Kenneth Wayne Blasť, 78, of Camas, Washington
and formerly of San Jose, CA, passed away on
Friday, February 21, 2014.
Ken was born to the late Louis and Concordia
Blasť on October 22, 1935,
in Sylvan Grove, KS.
Upon graduating from high school,
Ken received a
scholarship from Kansas Wesleyan
University, but following a football-ending knee
injury, he transferred to Kansas State
University. His college career was interrupted
by military service in the U.S. Army, where he
was stationed in Germany and served
as a radio
operator and cryptographer. Upon return from the
army, he completed
his BA in Communication at
Ken met Judith Dee Stark at Kansas State
and they were married
at the K-State chapel in
April of 1959. They remained a devoted and
married couple for almost 55 years,
until the time of Kenís death.
Ken began his post-college career in news at
KAYS TV in Hays, Kansas.
Ken then accepted a
broadcasting job with KWUN Radio in Concord,
After a successful tenure at KWUN,
Ken was recruited to KXRX Radio in San Jose,
California. He served there as news director for
10 years, during which time he
journalism courses part time at West Valley
Ken continued his own education by earning a
Masters Degree in Communication
from San Jose
State University, and a Juris Doctorate from
Lincoln Law School in
San Jose. Following law
school, he passed the bar exam on his first
continued his full-time career in
education at San Jose State as a journalism
professor, Director of the School of Journalism
and Mass Communications,
Associate Dean of the
Applied Sciences and Arts, and media
At the conclusion of his
twenty-five year administrative and teaching
Ken participated in the Faculty Early
Retirement Program at San Jose State, and
for five more years. During his last two years
back and forth from his retirement
in beautiful Camas, Washington.
Remarkably, amidst all his many life
Ken in parallel battled
heart disease for over
33 years until he lost that valiant fight.
is survived by his beloved wife Judith,
his two daughters, Lisa Blasť of San Jose
Vanessa Blasť Ness of Truckee California.
also is survived by two grandchildren,
and Mitchell Ness,
also of Truckee, California.
On Saturday, April 26th, from 2 to 5 pm
at St. Andrews Episcopal Church
California, there will be a joyful
of the Life of Dr. Kenneth
All Bay Area friends, former students and
colleagues are invited.
A reception will be held
In lieu of flowers, the
family asks that donations be sent to
newly established 'Ken
Journalism School Fund'
program he loved so much at San Jose State
Please make your check to the SJSU Tower Foundation,
note it is for the Ken
Journalism Fund, and mail or drop off
your donation to the SJSU School of Journalism & Mass
One Washington Square, San Jose,
CA., 95192-0055. Thank you.
To post a Remembrance below, you are welcome to
photo and email your offering to the JMC School
Wife of 55 Years.
( Photo and comments from Facebook )
Ken was a wonderful husband, adoring father and
grandfather, a great teacher and mentor to many,
and an overall amazing human being.
outpouring of love and support has been truly
overwhelming and humbling to him and to his
family. He will be missed so much by so many.
Rest in peace, my darling Ė being married to you
for 55 wonderful years was the greatest blessing
I could ever have had!
Prof. Bob Rucker,
JMC School Director.
Ken Blasť, a great journalism professor,
respected and admired school director
college dean, wonderful man, inspiring mentor
and dear friend
has left us far too soon.
God bless his gentle soul eternally, and watch
over his beautiful family.
Ken invited me to
join the faculty in 1990, encouraged me to take
new and exciting academic challenges, and
that someday when I became
director I should never lose my love and
for teaching, and caring about the future of our
Over the past three years on this job I
have called him
many times for his good counsel
and guidance, and I always felt
encouraged by his wisdom and helpful insights.
Personally I have lost an incredible friend, and
the JMC School
will always remember him as a
tireless champion of First Amendment
was ever devoted to maintaining the highest
of media higher education.
Dennis L. Wilcox, Ph.D,
Public Relations and Former JMC School Director
It's a sad day
when one hears about the passing of a dear
friend and colleague of many years. Ken was a
dedicated and active member of the JMC faculty
for many years, and he made many contributions
to the growth and reputation of the school.
was always a strong defender of the First
Amendment, a strong advocate of all its
programs, and a good leader as director of the
school in his later years. I was fortunate to
succeed him as director of the school because
he was always there to provide counsel and
advice about how to deal with all the issues and
problems that plague a school director. He was
a good mentor, an individual of great integrity,
and a good friend.
Kathleen Martinelli, Ph.D,
Public Relations Professor and Former JMC School
Ken is the reason
I was able to have such a great career at San
Jose State. Reflecting back over my 23 years
here, I see him as the one person who was truly
a mentor to me. I started off my tenure a little
rockyómainly because I didnít finish my
dissertation on schedule, but Ken had faith in
me and knew I was a good fit for SJSU. He went
out of his way to help me find my path to
Iíve always felt I owe my career to him, and Iím
proud to have been his friend and colleague. I
miss you, Ken, and my deepest sympathies go out
to Judith and the rest of your family. May your
legacy live on in the School of Journalism!
