Longtime Topeka sportswriter Pete Goering dies

TOPEKA | Pete Goering, an award-winning columnist and editor for The Topeka Capital-Journal, died Saturday after a lengthy illness. He was 60.

The newspaper said he died at home surrounded by his wife, Diane, and children Debbie, Brett and Elizabeth and other family members. Services were pending at Christ the King Church in Topeka.

In a career with the Capital-Journal that spanned nearly 40 years, the native of a small town in Marion County, Kan., served readers as a photographer's intern, sports writer, sports editor and columnist and executive editor.

A familiar figure at sporting events around the Midwest, Goering covered some of the most famous events in Kansas sports history. His peers voted him Kansas sportswriter of the year five times.

With a folksy, easy-to-read style and deft humorous touch, he chronicled Kansas in five Final Fours, reported twice on the Olympics and covered both of the Kansas City Royals' appearances in the World Series, including their 1985 triumph over St. Louis. As an intern for Capital-Journal photo director Rich Clarkson, he covered the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV.

Goering continued to write four weekly columns even after he was asked to become executive director of the newsroom. In a column in April 2007 he informed his readers that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

"I recall protesting inwardly," he wrote. "That can't be, I tried to reason. It's been 20 years since I smoked. Turns out, there is no magic date for a Get Out of Jail card. You smoke at all, you risk it all."

Mark Nusbaum, Capital-Journal publisher, said Goering would be "missed more than you can imagine."

"Pete was a pillar to his family, to his friends, to his profession," Nusbaum said. "As you would expect, he was brave and courageous to the very end and, as usual, a wonderful role model for all of us."