Jane Duncan Flink, an award-winning journalist, loving mother, and devoted wife, passed away peacefully in the early morning of April 14, 2022. Born in Atlanta, Georgia on February 17, 1929, Jane was the youngest daughter of James Duncan and Francis Watkins Duncan, both of whom are deceased. She was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years Richard Flink, two older sisters, Virginia Edwards and Katherine Lynch, and her granddaughter Heather Gann.
Jane’s incredible life journey initially followed the career path of her father from Atlanta to New Jersey. James Duncan, a lifelong employee of American Telephone and Telegraph, rose through the corporate ranks to become Chief Engineer for the AT&T Longlines Division in the late 1950’s. James was part of the team that launched Telstar One, the world’s first telecommunications satellite.
Jane’s mother, Francis, died of cancer at the age of 44. Left without her mother at the age of 12, Jane was supported in her early life by her sisters and aunt, Olive Gregg. In 1953, living in upstate New York, she met the true love of her life Richard Flink, a Navy veteran who hailed from Osnabrock, North Dakota. They married in November 1954 and immediately began to raise a family together.
Jane is survived by her five children and their spouses. Jennifer Flink, Elizabeth Gann, Kay Eckley (Randy), Chuck Flink (Marjorie) and Jim Flink (Jamie). She is also survived by numerous grandchildren: Amy Gann, Major Christopher Bradley (Angela), Miranda Meejung Pagoda (Bobby), Michael Eckley (Celine), Jack Flink, Ben Flink, and great grandchildren Madison Sedillo, Sophia Pagoada, Allejandro Pagoada, Charlotte Eckley, Vivienne Eckley and Clara Eckley.
Jane’s professional love was journalism. She began her career at the Centralia Fireside Guard in Centralia, Missouri, under the tutelage of Charlie Hedberg. She went on to enjoy a stellar, award-winning career in journalism. Jane wrote and edited news for the Centralia Fireside Guard and the Fulton Kingdom Daily News from 1974 until 1982. She was agriculture editor for the Missouri Ruralist magazine from 1982 to 1985 and, while continuing her newspaper duties, served as director of the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library at Westminster College, Fulton, from 1985-1990 – caring for the old Christopher Wren Church she had visited in London as a young woman. With her love of history and an intimate familiarity with the tragic events of World War 2, she elevated the status and function of the Memorial, its programs and relevance.
Jane Flink and her late husband, Richard, purchased the Boone County Journal in Ashland, Missouri in 1986, publishing the weekly until they retired in 2001. She was not only a fabulous writer, but also a gifted editor, who read broadly and constantly, thought deeply, and wrote with passion and balance. Under Jane’s guidance, the Boone County Journal was one of the first Missouri weeklies to transition to desktop publishing. The circulation rose from 500 to more than 5,000. During their 15 years as owners, the Flinks newspaper won numerous awards for editorial writing and editorial pages, photography, reporting on the Missouri River Flood of 1993, and general excellence. In June 2007, Jane published some of her favorite essays and writings in a memoir entitled Unmarked Trails. (Authorhouse)
Jane left her mark on the newspaper world in many ways, including mentoring young writers, being an early advocate for news and features on family and lifestyle issues, rather than “women’s news,” doubling the Boone County Journal’s revenue and circulation, setting it on a firm foundation, and advocating for city parks, health education in the schools, and making future “smart growth” a serious issue for Ashland and its town council.
Jane was active in journalism organizations. She received the “Communicator of the Year” award from Missouri Press Women nine consecutive years, and in 1988, was named the state society’s Woman of the Year. At the National Federation of Press Women, among 50 nominees, she was runner-up for the national Press Woman of the Year. She was president of Missouri Press Women in 1995, and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation. She served as president of the Boone County Historical Society in 1999-2000.
In 2013, Jane was inducted in the Boone County Historical Society Hall of Fame. In September of that same year, at the age of 84, Jane was inducted in the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame, one of only a handful of women so recognized in the 150+ years of that organization.
Jane was an amazing mother possessed with a terrific sense of humor, adventure and a zest for life. She was never practical, but that was part of what made her so much fun. Jane loved a good party, the holidays, family gatherings, warm spring days and moonlit nights. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and interacted with her.
A celebration of Jane’s life will take place at 12:00 PM on Sunday, May 22, 2022 at the Southern Boone County Senior Center, 406 Douglas Drive, Ashland, Missouri.