Howard Pankratz died on November 2, 2023 at Lutheran Hospice Collier Hospice Center in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. He was born on January 3, 1945 in Kansas City, Missouri. His parents were Howard and Dorothea Pankratz.
Howard is survived by his partner, Peggy Marlow, Lakewood, CO; one sister, Mary Nichols, San Diego, CA; one nephew, Chris Nichols, Baldwin, Kansas; one niece, Robyn Quick, San Diego, CA; and three great nieces and nephews, Anna, Quinn and Kate.
As a young man, Howard lived in Bartlesville, Oklahoma; London, England; Stockton-On-Tees, England and Paris, France. He attended schools in England and the American School of Paris in France. He graduated from College High School in Bartlesville, Oklahoma in 1963 and from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas in 1967.
In 1970, he began his Journalism career working for the Kansas City Star. During this time, he wrote a series of investigative journalism stories that exposed an organized crime organization from Cleveland, Ohio that had taken over several large hotels in Kansas City. As a result of Howard's stories the leader of the organization was convicted and sent to prison.
Howard joined the Denver Post as a reporter in 1973. From 1976 until 2007 Howard was the legal affairs writer for the Denver Post. As legal affairs writer, Howard covered major civil and criminal trials and also covered appointments to and decisions by the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.
During his career, he covered the Ted Bundy trial, Oklahoma City Bombing (McVeigh, Nichols trials), JonBenet Ramsey, Columbine School Massacre, Dalkon Shield, The Unabomber, Amendment 2, United Bank murders & the Montana Freeman standoff. He also covered the federal rights trial of neo-Nazis accused of assassinating Denver radio host Alan Berg. That coverage was coupled with his reporting of the outrage of federal prosecutors when the Denver DA's office refused to file state murder charges against Berg's alleged killers. He also authored a wide-range of stories on poaching in the United States, with an emphasis on the Rocky Mountain region.
During his career, he received numerous awards and honors. In 2010, The Colorado Chapter of The Society of Professional Journalists awarded Howard the Keeper of the Flame Award for Career Achievement "for extraordinary dedication to ethical, responsible journalism and professional integrity". His reporting on the McVeigh trial resulted in first place honors for his story, "McVeigh Gulty". He received the David Brofman Award from the Denver Bar Association which recognizes contributions to the legal profession or the administration of justice by a media professional. The American Judges Association awarded Howard a regional American Gavel Award for distinguished reporting about the judiciary. The award recognizes the "highest standards of reporting" about the courts and the justice system.
In January 2015, Howard retired from the Denver Post. He enjoyed his retirement travelling, hiking, and spending time with friends and family. He was deeply loved and will be greatly missed.