Prof. Gordon Greb,
JMC School Faculty Emeritus
Ken Blasť was a friend of mine
for nearly fifty years Ė 45 years for sure Ė
because I first met Ken when he was News
Director of KXRX in San Jose. From the
beginning, Ken was always there to give me a
helping hand. When I taught radio and
television news at San Jose State College, I
wanted the work of my students to go ďon the
airĒ to meet professional standards of the real
world. Thatís when Ken proved helpful by
agreeing for our students to do a five-minute
newscast over KXRX every day. Thatís when Ken
became not only a friend of mine but of San Jose
On deciding to teach, Ken began
as a part-timer at a nearby junior college and
then taught one of our introductory journalism
courses. Then to qualify himself academically
to do more, Ken enrolled in our masterís degree
program, completing all course work in record
time and as one of my students, wrote one of the
best masterís theses Iíd ever seen Ė a top-notch
study of All-News Radio at KCBS in San Francisco
and KNX in Los Angeles. Being told he needed
either a PhD or a law degree to be a regular
faculty member, Ken went to night school to pass
the bar examination, became an attorney, and
then joined us full-time.
Besides being a first-rate
teacher, Ken had a natural ability as an
administrator and was the perfect man to become
Director of the School of Journalism and Mass
Communications when that time came. Obviously it
was hard work, talent and ability that carried
him far. But I think Kenís best quality was that
he liked people. Ken was the kind of person who
liked everybody ---- I mean everybody because he
had a comfortable, warm, and caring personality
and because he enjoyed being with them Ė kids,
students, adults, doctors, lawyers, journalists,
you name them Ė the whole sha-bang!
You rarely saw Ken without a grin
on his face, because he just plain liked you. He
was never that much in a hurry he didn't have
time when you needed him. Thatís why Ken will be
missed the next time we walk down a hall, enter
a classroom, or look for him crossing the campus
Ė and Iím glad many of us will remember him
again and again when we revisit those old
familiar places, because what he did for each
and every one of us will be remembered as long
as something reminds of us Ken Ėthat happy grin,
that smile, the willingness to help---certainly
by the hundreds of students he influenced, by
the faculty with whom he taught, and by everyone
who knew him the past 78 years.
To me, Ken Blasť was always a
good friend. Let me repeat that. A good
friend! I canít think of a more appropriate
tribute than this. It would be a fine way to be
remembered by anyone.
Former Update News Instructor.
Ken Blase was such
a fine and amazing man. He never stopped
learning, or teaching or working with, or for
us. He was always there for students. We all
Ken earned a
Masters in Communication, passed the bar with a
Juris Doctorate from Lincoln Law School, served
as Director of the School of Journalism and Mass
Communications, was Associate Dean of the
College of Applied Sciences and Arts...and among
other things, was a media law professor.
He was always
there for students. He never let them down.
And he was always there for our faculty too. He
was a great part of San Jose State for so many
years........we couldn't have gotten along
Thank you for all
you did, for all of us Ken......and know you'll
always be with us.
JMC School graduate,
News Radio Anchor, New York City.
I am heartbroken over the loss of my first radio
Ken Blase (Facebook page)Ken "discovered" me as a radio news
Much of what I have achieved
professionally, I owe to Ken.
RIP to this wonderful man.
Director of News Programming,
NEWSRADIO & KFWB NEWS TALK 980, Los Angeles.
I was sorry to
hear the news about Ken Blasť. While I was
never his student, he was my first boss in
radio. I was fortunate enough to get a college
internship at KXRX, San Jose and that was when I
met Ken, who was the News Director and doing
mornings. As we all hope with internships, that
led to Ken offering me my first job in radio
news during my final year at SJSU. That will be
39 years ago this summer. I learned a lot from
Ken and Iíll always appreciate that he was
willing to give a young guy a break.Please keep
me informed about the event on April 26th.
I look forward to coming to San Jose to remember
Ken (on April 26th).
SJSU Journalism Professor Emeritus
saddened to hear of the passing of Ken Blasť.
As I recall, he came onto the faculty after I
left for Central Missouri,
although I knew him professionally when he was
news director at KXRX, and I was working for Channel 11.
I remember Ken as a gentleman and a consummate
I always enjoyed visiting with him any time I
returned to San Jose, and stopped by the department to visit.
me advised of the mechanics to contributing to
(fund) in his name. He was one of many who
helped develop the
J-School into the excellence it embodies today.
Calixto Manriquez, Former Student / 1987 JMC Graduate.
My deepest condolences to Judith, Lisa, Vanessa, family, and all those that feel that deep loss. Like many have written, Ken was a huge influential positive force and helped develop the careers of many people whether they were in Journalism or became successful in other career fields because of the critical thinking skills he taught or just chatting about life in general.
I graduated in 198,7 and I don't think I would have been as successful in my career if it hadn't been for Ken and Darla Belshe at SJSU. I will deeply miss him but I can still remember many of my conversations with him to this date and his memory will always be with me.
