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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
KILGORE, Gordon "Gordie". (Rockford, AL, February 22, 1925--Dubuque, IA, Sept. 19, 2006). KDTH news director, broadcaster. Kilgore graduated from Randolph High School in Randolph, Ohio, Class of 1943. He served in the United States Navy during WORLD WAR II in the Pacific Theater. Following the military, he attended Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont where he received a degree in Communications. On November 1, 1991, Gordie married Helen Schaible in Schapville, Illinois.

Arriving in Dubuque in 1950, Kilgore began work as a technician at KDTH and later moved into play-by-play sports announcing and hosting his own morning show. He possessed one of the area's most recognized voices through sports, news and such radio programs as SOUND OFF.

In 1954 Kilgore began broadcasting news. In 1956, his ability to seek out and report solid local news earned him a promotion to news director at the station. Kilgore made his mark with his reporting on the 1965 floods on the MISSISSIPPI RIVER in the Dubuque area, before 24-hour news coverage was the norm. He received permission to broadcast live coverage of the flood around the clock for weeks. His reports often included directing flood workers to troubled areas. His action is commemorated now by Kilgore Street that passes near the scene of some of those broadcasts.

Kilgore retired from KDTH radio in 1993. He continued his service to the community as the president and board member of the DUBUQUE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY. He remained a popular broadcaster with "Voice of the River," his recordings of short stories about the heritage of the Mississippi River around Dubuque.

Kilgore received the Iowa Broadcast News Association "Jack Shelley" Award in 1973. In 1976 he received the Distinguished Civic Service Award from the DUBUQUE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE for his life-long support of community journalism and the BOY SCOUTS. The same year Kilgore was the recipient of the Mitchell V. Charnley award for outstanding service to broadcast journalism at the Northwest Broadcast News Association’s annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2006 he received the John Bickel Award presented by the NATIONAL RIVERS HALL OF FAME, the Treasures of Dubuque Award, and the Helen Mercer Award.

Kilgore was also a member of the Elizabeth (Illinois) Historical Society and was involved in the recreation of the Apple River fort which was constructed during the Black Hawk War of 1832. (1)



1. Voight, Sandye. "Historical Society to Toast Radio Legend Kilgore," Telegraph Herald, January 5, 1997, p. 3A. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19970104&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Source: "175 Years" Vol. II, Telegraph Herald p. 78