Dave McNeely

Sam Kinch Jr., Dallas Morning News reporter and former editor for The Daily Texan, died Tuesday. Kinch, 70, suffered from pancreatic cancer. Austin American-Statesman columnist Dave McNeely remembers his 50-year-long friendship with Kinch, which began at the offices of The Daily Texan. “He became editor in 1962. The next year, he had me covering Texas Legislature,” said McNeely, whose column on Texas government and politics is carried in several Texas newspapers. “He was one of three appointed editors that year. He was the first; I was the second. I wouldn’t be covering Texas politics today if it weren’t for him.” McNeely and Kinch continued their friendship well into their professional and personal lives. When Kinch was living and working in Washington, D.C., McNeely earned a Congressional Fellowship that brought him and his family to D.C. across the courtyard from Kinch and his family. “We would go on family outings together: me, my wife and my three daughters, and him and his wife and children,” McNeely said. The pair reunited again in the Texas press corps, Kinch with The Dallas Morning News and McNeely with the Austin American-Statesman. McNeely said he remembers Kinch’s irreverence, work ethic, outgoing personality and dedication to his field. “He very much believed in the notion that journalism was integral to running a democracy, that this is how a people should govern themselves,” McNeely said. Kinch also founded Texas Weekly, an influential newsletter on Texas politics. In 1998, Kinch sold the weekly to Ross Ramsey, managing editor of the Texas Tribune and concurrent editor of Texas Weekly. “Sam was something of a one-man show,” Ramsey said. “Since his work with the Texan, he had a future in journalism. We would always see each other in the press corps where we got to know one another, and then he became a great reporter in Dallas.” Kinch also authored “Texas Under a Cloud,” the first book about the 1972 Sharpstown stock fraud and banking scandal that rattled the Texas government. S. Griffin Singer, senior lecturer at the journalism school, remembers Kinch from when they worked together at The Dallas Morning News, where Kinch was a part of the Austin bureau while Singer was on the metro desk. “Sam’s dad was a longtime Capitol Bureau reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram,” Singer said of Sam Kinch Sr. “Like father, like son.” Kinch is survived by his wife, Lilas, his two sons, Sean and Ashby, his daughter Keary and six grandchildren.