Theodore Rickenbacher Jr., 1937-2021

Apr 1, 2021

DALLAS – Former publisher and later newspaper broker Theodore Rickenbacher Jr., 84, died Jan. 2.

A native of Fredonia, Kansas, his family moved to Hearne, Texas, when his father bought the Hearne Democrat, becoming the third generation of newspaper publishers in the family.

He attended TCU as a journalism major and was part of the original pledge class of Sigma Alpha Epsilon at TCU in 1955. After five years with the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram, Ted moved to Kansas as the publisher of the Fredonia Daily Herald. He became the fourth generation of newspaper publishers in his family.

After four years, the paper was sold, and Rickenbacher took his portion of the profits to start a newspaper back in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, The Grapevine Herald. Later, he sold it to the Star-Telegram.

He purchased the Farmers Branch Times and Carrollton Chronicle in 1969. He also started North Texas Publications, a printing company for area publications. In 1980, he sold the Farmers Branch Times, Carrollton Chronicle, Lewisville Times-Chronicle, Addison Times-Chronicle and North Dallas Times publications.

In 1985, He started Rickenbacher Media, a business brokerage firm specializing in print media. He went on to broker the sale of more than 130 newspapers and magazines all over the country. He sold several DFW area publications to both the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, expanding their respective holds in the North Texas market.

He was proud to be a key player in helping community publishers realize their dreams of retirement after many years of providing quality news to their communities. His great passion was the newspaper industry, both as a publisher and a businessman. Rickenbacher was a lifelong member and supporter of the Texas Press Association, attending his first TPA meeting with his father at the age of 12. He was on the board of directors of the Suburban Newspaper Association and the board of trustees of The American Management Association and Greenhill School.

He also co-founded the Grapevine Rotary Club and became its second president. Years later, he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow by Grapevine Rotary.
In later years, Ted played a lot of golf. He played with the Southern Seniors and the Dickie Doos, a golf and dinner group.

He married Nancy Swartz in 1962, and they had three children before they divorced in 1983. He married Betty Blake White in 1985, and she preceded him in death in 2020. He was also preceded in death by a son, Jeff. He is survived by his son David and daughter Ann Thaxton and their families, and other relatives.

Memorials may be charitable gifts to the Texas Newspaper Foundation or Rotary International.

A service will be held at a later date.