Remembering Ed Waggener

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By Zac Oakes


I was saddened to find out that a friend of mine, Mr. Ed Waggener, passed away Monday following complications from a heart attack several days ago. 

Many know Ed from his work as the editor/publisher with Columbia Magazine and for his work in newspapers in this region of Kentucky for many years. Ed is an icon when it comes to journalism, and he engaged communities in this region as well as anyone. Ed covered a lot of topics in Campbellsville/Taylor County as part of the seven county coverage area of Columbia Magazine. 

I first met Ed when I became the editor of The Adair Progress in Columbia in the summer of 2016. I was somewhat new to town. I had lived in Columbia for a couple years, but I was in college and still learning about the community outside of the Lindsey Wilson College campus. 

I met Ed, and he was one of the friendliest people I came into contact with during that time. He didn’t have to be, though. Ed had no obligation to help me in any way. He could have seen a new editor/reporter in town and just let me figure out everything on my own. However, Ed was extremely helpful in introducing me to new people, providing background on community issues that were at the forefront of the board of education, the city and county governments, and other local governing bodies. Ed knew the community like the back of his hand and all the behind-the-scenes factors that the average person wasn’t aware of. 

Many times, we would end up having extensive conversations after a meeting or running into each other at a public event, and talk about things that were going on, local/state/national politics, the future of downtown, food in the area, and life in general. Ed certainly knew the political landscape, had a passion for improving the walkability of downtown Columbia, and was always able to point out a little-known eatery in Kentucky to stop by if you passed through the area.

Ed was as wise as they come, and one of those guys that seemed to know just about everyone. 

I reached out to Ed over the summer — I didn’t catch up with him as often when I came to work at the CKNJ — and asked about publishing a piece in Columbia Magazine about the trip we took in July to the Dominican Republic. Ed was more than willing to go with it and let me publish the piece, featuring it on the website. 

Every time I got the chance to catch up with him, he was always very positive, upbeat, and encouraging. Journalism is a tough business. A lot of times, the positive gets drowned out by the negative, but I always left a conversation with Ed feeling more upbeat about my work, and that meant a great deal to me. 

Ed will be terribly missed by all those who knew him and followed his work. For me, he was someone that showed exceptional kindness when he didn’t have to. That’s just who Ed Waggener was, and his loss in this region will leave a hole that can’t be filled. 

Keep his wife, Linda, and their family in your thoughts and prayers.