Wilber L. Kendall · 1972
By Terri Lynn Johnson
Wilber L. Kendall was born in Greensburg, Indiana, on December 29, 1893, the first born son of I.C. and Ada Watson Kendall. He had two sisters and a brother. His sister, Gertrude, lives in Martinsville. He attended elementary school in Greensburg and attended Greensburg High School.
At 16, he decided to quit school and take a job as a "printer’s devil" in the shop that printed the Baptist Observer. At this job, he ran odd errands and did anything and everything that needed to be done around a printing plant.
After a few months, he went to work in another printing shop. This one printed the Greensburg Daily News and other publications.
When the first world war started, he enlisted in the Army and his tour of duty included about a year in France. He also helped train new divisions near Syracuse, New York. He left the Army in 1918 as a First Sergeant.
While in Syracuse, he became good friends with Professor P.O. Place, a well-known Latin authority at Syracuse University. Kendall studied history and English. While in Syracuse, Kendall worked at the Syracuse Post-Standard.
Kendall decided he would be "too old" by the time he graduated, so he left college and returned to Greensburg where he joined some other investors and started a job shop or printing company.
He met Margaret Groenier at the Greensburg Presbyterian Church, which they both attended and they were married on June 24, 1920. They had three children. A son, Robert S., was born July 29, 1921. His daughter, Marian, was born October 30, 1922. The Kendall’s third child Carolyn, was born February 24, 1928 and died at the age of 12.
In 1923, Kendall and some investors established the Greensburg Daily News Printing Corporation.
In 1929, Kendall moved his family to Rushville, where he worked his way to business manager of the Rushville Republican, with many of the same investors who were joined for the Greensburg Daily News.
In 1946, Kendall became major owner in the Martinsville Daily Reporter, and his son, Robert, moved there to take care of his interest in the paper. In 1948, he left Rushville to become president and publisher of the Martinsville Daily Reporter publishing company in Martinsville.
His son, Robert, is now editor of the Martinsville Daily Reporter and president of the Reporter-Times, Inc., publishing company. He and his wife, Dorothy, have two daughters and a son, Mark, who is publisher of the Mooresville Times.
His daughter, Marian, is now Dr. Marian (Mrs. William) DeMyer. A medical doctor, she teaches at the Indiana University Medical School. The DeMyers have two sons and a daughter.
Mr. and Mrs. Wilber Kendall reside at 1089 East Columbus, Martinsville.
Kendall entered the publishing business through the "back door," as he is fond of saying, as a "printer’s devil" when only 16 years old.
His first job was with the Baptist Observer, a church paper in Greensburg, Indiana. After only a few months, he went to another printing plant where he helped with the printing of several daily newspapers and other printing work.
His enlisting in World War I meant a short break from the printing field. This was followed by a short stint as a linotype operator for the Syracuse (New York) Post-Standard.
Returning to Greensburg in 1918, he helped establish a job shop where several newspapers were printed including several dailies. On June 30, 1923, he and several other investors formed the Greensburg News Publishing Company, combining several of the dailies into the Greensburg Daily News. He served as a director in this company until 1948.
In 1929, he went into the Rushville Republican as an investor and worked his way from the job shop to business manager.
In 1946, Kendall became the major owner in the Martinsville Daily Reporter. Two years later, he moved there to become president and publisher. At this time, 1948, he sold his interest in the Greensburg Daily News and the Rushville Republican.
In 1972, the Reporter Publishing Company bought the Mooresville Times and formed the Reporter-Times, Inc. Kendall became chairman of the board of the Reporter-Times, Inc., a position he still holds.
He is one of the oldest members of the Indiana Republican Editorial Association (IREA). He is also a member of the Hoosier State Press Association (HSPA) and in 1967, served as Sergeant at Arms of Inland Group 25 of HSPA.
On May 19, 1972, he was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame for "long, often unrecognized service."
When he first came to Martinsville, his interests were primarily in the business side of the printing business, but he had done some writing. He began to expand this to include coverage of meetings and community clubs. He also developed a column entitled "Comment" that he still continues to write. The column combines personal anecdotes with quotes from famous philosophers, writers and historians, and references to many historical events.
Wilber L. Kendall has always been active in community affairs in any community he made his home. He says a newspaper’s role is to help promote the community and he has tried to do this.
In Rushville, he and Dr. C.C. Atkins got a Boys’ Club started. He was active in veterans organizations and in Masons.
He has always been active in his church. In Martinsville, the First Presbyterian Church, 210 East Washington, has been his church home. He has served as an elder, and is now retired. He was a delegate to the National General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.
He started a library fund to establish a church library to "help people realize the importance of the church in the history of the world." On Sunday, October 2, 1977, his dream came true with the dedication of the church library.
He took an active interest in establishing a YMCA for the community and after getting the Barbara Jordan YMCA in Martinsville established and built, by raising over a half of a million dollars, he has taken an active role in its board of management. He served on the board from 1965 to 1970, and was a member of the board of directors in 1965.
He has received many awards and plaques noting his contributions to the YMCA and has continued to receive Century Club award recognition since 1966.
Kendall received the Kiwanis Recognition Award in 1970 for service to the church and the community.
He was president of the Lions’ Club in 1953-54 and has been active in many of their projects.
In 1976, he was one of eight Martinsville residents honored for community contributions at the dedication of the new Martinsville High School football field.
He was active in establishing and continuing the community’s Men’s Prayer Breakfast. He continues to be active in many areas each day, including his column and covering many of these community events.