Hall-of-Fame journalist, talented cook, restorer of old homes

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Jonathan Fox Kellogg ’70

In the 25 years they spent together, Jon Kellogg and Tammalene Mitman ’77 lived in three New England states, each relocation starting in an apartment while Kellogg sought the perfect antique home to restore. The 250-year-old saltbox the couple purchased in Harwinton, Conn., was, finally, “old enough,” says his wife.

Well-versed in the history of antique homes, Kellogg spent many happy hours giving guests a tour of the house. Walk-throughs were followed by a dinner that he prepared using skills he had honed while working his way through UNH as a cook.

Carpentry and cooking were respites from a stellar journalism career that began when Kellogg was editor of the student newspaper at Berwick Academy and then The New Hampshire at UNH, where he majored in English literature. Editorial stints with The Kansas City Star and The Boston Record-American/Sunday Advertiser led to a position with the Associated Press in Boston in 1972. Two years later he became news editor of the AP’s Northern New England bureau, based in Concord, N.H. In 1978, he became bureau chief, responsible for news coverage in three states, as well as for running the AP election night operation for New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

After 16 years with the AP, Kellogg left to become managing editor/reporting of The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram. During his tenure, the two newspapers won the New England Newspaper Association Newspaper of the Year Award several times. Kellogg moved on to a position as executive editor with The (Lowell, Mass.) Sun, and then became executive editor of The Republican-American in Waterbury, Conn., where he remained for 17 years, until his retirement last June.

Throughout his career, Kellogg coached hundreds of reporters and editors, and he led ethics seminars for journalists around New England. His peers recognized his impact. In 2004 he won the Yankee Quill award for achievement in New England journalism. In February 2015 he was inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame.

His coaching efforts weren’t limited to the newsroom, though. When his children, Alexander ’96 and Jessie ’99, from his first marriage to Dorothy White, were growing up, Kellogg loved coaching his son in baseball and basketball and cheering his daughter’s theatrical success as a performer and costume designer. He was looking forward to doing it all again with his grandchildren, Lucy and Wes Kellogg. The postcard Kellogg began sending to friends last July, designed by daughter-in-law Jessica ’98, ostensibly came from them.

“Grampy Jon’s retirement is finally here,” the postcard read in part. “The old guy has lots of wonderful memories from 46 years of journalism to treasure, and we intend to give him many more!” Kellogg died on Aug. 17, 2015, while working out at home. He had read—and helped create—a newspaper nearly every day of his life.

In a eulogy she delivered at his funeral, Jane Harrigan, an AP reporter hired by Kellogg who later became a professor of journalism at UNH, recalled how loyal he was as a friend and mentor. “Once he believed in you, he was your fan and supporter forever,” she said.

In her own eulogy, Mitman shared other tributes that had poured in from former colleagues. “He was a boss who truly cared about his staff and instilled values of truth and integrity in our journalistic lives,” read one. Another commented on Kellogg’s belief that “the vitality of a citizenry is directly related to the vigor of its news industry.”

In his eulogy, Alex raised a baseball in the air and talked about the day he was called to the principal’s office. With trepidation, he walked alone down the hall, only to find his father waiting for him, to take him to a World Series game at Fenway Park. They arrived in time for batting practice, and Alex caught the ball.


Originally published in UNH Magazine Spring 2016 Issue