Jack E. Keever (1938-2004)
A native of Port Arthur, Texas, Keever enrolled at the University of Texas in 1956 and never left Austin again, except for brief military service. His fervor for writing began at UT, where he served as a sports writer, sports editor and then managing editor of The Daily Texan. While at the University he met his wife, Cynthia Lee Pendergrass. Together, they had two children, Graham and Erin.
After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Keever was hired by The Associated Press in Dallas for a brief stint before being transferred to the Austin bureau. During his tenure with the AP, Keever covered the Kennedy assassination, LBJ Texas White House, 11 governors’ races and UT sports. In 1966, his report of the horrific UT Tower sniper incident was the first on the wire.
Among prizes that Keever claimed were six Headliners Foundation Charles E. Green Awards; five Texas Staffer of the Year awards from the AP; and an honorable mention in the Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award by Columbia University.
In addition to news writing, Keever wrote books of non-fiction including “Portrait in Power,” a biography of former Gov. John B. Connally; “Austin Creeks,” a history of local waterways, and a history of the Texas insurance industry, “Insuring Texas’ Future.”
Keever’s love of language also manifested itself in a voracious reading appetite—with emphasis on mysteries, literature and Texas history—which resulted in his membership on the author selection committee for the Texas Book Festival during its early years.
After retiring from the AP, Keever taught journalism at Austin Community College and remained involved in many community activities such as the Society of Professional Journalists, Texas State Historical Association, UT Chancellor’s Council and the Headliners Club, among others.