William Howard “Hod” Humiston Biography
Mr. Humiston was born in Mitchell, Kansas on October 11, 1911 to Frank S. and Sallie Tilden Humiston, his mother being Sallie Hickman, the daughter of John Hickman. The family moved to Hutchinson, Kansas when he was 2 years old. Being one of eight children, he left high school after his father died to help support the family.
Less than a month after his marriage to Delcie Darleen Wray in 1942, Mr. Humiston was inducted into the U. S. Navy and became the first recruit at the Hutchinson Naval Air Station. After 33 months, he left the Navy as a first class petty officer. After returning home, he and his wife adopted two children. Dixie Wray, and Howard Scott who died in 1989.
From 1947 to 1959, Mr. Humiston was the American Legion club manager at the Bisonte Hotel in Hutchinson and was the master of ceremonies for the traveling swing bands that came to play here. It was after his stint with the Bisonte that he began his career in radio and television.
Mr. Humiston was the first television sportscaster in Kansas, working for KTVH, the former name for Channel 12. He also covered sports and news on radio, and was instrumental in bringing the national junior college basketball tournament to Hutchinson, where it has been played since 1949, and was the volunteer publicity director and master of ceremonies for the tournament. During his years as a radio announcer, he covered Big 8 and high school sports events, as well as spot news events from a mobile unit. In 1979, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters honored Humiston by inaugurating an award for Kansas Broadcasters in his name. The Hod Humiston Award, of which Humiston was the first recipient, is bestowed yearly.
Mr. Humiston served on the Hutchinson City Commission from 1961 to 1967, including a year as mayor. The city’s Sports Arena has an office area named for him known as the Humiston Center offices, dedicated in late 1981. His picture hangs in the Sports Arena next to a plaque that reads:
“This plaque is dedicated to the memory of William Howard Hod Humiston, who served on the American Legion-NJCAA basketball committee from the first committee in 1949 through 1987.”
In his later years, Mr. Humiston was a volunteer at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, trained to give student and adult tours. He played Santa Claus to the city of Hutchinson for 30 years, riding up and down Main Street on his mini bike and passing out candy to children.
William Howard “Hod” Humiston departed this life on December 28, 1987 at the St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Wichita and is buried in his beloved town of Hutchinson at Fairlawn Cemetery. Quoted from The Hutchinson News, “He was a good man who made a difference in his community.”
EDITORIALS.......Wednesday, December 30, 1987....The Hutchinson News
The record states that he was mayor of Hutchinson from 1963 to 1964.
In truth, Hod Humiston was mayor of Hutchinson for as long as he could talk.
He was one of the city's biggest boosters, both in word and deed.
He was an ebullient man, a man whose effervescent personality could light up a room when he entered.
Younger men could take a lesson in vivaciousness from Hod, who, at 76, was still electric and vital.
During his radio days, his distinctive voice boomed over the airwaves as friendly chatter. If his voice came into a room over radio, the room was never lonely. It was as if an old friend were visiting.
After radio, his voice could still be discerned in a crowd of voices. His continued enthusiasm for his city, for his family and friends, will be hard to match and hard to duplicate.
He was a walking encyclopedia of information, a resource for local newspeople, including many reporters at The Hutchinson News. He was always gracious and kind and helpful.
There are few thing one can say on the occasion of a man's death that would properly console a family or a community for the loss of a loved one.
In Hod's case, the truth is simple: he was a good man who made a difference in his community.
He will be missed.
Submitted by Phyllis Long on October 15, 2003.