After coming to town, St. Louis native Dave Horvath soon earned a nickname - "The Voice of Neosho". Before he arrived here, Dave had worked at several radio stations in Missouri after graduating from The Broadcast Center.
As news director of radio station KBTN, Dave delivered the news to listeners. He kept them up to date on what happened in Neosho, at City Hall, with the School Board and on the police blotter.
Retired Missouri State Representative Kevin Wilson shared his memories about Dave, "What I remember most about Dave is his passion and his love for his God, his country and his family. I first met Dave at KBTN radio where I was a guest on John McCormack’s talk show. Dave and I shared common political views and he was never shy about sharing his with me.When Dave got started you just sat back and listened because he was going to tell you exactly what he thought. That is a trait that is lost in today’s society. Too many people want to sugar coat everything and then gripe later in private. Not Dave, you never worried about him not being honest with you."
Former Neosho Daily News managing editor Todd Higdon recalled the days when he and Dave reported for different media outlets, "When I started at the Neosho Daily, Dave was at every school board and city council meeting and event with his trusty tape recorder. He would take it back and use it for his news broadcast on KBTN."
After arriving in Neosho in 2000, Dave's voice was on the airwaves until 2009, when the radio station eliminated the news department. So, Dave tweaked his career a little. He enrolled at Crowder College where he earned a degree in journalism and public relations.
"He already had the news reporting and writing skills in general," Crowder College faculty member Latonia Bailey remembered. "He just needed the specifics for newspaper style, layout skills, and the degree itself to pursue other jobs in the media industry. Dave excelled and climbed the ranks of the college newspaper to be editor in chief during his spring 2012 semester. As a nontraditional student, Dave was a colorful character and always had interesting anecdotes from his life experiences. His language was colorful as well, and he respectfully spoke his opinion on various topics. Being around Dave, it didn't take long to see that certain things were important to him: his family, grandkids, dog, music, and religion."
With his degree in hand, Dave returned to radio for a short time but in early 2014, then editor John Ford hired him as a reporter for The Neosho Daily News. In a news story introducing Dave as a new staff member, Ford wrote, "We worked alongside each other for several years, only for different formats. Sure, radio is different, but as I told him in the interview, when it comes right down to it, all journalists are first and foremost storytellers. Dave has that ability to find, and tell, a story.”
He also had a gift for touching lives, something Kevin Wilson remembers well."After I finished my 8 years in Jefferson City he gave me the greatest compliment that I think you could give someone who served in the legislature. He said that I came out of Jefferson City exactly how I went in (meaning that I hadn’t let the legislature change who I was). Coming from a man like Dave that meant
everything to me."
Another former editor and journalist, Buzz Ball spoke about his friend, Dave, earlier this week,
"Dave and I covered many, many events, meetings and elections together when he was with KBTN and I was with the Neosho Daily News. We never treated each other as competitors, but as co-journalists and friends. Dave worked hard for each and every story and was respected by all in the community and his fellow journalists. My regret is that we didn’t work for the same news outlet at the same time. I would have loved to have worked with him side-by-side on projects. Dave was my friend and he never gave me cause to disrespect him or dishonor him. I will miss him greatly."
Community members also mourn Dave's passing.
Karol Mayer, Neosho, recalled Dave as a fellow animal lover and much more.
"Dave was a great guy to know, opinionated, and we didn't always agree, but I cared about him, the family, and his animals," she said.. I will never forget my friend, and his family will always be part of my life."
Higdon also said about Dave, "Dave was a great friend, a mentor an a journalist to Neosho and the community."
Dave not only fought a long battle against cancer, never giving up, always certain that he would return to the newsroom and he shared that hope with others.
"The last few years we talked about our forms of cancer, and he always had such a way with words (sometimes too descriptive), and his rhetoric was so full of humor as well as determination that it wasn't going to get him down," Mayer recalls. "He kept me positive and I tried to keep him positive.
Kevin Wilson also shared additional thoughts, "Dave was diagnosed with cancer after I was and we had that common bond. I consider myself a man of faith but mine dims next to his. Never did he waiver in
that faith and he lifted up and touched more people than he ever could know. He was a warrior and trusted absolutely in God and in His plan for him.Dave always talked about his miracle. Well, I would say that he got his miracle and I look forward to one day seeing him again in Heaven. Dave will be missed by his family, his community and his hosts of friends."
At The Neosho Daily News, Dave remained on his beat until his cancer diagnosis but until recently, he visited the office often and always had sage advice to share with the staff.
A memorial service will take place at The Living Church of God on Sunday, February 9 at noon.
The church is located at 6417 Gateway Drive, Joplin.
In lieu of flowers, the family will accept cards, condolences and donations at their residence, 301 West McKinney, Neosho, MO 64850.
Dave Horvath was the voice of Neosho, first on the airwaves and then in print. He leaves a legacy of old school journalism behind. He was a man who always got the story and shared it with the world. He will be long remembered and he will be missed.
Dave fought the good fight and he kept the faith.