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William J. Keating, distinguished attorney, public servant, newspaper publisher, dies at age 93

William J. Keating, distinguished lawyer, judge, legislator and newspaper publisher, died Wednesday in Cincinnati at 93. He had been in ill health.

Keating was a Cincinnati native and a graduate of St. Xavier High School, the University of Cincinnati and the UC College of Law. He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and was a first lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve as a Judge Advocate General.

William J. ‘Bill’ Keating (Wikipedia photo, 1970s)

He was an assistant Ohio Attorney General, served as Cincinnati Municipal Court Judge and as judge of the Hamilton County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas from 1967-71. He then served on the Cincinnati City Council and in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1971-74.

He was a founding member of the law firm Keating, Muething and Klekamp.

Keating gave up his House seat and a budding political career to become a newspaper publisher and distinguished himself in the newspaper industry as he served on the board of the Associated Press, chairing it from 1987-1992, and held executive positions with the Gannett Company where he served as general counsel and as president of the Newspaper Division.

He was publisher of the Cincinnati Enquirer and head of the Detroit Newspaper Agency from 1986-1990 as it combined the Detroit News and the Free Press in a joint operating agreement.

“I remember Bill fondly as publisher of the Cincinnati Enquirer when I was editor of The Kentucky Post and he was head of the joint publishing operations,” said Judy Clabes, NKyTribune editor. “He was the consummate gentleman and professional — kind, congenial, capable, caring and — most importantly — honorable. I valued his friendship and his advice and counsel which he was willing to share generously.”

Keating was respected in all aspects of his life as a man of character and high ethical standards. He was involved in a wide-ranging array of the region’s civic life. He was named a Great Living Cincinnatian in 2001 and was inducted into the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Business Hall of Fame, among his many honors.

“He was an incredible friend and model of a man,” said Bill Butler, CEO of Corporex.”He was true to everybody and to everything he touched. He was a tremendous cohort in community progress.”

Keating and his wife, Nancy, had seven children. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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