William Kester, the former business editor and longtime business columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, died Sunday at the age of 96.
Michael D. Sorkin of the Post-Dispatch writes, “At the time, the afternoon Post-Dispatch carried little business news. Mr. Kester was the first reporter assigned to cover local business and financial developments, and he wrote six columns a week.
“The paper noted its expanded business coverage with ads touting Mr. Kester’s hiring. He was later named business editor.
“‘He reminded me of the guy on ‘Dragnet’ — he was a facts guy, no fluff,’ recalled Harry Morley, the first president of the Regional Commerce and Growth Association in 1973. ‘He was very knowledgeable.’
“Because Mr. Kester knew business, he often found out things he wasn’t meant to.
“He had a network of sources and an ability to decipher regulatory filings. He broke stories about labor negotiations and businesses relocating to places with lower wages.
“Top executives at Anheuser-Busch Inc., including August Busch III, once filed into the newsroom to complain about Mr. Kester’s disclosures.
“‘But they never said that anything he wrote wasn’t true,’ recalled his wife, Carol Kester.”