Former Hemel Hempstead Gazette editor John Keen has died.
Proving he was a true journalist till the last, he had penned his own obituary – kept in a drawer at his home, part of which appeared in his former paper this week.
John, who was 74, had worked for the Gazette for more than 30 years after starting his career on the Watford Observer.
Also known as JK, he joined the Gazette in 1956, first as chief reporter and sports editor and later becoming news editor.
His inexplicable use of nicknames for almost everyone, such as petal, flower, nimrod – women reporters also being known collectively as ‘my little fairies’ – was legendary.
He also came into contact with many sports clubs and personalities which led to the creation of the Gazette Cup in 1960.
He was appointed editor in 1972 and was made a director of Hertfordshire Newspapers a year later, remaining with the board until his retirement in 1987.
John and his wife Joyce, who divorced in 1980, were married in 1953 and had a son Grenville and daughter Fiona.
There are three grandchildren, Chloe, Robyn and Jonty.
His funeral was due to be held today and, in recognition of a lifelong interest in football, donations made in lieu of flowers will go to the John Keen Memorial Fund which is being set up to establish a football cup or shield.