Dary, Kansas author-journalist, dead at 83

March 20, 2018
Kansas Press Association -- Image

By The Daily Oklahoman

David Dary, a respected journalist and prolific author who shepherded the University of Oklahoma journalism program's transition from a school to a degree-granting college, died Thursday. He was 83.

A Manhattan, Kansas native, Dary was recruited to Norman in 1989 to lead the H.H. Herbert School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He previously served as a faculty member and administrator for 20 years at the University of Kansas' William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

He taught at OU for 11 years before retiring in 2000 as professor emeritus and returned to writing. Among his many honors were two Wrangler Awards from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, two Spur Awards and the Owen Wister Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western Writers of America.

Dary approached Edward L. Gaylord in the early 1990s requesting consideration for a $22 million gift to build a new journalism building and underwrite faculty positions and scholarships. Later, with the help of the university's President David Boren, the gift became reality.

“David Dary was multi-talented,” Boren said Saturday. "Not only was he an outstanding teacher, but he was also a gifted writer and historian of the American West. He was an inspiration for countless students.”

A celebration of life is scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday at St. John's Episcopal Church, 235 W Duffy, in Norman.