Al McIntosh was born in 1905 in Park River, North Dakota. His father was a Presbyterian minister and the family moved around a great deal during his childhood. He graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1928 and went to work for the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal, taking photographs as well as reporting on local news. He was offered jobs at the Washington Post and the Kansas City Star, but turned them down in the hopes of fulfilling a dream of owning and editing his own small town paper.
In 1940, he purchased the Rock County Star in Luverne, expecting to run it for a few years and then sell it at a profit. When the owner of the town’s other paper, the Herald, passed away in 1942, McIntosh bought that, too, and merged it with the Star, thus creating the Rock County Star Herald. He quickly got to know everyone in town and chronicled the war’s impact on his new neighbors’ lives in his bi-weekly column, “Mostly Personal Chaff.” McIntosh’s voice is read by Tom Hanks.
McIntosh disappointed his investors because he did not sell the paper after a few years, but instead stayed on in Luverne for decades, marrying a local woman, raising a family, and continuing to publish and edit the paper well into his seventies.