Joe Feeney, Former student / JMC
it weren't for Mr. Blasť and the faculty at the
San Jose State School of Mass Communications
expecting the best of me everyday, I would not
be where I am today. A great loss and my
condolences to his family.
Thanks to Dr. Blasť, Bob Rucker, and Margo Troolines.
Andrew Sanfillippo Watson, Former Student/Graduate.
Ken Blasť as an instructor. He was such a decent man, and you are right he was gentle and dedicated, but mostly he cared.
He was a real highlight for me in my broadcast journalism experience at SJSU. I'll always remember him with the highest level of respect and esteem for his contribution to my life and to many others along the way!
Rest in Peace
Janice Torres-Aranas, SJSU Class of 1987
I just learned of Dr. Blase's passing and am extremely saddened I did not maintain better contact with him after graduating from SJSU in 1982.
Dr. Blase's dedication to his work influenced my career in journalism and his hearty laugh still echoes in my memories. He cared genuinely about the work of his students -- that they protect the integrity of journalism -- and for that I am eternally grateful. Although my career in TV broadcasting was short by many standards, it would not have existed without his encouragement. My condolences to his family and my gratitude for allowing them to share his life with me at SJSU.
Rick Ziesche, SJSU, Class of 1981, School of Applied Arts & Sciences, Dept of Journalism, Radio & TV
I'm a former student of Ken Blase's. Class of 1981, San Jose State University. My good friend and fellow journalism student from the same class, Jane McMillan, called today to let me know that our advisor, teacher and mentor, Ken, has passed away.
I can honestly say that Ken left this world a better place than he found it. Ken's legacy is not just those who have gone on to become credible journalists or those who've become successful or well known news reporters using the tools that Ken taught them early on in their education and careers. Ken's legacy is really a philosophy of how one should conduct themselves throughout their lives.
If anybody asked me what Ken Blase taught me as a student, I would have to tell them that Ken taught me, among a lot of things, about humility. Case in point: Myself and a few of my fellow students had just returned from the InterCollegiate Press Association Awards the previous weekend at the University of the Pacific (UOP), in Stockton, CA. It was Monday morning and I was in the Newsbreak 91 newsroom in the journalism building basking in the glory of our team having won many awards that weekend, both mail-in awards and the immediate, on-the-spot competition awards we participated in. I happened to be the news editor that semester, but our team, comprised of myself, Jane McMillan, Rob Fisher and Susan Faller, put Pepperdine University in its place that weekend. Suffice it to say that I was high on adrenaline knowing that our advisor, Ken Blase, would be very proud of us. Then, Ken walked into the newsroom. It was just the two of us in the room. He smiled, and said to me, "So, you guys did very well this weekend." I answered, "Ya, we did OK." Ken then said, "You won a lot of awards. All of you really did well." And, again, I said "Ya, thanks!"
Then, Ken said, "You know when you've really made it in this business?" I said, "When's that?" And he said, "When you've won an Associated Press (AP) Award." And without hesitating, he then looked me in the eye and said, "I HAVE an AP Award." Ken grabbed his newspaper, smiled, turned, and without saying another word, walked out the door and down the hall to his office. It took the wind right out of my sails! I realized after thinking about it later......... probably much later after licking my wounds.........that he was trying to teach me that humility can be a good thing, in that it keeps the ego in-check, and keeps you pushing for the next peak, so you don't plateau out, so to speak. If you rest on your laurels, you'll never reach your potential. I've tried to remember this and carry this on throughout my life, since then. And, actually, I'm still working on that. God bless you, Ken! I'm a better person for knowing you!
Marshall Raines, Advertising Professor Emeritus
I joined the faculty of JMC at San Jose State University in January 1980 and Ken Blasť was one of the first to welcome me and make me feel at home. Over the next close to 20 years of my tenure Ken helped create an atmosphere of friendship and collegiality. In the early days, I always knew I could go up to his second floor office that he shared with Bill Tillinghast for advice, directions and lots of laughs.
At one point, Dennis Brown asked Ken to survey my class. Ken wrote a glowing report and mentioned that I had used the Socratic
approach. That was surprising news to me. Ken was very proud of his family and kept me advise of pizza sales in Truckee and tech sales in Silicon Valley.
As department chairman, Ken served as Master of Ceremonies at my retirement party-the Bash by the Beach. He was warm, charming and funny. He help make it an evening that I shall always remember. And, I will remember Ken Blasť with deep respect and affection.
Patricia Inghram, Dean's Office, College of Applied Sciences and Arts, Major Event Planner - Retired.
I was very sad to learn of Ken's passing. Ken was truly one of the good guys -- a true gentleman, scholar, and he was always kind. I remember how welcoming he was when I first stated working at SJSU. He was equally nice to students, faculty and staff. He will be missed by all!
Thank you all for your tributes to a great
teacher and friend.
Former students and colleagues of
Dr. Kenneth Blasť
are always welcome to email
their photos and comments
Email Subject: Remembering
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