Ky. Hall of Fame journalist Ken Rowland dies at 91

Kentucky Hall of Fame journalist Ken Rowland has passed away at the age of 91. He anchored and reported for WHAS-TV's Action 11 News from 1970-1977

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Broadcasting legend Ken Rowland has died.


Family and friends said the former WHAS-TV anchorman and reporter died Monday around 4:30 p.m. He was 91.

The funeral for Rowland will be Thursday at 1 p.m. at Herman Meyer Funeral Home in the Highlands. His visitation is also 11:30 to 1 p.m.

Rowland anchored Action 11 News on WHAS-TV from 1970 to 1977 and was on the air for hours the day the deadly tornadoes hit Kentuckiana, killing many people in Meade County and destroying parts of Louisville.

His calm demeanor and voice reassured viewers the city would recover from that historic event.

The Hall of Fame journalist spent more than 20 years also covering events including court-ordered busing and the Hyden mine disaster. 

Rowland was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 1997.

Rowland’s son said that Ken died peacefully at home after spending Thanksgiving with family.


Read his full obituary below: 

KENNETH FRANKLIN ROWLAND, 91, passed away November 27, 2017. Ken is survived by his wife of 53 years, Edith Rowland, five children, Kathy Korfhage, (Richard), Karen Slusher, Linda Palicki, (Robert), Steve Rowland, (Marguerite), and Eileen Bartos, (George), and a stepdaughter, Linda Seligman Turner, (Larry). He is survived by 12 grandchildren Kim Slusher, Jason Korfhage, Nicole Curry, Koleen Slusher, Phillip Palicki, Lauren Stamper, Christopher Bartos, Andrea Funken, Natalie Landry, Marshall Rowland, Travis Rowland, and Stephanie Rowland and eight great-grandchildren, Jack, Aidan, Anna, Caroline, Clara, Max, Jake, and Kendall He was preceded in death by his sister Gladys Maxwell, his brother Arlan Rowland and the mother of his 5 children, Phyllis Rowland.

He was a long time news anchor at WLKY 1964-1970, 1977-1986, and at WHAS 1970-1977. During his journalistic career, he covered some of the most important events in the history of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky including the 1974 tornado, court-ordered busing, and the Hydan mine disaster. He also covered the 1980 and 1984 Republican National Convention for WLKY news. In addition to his journalistic expertise, Ken was an excellent judge of talent; he hired and mentored a young Louisvillian, Diane Sawyer, who later went on to national prominence as an aide to President Richard Nixon, and as a journalist for CBS and ABC news.

Ken received numerous awards and recognition for his work culminating in his induction into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.

Ken was born on April 4, 1926, to Mary and Frank Rowland.  Ken grew up on a 200-acre farm where he learned the virtue of hard work, self-reliance, and the belief that it is more important what you know than who you know. These principles directed his approach to life and he passed these same principles on to his children and grandchildren.

During his senior year in high school, he enlisted in the Army Air Corp where he served on the crew of the B-29 from 1944-1946. He was assigned to a base in Okinawa, Japan where he flew over Hiroshima and Nagasaki two and half months after the bomb was dropped that ended World War ll.

After his discharge from the military, he attended Kansas State University and completed his studies at the National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington D.C.  He began his broadcasting career in Wilmington Delaware. He also worked in Salina, Kansas, and Omaha, Nebraska, before coming to Louisville where he first worked as news director and program director at WKLO radio.

Upon retiring from the anchor chair, he worked as Director of Research for Linker Capital Management from 1986-2013. In addition, he produced a business report three nights a week for WDRB 1990-1998.

Ken believed in being part of the community and gave of his time by mentoring children through JCPS’s reading program. He served as President of the Jaycees in Salina, Kansas. He was a member of Sigma Delta Chi, a professional journalism Society where he served two years as their President.

Ken was an avid supporter of University of Louisville athletics, and watching his grandchildren compete in their athletic contest. He preferred attending UL athletics events instead of watching them on television, stating that he enjoyed being out among Louisvillians.  Ken loved the Louisville community and appreciated the support he received from his fellow citizens. We end this obituary as Ken signed off his news broadcast for over 20 years, “My time is up, thank you for yours.”    

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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