Will Robertson, who was newsroom editor at The Daily Journal for half a century, never deviated from his support of Republican presidential candidates from 1912 to 1962.
This changed when, later in 1962, Daily Journal publisher Chuck Underwood selected Fergus Falls Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bob King as Robertson’s successor.
Two years later, in 1964, King stunned Daily Journal readers when he wrote an editorial supporting Democrat Lyndon Johnson for president over Republican Barry Goldwater.
Back then The Daily Journal was located across the street from the post office, on South Mill Street.
On the day the newspaper came out, King walked over to Skogmo Café for an afternoon cup of coffee. Loaded for bear inside the café were staunch Republicans, including downtown businessman Bob Allison.
Allison walked over to King and asked, “How on earth could you do that? What were you thinking when you came out in support of Lyndon Johnson?
King said in reply, “Bob, supporting LBJ was the right thing to do.”
The Daily Journal’s editorial supporting Lyndon Johnson, who had assumed the presidency after John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, was hardly shocking to the average reader.
Most people knew that LBJ would probably win over Goldwater who was seen by Democrats and even some Republicans as too conservative and too old fashioned.
King had the wholehearted support of publisher Underwood. LBJ won the general election in a landslide over Goldwater.
The new Daily Journal newsroom editor was ahead of his time, writing editorials such as ways to prevent drunken driving, long before the success of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
His breath of fresh air at The Daily Journal in Fergus Falls did not go unnoticed.
King was hired in 1965 as an editorial page writer by the Minneapolis Star, prior to the paper becoming the Star Tribune. He was later promoted to assistant managing editor and then to managing editor.
King, 88, died Sept. 29 this year in Bloomington.
“I always liked Bob,” said Fergus Falls retiree Don Anderson who worked 40 years in this area of Minnesota in circulation for the Star-Tribune.
“The Star Tribune was right on when, in its obituary for Bob, saying that he set a tone that was positive, kind and decent.”
Otter sports memories
live on over the years
Most of the remaining members of the Fergus Falls High School Class of 1957 have reached the age of 80. Fondly remembered are classmates who have passed on.
Recalled are classroom days, activities such as band and speech, and days on the athletic fields.
Such is the case for 1957 FFHS grad John Hamlon who played Otter football and basketball. Those were indeed some grand days.
Hamlon and his classmates were 9-0 as junior football players, 8-0 as senior football players, 20-5 as junior basketball players and 27-1 on the hardcourt as seniors.
That’s a combined junior and senior football and basketball record of 64 wins and 6 losses.
“Of the many good football players we had during our junior and senior years, fullback Chuck Weiss was the best,” said Hamlon, a starting running back. “Chuck had talent and gave it his all on every play.”
Otter coach Norm Galloway instituted what was known as the “belly series” when this group of Otters were juniors.
“When the quarterback, Gene Donley or Chuck Severn, took the ball from center, one of them would put the football in Chuck’s belly and either leave it there or pull it out and give it to the right or left halfback (Hamlon or Jack Halland). It was wildly successful.”
That was due in large part because the opposition was sure that Weiss had the ball when he dove into the line on almost every play.
“Even without the ball, Chuck gave it all he had, every single time,” Hamlon said. “He was, in a word, selfless.”
Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.