In Memoriam: Ken Pruess

June 21, 1932 – December 11, 2016

For many years in the early history of the State Revenue Society, Ken Pruess was the heart and soul of the organization. He was editor of the State Revenue Newsletter, as it was then known, from September 1966 through July 1973 — a total of 43 issues and almost 7 years. It was under Ken’s editorship that the Newsletter went from a rather poorly printed publication to one with much better technical qualities. In his message as the new editor in the September 1966 issue he expressed “some hesitation” on becoming editor and said he would “do my best to prepare an informative publication.” In this he more than succeeded as a glance at the issues he edited so clearly show. I think it fair to say that the much improved publication that Ken produced put the State Revenue Newsletter and state revenue collecting on the philatelic map.

After leaving the editorship Ken continued to serve the SRS in several capacities and to enhance his award winning collection of New York State stock transfer tax stamps.

Ken introduced me to state revenue colleting. I was a 16-year-old kid in New Hampshire collecting various things when, in September 1967, I saw a short note in Linn’s Weekly Stamp News (as it was then titled) regarding something called the State Revenue Society. “State revenue stamps,” I thought, “that sounds interesting.” The address given was Ken’s — 1441 Urbana Lane, Lincoln, NE. So, I wrote and asked for information. He sent back a copy of the State Revenue Newsletter and I was hooked. A week or so after getting that copy I went into the local smoke shop in Hanover, NH and did a listing of the New Hampshire tobacco tax decals I saw. That led to my first sort-of philatelic publication: a list of what I’d found was published in the January 1968 issue of the State Revenue Newsletter (vol. 8, # 1, whole # 73) which Ken, the editor, featured on the front page. How delighted I was to have my contribution actually published! Over the next many years, Ken and I corresponded frequently. He traded me items from his duplicates for my New Hampshire material — at the time New Hampshire stamps were hard to find, there being not many native New Hampshire collectors. He was always very supportive of this young collector. As my interests and his diverged over the years, we corresponded less. But it was always a pleasure to write him and to get a letter in return. He had an enormous influence on my collecting interests. I’ll miss him.

— Terence Hines

For more on Ken’s contribution to philately, please read David Torre’s remembrance. His obituary may be found here.

If any of you have comments or stories regarding Ken, please send them to Robert Conley, 52 Vista Ridge, Glenburn, ME 04401-1829, revenueblue@hotmail.com. These will be published in a forthcoming issue of the SRN.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be sent to the American Philatelic Society or the Nature Conservancy.