Longtime ND newspaper editor was admired for his dedication to community journalism

Sep 1, 2023


Marvin Ness died July 21 at 90. He announced his retirement from the Larimore Leader/Tribune two months ago

Features Reporter | Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — Kal Triplett, principal and head football coach at Larimore High School, described H. Marvin Ness as someone who was committed to community journalism and serving the people of the Larimore area.

Ness, longtime journalist and editor of the Larimore Leader/Tribune weekly newspaper and former owner of the commercial printing business Ness Printing in Devils Lake, died July 21 at Elim Health Care Center in Fargo. He was 90.

His death comes about two months after Ness informed Leader subscribers, in a brief article, that he was retiring and looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren.

Triplett first met Ness in August 2015 when Triplett came to Larimore as the new principal and head football coach at the high school. As coach, he would provide Ness with the team roster, pictures and weekly updates and, as principal, share information on school activities and events — all for the Larimore Leader.

“He was loyal, dedicated to a small-town newspaper that, I think, many people would have maybe just moved on from many years ago,” Triplett said. “(He was) just somebody who decided to hold on to this small town of Larimore’s newspaper, basically by himself, however many years past normal retirement age, you know what I mean? It’s pretty cool.”

Triplett remembers Ness as “super easy-going,” he said.

“Just calm, cool, collected — never panicking about due dates or deadlines. He’d say, ‘Hey, whenever you can get me this information, that’d be great.’”
“We got along well.”

Triplett acknowledged Ness’ contributions to Larimore and the surrounding area.

“We’re grateful for the years that he gave to this community,” he said, “and I think a lot of people around here will miss seeing the Larimore Leader.”

The Leader is one of several newspapers published by Ness Press in Fordville that will cease publication early next month.

Ness owned and operated Ness Printing in Devils Lake for nearly 40 years before retiring in 2003. He was then approached by the Ness Press in Fordville, owned and operated by his brothers, to edit the Larimore Leader.


“He told his brother he would help him out for a few weeks,” said Ann Bailey, a longtime Leader subscriber and rural Larimore resident who knew Ness.

Until his departure two months ago, he had been single-handedly running the Leader for about 20 years.

“I think he did it because he was a loyal newspaperman who didn’t want to see Larimore without a newspaper,” said Bailey, herself a journalist at Agweek. “He was a good, kind man and always appreciated when the Herald would let him reprint a story about a local person. He wasn’t the kind of editor who was territorial and wouldn’t run other newspapers’ work. He wanted to give readers content they would enjoy reading.”

“I admired Marv’s dedication and warm personality,” she said. “He was a true gentleman of the newspaper industry.”

John Brose, who ran a photography business in Larimore for 13 years, worked with Ness by providing countless photos of Larimore High School sports and community events for the Larimore Leader during Ness’ years as editor.

“(Ness) was just a real nice, gentle person,” recalled Brose, who moved his studio, Brose Photography, from Larimore to West Fargo in 2017. “He was really community-minded; he always wanted to get the story out and share things about the community. He was always willing to put different articles in (the paper) that people would submit to him.”

“(Ness) had a heart for the community … more of a giving person,” he said.

“I’ll miss him. And it was nice getting to know him,” Brose said. “He had a good family and was proud of his kids. He was a really good guy.”