Kaye Kessler, a member of USHWA for 66 years, dies at 97

Harrisburg, PA — Kaye Kessler, 97, a former reporter for the Columbus Citizen (later Citizen-Journal), who had the present longest membership in the United States Harness Writers Association at 66 years, died Dec. 9, 2021, in Littleton, Colo.

Word of his passing comes within a week of the report of the passing of Amos Finch, who with 64 years as an USHWAn was the present second longest-standing member.

Mr. Kessler, an Ohio State graduate, left an early job with the then Columbus Citizen to serve his country in Army intelligence in London during World War II. Upon returning home he rejoined the newspaper, was an active member of the Ohio Chapter of USHWA and served as an USHWA national director, but would achieve his major journalistic fame in another sport.

On a fateful day in 1950 he was assigned to interview the new head golf pro at the local Scioto Country Club. A picture was needed to complement the story, so a group of nearby golfing youngsters was gathered — including a 10-year-old named Jack Nicklaus.

Kessler, who would chronicle the teenager’s burgeoning career, later was regularly assigned to major golf tournaments when “The Golden Bear” started to become a golfing legend, and he became friends with Nicklaus while covering the sport.

Kessler reported from 56 consecutive Masters tournaments, and his passing was reported on the Sports Illustrated website.

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