THE KC NEWS. I ALSO RECENTLY WROTE A LETTER TO HIM ABOUT HIS GREAT ARTICLE ON JOE McGUFF. TOM WAS ONE OF A KIND AND A TRUE FRIEND TO THE KANSAS CITY AREA. HE WILL BE TRULY MISSED. MY CONDOLENCES TO PATTIE, DAVID AND THE REST OF THE FAMILY. MAY GOD BLESS HIM.
MIKE ABELL
September 13, 2005
I worked for Tom when I was going through a really hard time in my life. I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 22 years old and him and Patty helped me out and gave me tips on how to stay up beat. Thank you for that. You will be missed.
Nikki
September 13, 2005
I have known Tom since 1969. I met him over coffee at a place near State Line and 75th street, though I cannot remember the name. I can recall many long talks where as a young man just entering the business world, I listened and tried to learn. Later I would run into him around Kansas City at meetings or cocktail parties, etc. where he was participating or gathering information. He always said he remembered me and those talks we had over coffee in 1969 and 1970, though I really don't think that I was that memorable and he was just being polite.

He has been one of those Kansas City icons and I am saddened by his passing. I'm better for having known him and read and heard what he had to say. I would like to have that said of me.
Donald Rogers
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