Emmett Smelser worked in several Midwest communities and spent some of his retirement years in Arizona, but he had committed to moving full-time to Richmond toward the end of his life.
Smelser’s former local colleagues in journalism and those he met through many civic engagements are mourning his Aug. 13 death, which was announced by First English Lutheran Church in Richmond. Church officials said he had been in declining health in recent weeks.
Smelser spent 38 years in the newspaper business, with 20 of those as a reporter and editor, and the remaining 18 as a publisher at Marietta, Ohio, as well as Richmond, Muncie and Marion in Indiana.
The journalist was known for valuing community engagement and a belief that newspapers could help spark positive changes in Wayne County.
Smelser shared some of those stories on July 9 in Richmond with local Kiwanians during a program called “A Life in Writing: Journalism, The First Amendment and Fiction Writing.”
Listen to part or all of an approximately 20-minute recording of Smelser speaking to the Kiwanis here, and read more about his life in the Aug. 25 edition of Western Wayne News.