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Originally published September 27, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 27, 2007 at 2:46 PM

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Longtime Omak publisher, 75, dies

John E. Andrist, longtime owner and publisher of the Omak Chronicle and former news director for KHQ Television in Spokane, is dead at 75...

OMAK, Okanogan County — John E. Andrist, longtime owner and publisher of the Omak Chronicle and former news director for KHQ Television in Spokane, is dead at 75.

Mr. Andrist died of respiratory failure Tuesday morning at his home, the weekly newspaper reported.

He was part-owner, then owner and publisher of the Chronicle from 1970 to 1996. He and his wife, Mary Koch, sold it three years after a stroke left him largely paralyzed and unable to speak.

After six years of therapy, he learned to steer his own wheelchair and led a parade across Grand Coulee Dam to publicize the importance of therapy following a stroke.

Mr. Andrist came to Okanogan County as a teacher at Pateros High School in the 1950s, worked at newspapers in Cheney and the Tri-Cities and at the Spokane TV station and spent four years writing grant applications for school districts before buying a share in the Chronicle in 1970.

He was active in the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, serving as president in 1991-92.

Survivors include his wife, son John P. Andrist, of Omak; daughters Katie Montanez, of Malott (Okanogan County); Jean Gustafson, of Selah (Yakima County); and Carolyn Clos, of Vancouver (Clark County). A memorial is scheduled Saturday at Omak First Presbyterian Church.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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