WNA Foundation to honor 10 during Memorial Pylon ceremony

UPDATED: July 24, 2018

The WNA Foundation will honor 10 industry leaders during this year’s Memorial Pylon ceremony Aug. 17 in Eagle River, Wis.

Due to family travel arrangements and schedules, the inductions of Audrey Reichert Lyke, The Ripon Commonwealth Press; Janet Flaherty, The Milton Courier; Jerald Dennis Losness, Cornell Courier; and James Brayer, Agri-View, will be postponed until 2019.

This year’s inductees will include:

  • Mollyann G. Emerson, Deforest Times-Tribune
  • Helen V. Everson, Edgerton Reporter
  • Bernadette Ann Friedell, (Shell Lake) Washburn County Register
  • Donald W. & Gail Twining Griswold, West Salem Journal
  • Patrick S. Korten, (UW-Madison) Badger Herald
  • Dolores Ninnemann, Campbellsport News
  • Clifton & Shirley Sager, The (Cedar Grove) Villager
  • Russell H. Steel, The (Crandon) Forest Republican


Mollyann G. Emerson, DeForest Times-Tribune

Mollyann Emerson

Mollyann G. Emerson was born on Sept. 11, 1942, in Beaver Dam, Wis., to Clarence and Gertrude (Schutte) Buschkopf. She graduated from Beaver Dam High School in 1960 and went on to earn her LPN degree from MATC Nursing School.

Mollyann worked for several years with emotionally disturbed children at the Wisconsin Diagnostic Center. On Sept. 12, 1964, she married Richard Emerson at Trinity Methodist Church in Beaver Dam. In 1966, they moved from Madison to DeForest. After the birth of her son, Scott, in 1966 she became a full-time mother and did bookwork for the DeForest Times Publishing Co. In 1968, she gave birth to a second son, James, and joined with her husband to publish the DeForest Times-Tribune. They published the weekly newspaper and a shopper for 30 years and eventually purchased the Poynette Press, which they published for several years.

After selling the newspapers, she worked for the Head Start programs at DeForest and Sun Prairie and, later, worked as a substitute aide in the DeForest School District.

Molly was a member of Christ Lutheran Church, where she enjoyed Sunday worship services; the Wine, Women and Word meetings; ushering; and serving as a confirmation mentor. She volunteered for the Bethel Sales Group in Madison and the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association. She also attended every school sporting event and special program that her granddaughters, Kya and Isabelle, participated in.

Molly passed away on Dec. 9, 2017, at UW Hospital. She was survived by her husband of 53 years, Richard, two sons and their families, Scott, Jana and Kya and James, Anne, and Isabelle.

Helen V. Everson, Edgerton Reporter

Helen Everson

Helen Everson was born on Aug. 16, 1919, in a sod house on a ranch in northwest South Dakota to Herbert T. and Marie (Eucker) Oliver. From the age of five, Helen rode horseback two miles to a country school and graduated from Lemmon High School in 1936 at an age of 16.

Helen developed her work ethic as a young girl growing up on a ranch near Lemmon, South Dakota. When she was 5, she began riding a horse to her country school. She worked for her room and board while attending High School and graduated when she was 16. After she graduated from a business school, she was hired as a secretary at ACE Buick in Madison. When she was just 22, Helen was already the secretary/treasurer of the company that included dealerships in Hibbing, Minnesota, and St. Paul.

Helen met Harland at a soap box derby in Madison, and they were married in 1949.

They bought The Edgerton Reporter in 1951. Helen was the face of the newspaper for years, especially after Harland spent 12 years at the state Capitol as a legislator starting in 1970. He died in 1992. Under Helen’s watchful eye, the paper earned numerous state and national awards, including the top award from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association for General Excellence in its circulation category in 2006. In 1978, Helen’s daughter, Diane, joined the newspaper, eventually becoming the paper’s publisher, editor and advertising manager.

Helen died on Nov. 27, 2017, at her home in Edgerton. She was 98.

Helen was survived by her daughters, Diane of Edgerton, and Carol (Steve Yttri) Everson of Franklin; two grandsons, Eric and Tyler Yttri; nieces and nephews; extended family and friends. She was a second mother to Peggy Luther, Zoellen Kjernes, Janet Ewald, and Doug Peterson. She also was blessed with loving caregivers in her later years. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harland, parents, sisters, and brother.

Bernadette Ann Friedell, (Shell Lake) Washburn County Register

Bernadette Ann Friedell

Bernadette Ann Friedell was born April 1, 1926, in Stoughton, Wis., to George and Rosella (Lee) Furseth. She married John Friedell on June 21, 1947, in Edgerton, Wis.

