Derek Kinner

April 4, 2016

All Posts, Obituaries

Derek Kinner

Derek Kinner, whose name should be familiar to at least some readers of this site for his righteous coverage of the murder of Black Piston Zachariah “Nas T” Tipton in 2014, in Jacksonville’s Folio Magazine, has died.

During 33 years in journalism Kinner worked for the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus; Panama City News-Herald; Pensacola News-Journal; Florida Times-Union; Dallas Times; WJXT; The Associated Press; the Daytona Beach News-Journal; and Bloomberg News.

Six months ago, in his own words, Kinner “went to the hospital with severe chest pain after three months of weakness that caused me not to be able to work and in cases even walk. They took X-rays and a Cat Scan and said my heart was fine and then casually told me I had a big black spot on my right lung and it was cancer and malignant.” Two months ago, his illness was “upgraded from Stage 2 to Stage 4 lung cancer, which has spread to a lesion on my brain. Like I needed any help there to be nuts.”

His dying wish was to take a cruise. In January Kinner, who was not without friends, accepted $1,000 in donations, bought a ticket and tried to board a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship called Enchantment of the Seas. He was turned away because he did not have his birth certificate with him.

“Everybody knows that I am going to die and I have gotten so much support from so many people,” Kinner said after he was turned back at the dock. “That’s really my biggest concern, quite frankly, is them. They pitched in to do this and get it done. And I can’t get it done.”

He went to a hotel instead and stared at the sea. A complete stranger paid his bill.

Near the end, Kinner said “So many people have reached out and let me know how I affected their lives. Maybe I did something right. It’s like Tom Sawyer being at his own funeral. And if you go quickly you never get to hear that.”

He checked into a hospice last Friday and died the next day.

A former editor called Kinner “a determined and tenacious reporter, whose career spanned three decades and touched the lives of many in the Georgia/Florida area. His best reporting appears to have been as part of a team that went among the homeless in Jacksonville and reported on the lives of these souls who were cast aside by polite society. Derek loved to play golf. He was steeped in the Southern Rock culture and personally knew members of Molly Hatchet and other bands. During the past couple of years – in addition to freelancing for the AP and other outlets – Derek was working on a documentary film about Southern Rock and conducted several interviews with the musicians who played an integral role in the genre.”

H. L. Mencken, who bled out most of his words for the Baltimore Sun once, famously, said, “As I look back over a misspent life, I find myself more and more convinced that I had more fun doing news reporting than in any other enterprise. It is really the life of kings.” Kinner also bled out his words and died without regrets.

According to his sister Karyn, Kinner will be cremated and his ashes will be scattered at the beach.

He is now drunk and on deadline and laughing in heaven. Derek Kinner was 57-years-old.

Requiscat In Pace


34 Responses to “Derek Kinner”

  1. Dan-O Says:

    It makes it even more sad to see someone like him pass at such a young age. Nothing is guaranteed. RIP.

  2. Griz's Gal Says:

    Well, Hell. Sounds like he was a helluva nice guy, and your writing made me wish I’d known him, Rebel.

    Rest in Peace, Derek.

  3. Lurch Says:


  4. Parsifal Says:

    Would someone that still drinks, please tip a glass or two of “REBEL YELL,” at this Gentleman’s passing for me. Thank you kindly in advance.
    RIP, young sir.

  5. Mike 184 Says:

    RIPO that sucks….

    I read (on occasion) the Times Argus growing up.

  6. Paladin Says:

    Because so few in the news media have any integrity, it is especially sad when one that does moves on, especially at such a young age.

    There comes a time when one has to saddle up and move on. What one leaves in their wake will determine how one is remembered. Mr. Kinner will be well remembered, may he rest in peace.


  7. Phuquehed Says:

    Condolences to his friends and family.

  8. Road Whore Says:

    Damn hell.

    Rest in peace, old sod.

    Ride Free

  9. Drifter Says:

    I bet his truthfulness and hard work annoyed the state many times, Cheers!

    Thirty-three years is a lot of penning, and bringing attention to many people and issues that may not have been known or solved without his words.

    Grandest Respects to Mr. Kinner, Godspeed Sir……….

    Condolences and Sympathies to Family and Friends…….

  10. Dennis Hamilton Jr. Says:

    He lived and died a good man.

  11. Rick Myers Says:

    I’ve known Derek Kinner since the early 1970’s. He was a very dear friend, and I will miss him fiercely. What his writing buddies may not have known about his earlier days here in Jacksonville is he was a fairly accomplished guitarist, and we would hang out together and jam out tunes when I wasn’t gigging in a nightclub somewhere. Good times. Love you, bud. See you on the other side.

  12. Trevor Bild Says:

    We will miss you Derek…. we will continue the documentary in your name. Loved your honesty and humor….. – Trevor & Eileen

  13. Sieg Says:

    Another good man down. Condolences to his family and all who knew him.

  14. Mad Dog Says:

    Stay healthy, Rebel. There are far too few reporters left that actually try to bring us the truth.

  15. George T.Stewart Says:


    May you have plenty of blesses and know you are missed. You lit Fernandina up when we had you telling your stories about this tiny island.

    George Stewart

  16. Cathy Shelton Says:

    My sincere sympathies to Family and Friends. May loving memories of Mr. Kinner bring you peace, comfort, and strength.


  17. Googs Says:

    Parsifal, I can take care of that for you, Cheers Kinner, RIP

  18. Sue Z Says:

    RIP Derek…..will miss you buddy. See you when I get there.

  19. RLG Says:

    Condolences to his family and friends.

  20. Bone Head Says:

    Rest in peace Derek. I just have no words when I hear of a worthy person passing.

  21. John Deaux Says:

    Lifting a jar of some fine corn white liquor to you Derek Kinner, Rest in Peace. Condolences to his family and friends.

  22. Ol'LadyRider Says:

    Raising my glass to one who was not afraid.

    I feel certain that the drinks are cold in Paradise, and sources plentiful and chatty.

    Cheers to a life well-lived.

  23. panamaa Says:

    Derek Kinner was a friend to all outsiders, the 1%ers of life if I may. He was a true spokesman for the downtrodden, the outcast and the soundless and he will be sorely missed……. Thank you Rebel for passing this along…

    Respects to you sir…

  24. PJ Says:

    Condolences to those left behind.

  25. Docb Says:

    He truly lived in the space between life and death before he passed. Condolences to the family and friends of Derek Kinner

  26. ElleElle Says:

    The thing I admire most in life are the folks that love what they do so much that they would equate it to a lifestyle of kings-it’s never a drag that way! That really is freedom. Sincere condolenses to his family and friends-somehow it seems to me that you may have been one of them REBEL. If not, you also admired the hell outta him.

  27. WheresMyBoots Says:

    Rest in Peace Derek. Condolences to family and friends.

    Respects, and Ride -and Write- Free,


  28. BMW Says:

    Condolences to family, friends and readers! This guy was the main person, other than the Rebel, who pointed out the inconsistencies of the official story of the premeditated murder of Mr.Tipton! Florida, and all of America is a darker place, with this bright light snuffed out!

  29. Lady Says:

    Much Respect and RIP

  30. MNH Says:

    Knew Derek growing up. He was a good guy then; sounds like he stayed that way. Hearing about his life makes me proud. Hearing about us death makes me sad. Raising a glass to his memory.

  31. Ol' Goat Says:

    My sincere condolences to Mr Kinner and those he left behind. May you truly rest in peace sir.

  32. Kristin P Says:

    Derek Kinner’s Memorial Service:

    When: May 29th, 2016 12pm – 4pm
    Where: Dog Star Tavern
    10 N 2nd Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

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