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June 11, 2019 CT - Chuck Haney Field was dedicated Thursday night in honor of the late mayor, original Mudcats team board member, long-time local baseball umpire, and a beloved man known to many as "Mr. Chillicothe." Darin Chappell, Chillicothe city administrator, is shown presenting a shadowbox to Haney's daughter, Kathy Carlton, son, Kevin Haney, and several of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Four of Haney's great-grandchildren threw out the ceremonial "first pitch" before the game. [BUTCH SHAFFER/CT PHOTO]

By Catherine Stortz Ripley
05/07/18 C-T

Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney, who devoted his life to community service, worked at the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune for 34 years and served as its editor and publisher from 1980 until 1998, passed away Saturday morning at Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe. He was 81.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be at St. Columban's Catholic Church in Chillicothe, Missouri, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. The Chillicothe Police Department has designated areas as "no parking" to assist with funeral parking due to the large number of people expected for the funeral.

Haney was serving his sixth term as mayor, having been elected to the position first in 2007. It is unknown at this time whether Councilman-at-Large Reed Dupy, whose position also is that of mayor pro-tem, will need to be sworn in as mayor, according to City Administrator Darin Chappell.

Haney was well-known throughout Missouri in media, sports, government and political circles and was known as, perhaps, Chillicothe's biggest promoter. Whether emceeing an RSVP banquet, interviewing coaches or players for a radio sports show, or implementing a campaign to raise money for charity, Haney was driven with a passion to better the community. "On top of being a tremendous individual, he was the biggest cheerleader and ambassador for Chillicothe," Administrator Chappell said. "He has done a tremendous amount for Chillicothe in his active leadership and hardworking individual citizenship." "He has given us a lot to aspire to," Chappell added. "This will be a void that is difficult to fill and get past."

Haney served as councilman-at-large from 2001 until his election as mayor in 2007. As a 1955 graduate of Chillicothe High School, Haney attended Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield and began his media career in radio in the mid-1950s. He worked for KCHI in Chillicothe and for KFEQ radio and KQTV in St. Joseph until June 1964, when Bill Plummer and Charles Watkins recruited him away from radio, according to a 1995 article published by the Missouri Press Association. Haney became a general assignment reporter for the Constitution-Tribune in June 1964, and later held the positions of sports editor, editorial page editor, news editor and managing editor. He was named publisher in 1980.

Perhaps the most memorable news event which Haney covered occurred the night of the 1976 primary election when Jerry Litton, a friend and former classmate of Haney, had just won the U.S. Senate race. Litton, his wife and their two children were flying to a celebration in Kansas City when the plane crashed shortly after taking off from the Chillicothe Municipal Airport, killing everyone on board including the pilot and his son. Haney's reporting on the tragic event was recognized nationally by The Associated Press.

"Chuck cared deeply about his community; and he was a strong, active participant in The Associated Press, dedicated to sharing news from the area for fellow AP members," said Paul Stevens, who as Kansas City AP chief of bureau worked with Haney for 25 years. Haney earned professional and civic accolades. He served as president of the Northwest Missouri Press Association and the Missouri Press Association, president of the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, and was on the Board of Directors of the Missouri Press Association Foundation. In 2008, he was inducted into Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame for having made exemplary contributions to the newspaper industry over a number of years and having displayed strong community involvement.

For many years Haney was the "Voice of the Hornets" announcing Chillicothe High School sporting events. After basketball and football games, he'd return to the newspaper office to head up the "Fifth Quarter Show," a call-in radio show that was broadcast live on KMZU. Coaches from throughout the area would call in scores and talk about the games. Haney began writing a weekly column, "On the Street" for the Constitution-Tribune. Even after leaving the C-T in 1998, he continued writing the column which appeared continuously in other publications.

In 2014, Haney was presented the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce's Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions as a community leader. "His devotion to his family, his friends, his church and his community is the stuff of legends," said Andrea Graves, former C-T advertising director when she presented Haney with the Lifetime Achievement Award. "His genuine love of all of those things is something that doesn't necessarily show up on a resume, but is truly the measure of a man."

Haney is survived by his daughter, Kathy Carlton, of Chillicothe, his son, Kevin Haney and wife Kyra, of Chillicothe; seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Rita.

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