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Jack Keever

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JACK KEEVER: 1938-2004

Longtime Associated Press reporter dies
Keever covered three decades of Texas history.

By Monica Polanco
Monday, July 19, 2004

Jack Keever, who covered three decades of Texas history for The Associated Press, including Charles Whitman's deadly shootout from the University of Texas Tower in 1966, died Sunday. He was 66.

Keever, who had cancer, died in his Austin home, longtime friend Ernie Stromberger said.

Keever began his journalism career as managing editor of the Daily Texan in 1959. He graduated from the University of Texas in 1960 and later received a master's degree in journalism.

A literature lover and skilled grammarian, Keever joined The Associated Press' Dallas office in 1961 before being transferred to the Austin bureau.

He covered sports, then branched out into the political sphere, writing about the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, 15 sessions of the Texas Legislature, 11 governor's races and political campaigns for other state offices.

"When he would interview people, they wouldn't want to respond to his questions," said Bo Byers, a former colleague. "He would just stick with it and really bear down on them to answer his questions, and he usually got his answer."

At the AP's Austin bureau, Keever reviewed his colleagues' articles before they were distributed through the wire service, Stromberger said.

"We always wanted Jack to read our stories because we knew that he would catch the grammatical errors," he said. "He was the one that was the most adept at editing out the mistakes and making the articles more readable."

An avid reader, Keever collected books and memorabilia about Texas history. He also volunteered as a member of the author-selection committee for the Texas Book Festival.

He wrote several books, including a history of Austin's waterways and a history of the Texas insurance industry. Keever also co-wrote the former governor's biography "John B. Connally: Portrait in Power" and edited several sports books.

He received many awards, including six Charles E. Green journalism awards and an honorable mention in the Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award for Columbia University.

He retired from The Associated Press in 1992 and then taught journalism at Austin Community College until 2000, receiving an award for excellence in teaching from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development.

Keever is survived by his wife, Cynthia Keever; his daughter, Erin Keever; and a son, Graham Keever. Services are pending.

In lieu of flowers, his family requests that donations be sent to the Jack Keever Scholarship Fund for managing editors of the Daily Texan at the Headliners Foundation, P.O. Box 97, Austin, TX 78767.

Published in Austin American-Statesman on July 19, 2004
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