Gwendolyn Gibson, pioneer woman journalist

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Gwendolyn Gibson, a longtime journalist considered a pioneer in her field, died Aug. 13, 2018, in her daughter’s home in Austin, Texas. She was born in Durant, Okla., to Edna Bell Whitehead and Gordon Dewey Gibson on June 17, 1925. An only child, she grew up in Hugo, Okla., before going to work for the United Press in Oklahoma City in 1950.

Gibson worked for UP throughout the western United States and in Washington, D.C., prior to joining the D.C. bureau of the New York Daily News. She covered the White House and Congress for that newspaper for nearly a decade.

She met her first husband, professional pianist Sidney Schwartz, while covering one of President John Kennedy’s Cape Cod vacations. The couple moved to New York City, where she joined the New York Herald Tribune as a staff writer and reporter. After it ceased publication in 1967, she worked as a freelance writer for national magazines. After her marriage ended, she moved to Los Angeles and then Denver with her daughter before returning to Washington, D.C. Gibson moved to Austin in 2005, where her daughter and granddaughter resided, working freelance there as well.

She married Grant Dillman, a former Washington, D.C., bureau chief for UPI, in the late 1980s. They worked together for the then-new wire, Maturity News Service, established by AARP. During her career, she was also a former vice president of the Women’s National Press Club and a lifetime member of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

She is survived by her daughter, Eileen Anne Schwartz; stepson Joel Stewart; son-in-law Brian Salvador Curley; and granddaughter Rayna Amanda Goransson. Her second husband preceded her in death in 2001. A graveside service took place Aug. 20 at Longmont Mountain View Cemetery.

Pauline Kemp, former contributor to the Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post

Polly (Pauline Wilson) Kemp, a prolific writer who had pieces published in the former Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post, died June 16, 2018. She was born in San Francisco to Lester and Pauline Wilson on Aug. 28, 1923. She earned a degree in education at Stanford University in 1945, after which she traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to teach at the American School.

In 1946, she moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, teaching at the American School there for a year, then it was on to Peru, the Panama Canal Zone, San Salvador, Mexico City, California and New York City—for another adventure to London and Europe. There, she began freelance writing about her travels for her hometown newspaper, the San Diego Union, as well as coverage of the 1948 Summer and Winter Olympics. She eventually returned to the States, working in New York and California for Sunset Magazine.

In San Diego, Kemp married her husband Frank Kemp in 1951. She continued to write, publishing in Sunset, the former Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post, the Salt Lake City Tribune, Conde’ Nast Traveler, Stanford Magazine, Snow Country Magazine and the California Academy of Sciences’ Pacific Discovery Magazine, among others. Her articles included chasing butterflies in the Colorado mountains, Golda Meir’s time in Denver, and visits to Denver of Martin Luther King and Pope John Paul II.

She was a former member of the Denver Women’s Press Club and the Colorado Author’s League, a founding member of the Denver nonprofit Park People, and was active in the League of Women Voters and American Field Service.

She is survived by two sons, Frank A. (Alec) Kemp, of Denver, and J. Hovey Kemp (Mary Ellen), of San Francisco; and two grandsons. Her husband preceded her in death in 2013. Private services took place.

John Kokish, former investigative reporter for The Denver Post

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John Kokish, a lawyer as well as a former investigative reporter for The Denver Post, died Aug. 10, 2018, at age 83. He was born March 12, 1935, to Malvina and Walter Kokish in Vienna, Austria. After the family escaped Nazi Germany, he grew up in New York City, graduating from Bronx High School of Science and then serving in the United States Army.

Kokish earned two masters’ degrees, in Shakespearian Literature and English, at New York University. In 1966, he moved to Denver to pursue a journalism career and was hired by The Post as an investigative reporter. He then embarked on a new career, attending the University of Denver law school at night. He eventually started his own firm in Castle Rock, where he worked until last year.

Shortly after beginning his new career, he met his wife, Ann. He is survived by her; two daughters, Becky (Ben) Goldmanis, and Jessica Kokish; sister Carolyn Kokish (Arthur White); brother-in-law Clarke (Jill) Octigan; two grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. A celebration of life took place Aug. 17.

Daniel F. Lynch, former co-owner of The Rocky Mountain Journal

Daniel Francis Lynch – former co-owner of The Rocky Mountain Journal, now the Denver Business Journal – died June 30, 2018, at the Denver Hospice at age 87. He was born Dec. 30, 1930, in Los Angeles, Calif. He was a lawyer for 50 years after being admitted to legal practice in Colorado in 1959. He worked as a civil trial lawyer in private practice and an assistant Denver district attorney under Dale Tooley. He also became an expert on church-state law, teaching seminars and publishing a book on the subject.

Lynch grew up in Pueblo, graduated from the University of Colorado in 1952 through Marine Corps ROTC, then was shipped to Korea in the summer of 1953, just after the armistice. A lifelong political activist, after his discharge as a first lieutenant he was named a Ford Fellow and worked on John Carroll’s successful 1956 Colorado Senate campaign. “The victory swung the Senate to the Democrats and made then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson majority leader,” noted his official obituary. Lynch served on Sen. Carroll’s Washington, D.C., staff while attending Georgetown School of Law on the G.I. Bill.

In 1962, he was elected to the University of Colorado Board of Regents, serving until 1968, when he ran for U.S. Senate, and in 1970 was elected Democratic State Chairman. He also worked as a volunteer for local and national campaigns. In addition, Lynch co-founded Real Estate Prep, offering classes to help people pass the state real estate license exam, and owned, managed and developed real estate across the state. In the early 1970s, he became a co-owner of The Rocky Mountain Journal, now the Denver Business Journal, for which he wrote weekly columns.

He is survived by daughters Ann and Eleanor; sons Daniel and John; stepson Channing Meyer; brother Frank (Barbara); six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Suzanne H. Lynch, and second wife Cheryl Meyer. A memorial service will take place in November.

Joseph D. Roberts, former advertising salesman, Denver Post employee

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Joseph Duncan Roberts, of Boulder, a former employee of The Denver Post, died July 15, 2018, at home at age 92. He was born in Mount Kisco, N.Y. In his freshman year at Williams College, Williamstown, Mass., he was called to active duty during World War II, serving in France and Germany at the Battle of the Bulge.

Returning to the States, Roberts graduated and began work as a print advertising salesman in Greenwich Village, where he met his future wife, Helen Pratt Allen. The couple moved to Ardsley, N.Y., and had a daughter, Sarah; a job change moved them to the Philadelphia area, where they had a son, John. Another move to North Tarrytown, N.Y., came with a new job with US News & World Report, with Roberts commuting to New York City for 16 years.

When Roberts semi-retired in 1984, he and Helen moved to Boulder, where he worked for another five years for The Denver Post before retiring fully, enjoying reading, skiing, golfing, gardening and volunteering for the Copper Mountain Metro District. After his wife’s death in 2006, he married again, to Joan Walseth. They enjoyed playing bridge, dining, traveling and going to CU Buffs events.

He is survived by daughter Sarah Roberts Wheatley; son John Roberts; granddaughter Carolyn Roberts; and grandson William Roberts. Private services took place.


Reported by Contributing Editor Cheryl Ghrist. Send your obituary information to her at caghrist@comcast.net.