Ronald J. Isbell, 63, of Kings Mountain, North Carolina died Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 at home.
He was born May 31, 1949 in Terre Haute, Ind. to Charles and Fern Isbell and was raised on farms in eastern Illinois.
A 1967 graduate of Hutsonville, Ill. High School, he began his journalism career as a correspondent for The Robinson Daily News while still in high school. He graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1971 with a degree in political science and a minor in journalism.
He served as an editor of two newspapers before buying his first newspaper, The Casey (Ill.) Daily Reporter. His company grew to include newspapers in Marshall, Oakland, Neoga, Greenup (Ill.), Knightstown, New Castle, Edinburgh and Bicknell (Ind.) and eventually Quincy. He also managed newspapers in Christiansburg, Blacksburg and Radford, Va., and Crawfordville and Port St. Joe.
He was the publisher and half owner of The Kings Mountain Herald, Cherryville Eagle and Banner News in North Carolina at the time of his death. He also was a newspaper consultant.
He was an active member of the Kings Mountain Rotary Club and had formerly been a member of Rotary Clubs in Casey, Ill., Blacksburg, Va., Crawfordville and Port St. Joe.
He was also a member of the board of Mountaineer Partnership and of the Kings Mountain Advisory Committee of the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce.
An avid motorcyclist and camper, he and his wife Wendy travelled much of the United States, combining those two passions.
He is survived by his wife, Wendy, of Kings Mountain, NC; parents, Charles and Fern Isbell of Marshall, Ill.; sons and stepchildren Trevor Isbell of Maryville, Tenn., Jason Isbell of Bedford, Ind., Erin Cummins and Traci Moore of Martinsville, Ill., and Wayne Conner of Kings Mountain; two brothers, John of Woodstock, Ill., and Chris of Lena, Ill.; a sister, Kim Bass of Henderson, Nevada; two grandsons, Bryton Moore and Eli Cummins; three granddaughters, Brette Cummins, Jordyn Scott and Hannah Moore; one nephew and four nieces.
Funeral services will be held Friday, Sept. 14, at 10:30 a.m. at Prust-Hosch Funeral Home in West Union, Ill.. In lieu of flowers, contributions to The Green Banana Project Ltd, PO Box 1552, Kings Mountain, NC 28086; Hospice Cleveland County, 951 Wendover Heights, Shelby, NC 28150; or your choice, would be appreciated.