May 27, 1929: Born in Des Moines.
1935: Is 6 when his father, John Sr., and his uncle buy the evening Minneapolis Star.
1938: Family moves from Des Moines to Minneapolis.
1941: Family consolidates ownership of all Minneapolis newspapers.
1951: Graduates from Harvard University.
Early 1950s: Serves in U.S. Army.
1953: Joins Minneapolis newspapers as police reporter. Subsequently covers City Hall and the Legislature and works on the copy desk.
1955: Shifts to newspapers' business department.
1959: Returns to news and editorial departments as vice president and associate editor.
1960: Persuades Tyrone Guthrie to build a regional theater in Minneapolis and raises $2.4 million to do so.
1961: Succeeds his father as editor of morning Tribune and evening Star.
1965: Acquires an interest in Harper's magazine, which loses money over his 15-year tenure.
1968: Succeeds his father as president of newspapers.
1969: Named editorial chairman of newspapers.
1979: Cowles Media buys Buffalo Courier-Express.
1980s: Advocates for building of Metrodome.
1982: Leaves active management of Star Tribune. Star and Tribune merge. Buffalo newspaper closes.
1983: Ousted as chairman and CEO.
1984: Leaves board of directors but continues to manage family trust that controls 60 percent of the company's stock.
1988: Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and Cowles Conservatory open.
1998: Company, now known as Cowles Media Co., sold to McClatchy Co.
2006: Serves as co-chairman of architecture committee for new Guthrie.
Fall 2011: Cowles Center for Dance in Minneapolis is dedicated.
March 17, 2012: Dies of lung cancer at 82.