Bernadette earned her Journalism degree from UW-Madison in 1948. From, 1980 to 1989, S\she and John edited and published the (Shell Lake) Washburn County Register. After earning several awards from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, they sold the paper and retired in 1989. In her retirement, Bernadette was active with the Washburn County Genealogical Society, writing poetry and short stories, gardening, and spending time with her family.

Bernadette died on April 3, 2018, in her home. She was 92.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John, her daughter, Debra, her brother, Paul, and her parents.

She was survived by her son, John, Jr. of Shell Lake; a daughter, Robin (Michael) Francis of Trego; 2 granddaughters, Erica (Mark) Imm of Spooner and Margaret (Daniel Krueger) Friedell of Middleton; 3 great-grandchildren, Caleb and Abigail Nutini and Owen Krueger; her sister, Gloria Kandle of Lansing, MI; many nieces, nephews and friends.

Donald W. & Gail Twining Griswold, West Salem Journal

Donald Griswold was born August 6th, 1914, at home on the family farm on the west edge of West Salem to Harry W. Griswold and Mary Sybil (Bailey) Griswold. A little less than 10 years later, Gail Twining Griswold was born to Robert F. and Margaret (Moffat) Twining on June 13, 1924, in Sparta.

Donald Griswold

Donald and Gail both attended West Salem High School, graduating in 1932 and 1942, respectively. Donald continued his studies at UW-Madison, graduating from the School of Journalism in 1937. At age 16, he was an unpaid cub reporter for the Nonpareil Journal then owned by Glen Garlock. After college, he worked as a reporter for the Nonpareil Journal prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corp in the spring of 1941. He purchased the newspaper in 1945 and renamed it the West Salem Journal. He later acquired the Bangor Independent and, in the 1960s, combined the papers into the LaCrosse County Countryman, which is being published today as the Coulee News.

After high school, Gail attended the St. Francis School of Nursing in La Crosse, graduating in 1945. She was employed as a registered nurse after being at home while their four sons were young. Gail was supervising nurse at Mulder Health Care Facility in West Salem and at the Sarepta Home and St. Michael’s Nursing Home in Sauk Centre and Pine Villa in Melrose. Minn.

Donald and Gail were married on Sept. 13, 1946, in La Crosse. In 1971, they moved to Sauk Centre, Minn., where they owned and published the Sauk Centre Herald for 17 years.

Donald died July 21, 2005, at St. Michael’s Hospital in Sauk Center. He was 90. Gail passed away on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, 2017, at Mulder Health Care Facility.

Gail Griswold

They were survived by sons, Harry (Carol) Griswold, West Salem, Daniel (Elizabeth) Griswold, Vienna, Va.; and daughter-in-law, Terry of Millville, Del.; two granddaughters; eight grandsons; 11 great-grandchildren; and Gail’s sister Nancy (Bob) Weimer, Towson, Md.

Donald was preceded in death by his son Paul, by his parents and by his sisters, Mary Ginskey, Margery Griswold, Jennie Norman, Alice Johnson and Beulah Musselwhite. Gail was preceded in death by her husband; sons Paul and John; sister, Jean Johnson; brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Vivian Twining of Tomah; brothers-in-law, Tim Johnson and Jim Whalen; and nephew, Jan Johnson.

Patrick S. Korten, (UW-Madison) Badger Herald

Patrick Korten

Patrick S. Korten was born March 17, 1948, in Neenah, Wis., to Margaret A. (O’Grady) and John S. Korten. He was a 1966 graduate of Homestead High School in Mequon, Wis., and attended the UW-Madison, where he majored in political science. He was a founder and first editor-in-chief of the Badger Herald, an independent student newspaper.

Korten founded The Badger Herald as a direct response to the then-radical campus and The Daily Cardinal. After months of raising money, looking for furniture, equipment and offices for rent, the first issue of The Badger Herald was published on September 10, 1969.

In its principal years, Korten ensured The Badger Herald maintained editorial independence by seeing to it that the paper remained solvent through advertising sales, refusing money from the university and even gaining support and donations from popular conservative figures such as William F. Buckley.

After graduating from UW with a bachelor’s in political science, Korten continued his career in journalism by working as an anchor and reporter for WTOP News Radio from 1975 to 1981.

He died March 29, 2018, in Fairfax, Va., after suffering a stroke. He was 70 years old.

Patrick was survived by his wife of 44 years, Anita (Norfolk); three sons: Sean; Brian, Fairfax, Va., and Patrick John, Great Falls, Va.; a sister, Jean Korten, wife of Carl Moser, Lititz, Pa., and one granddaughter, Erin.


Dolores Ninnemann, Campbellsport News

Dolores Ninneman

Dolores A. Ninnemann was born on Sept. 10, 1935, in Wausau to Rufus and Agnes (Lang) Zimmermann. She married Gerald F. Ninnemann on Sept. 4, 1954, at Zion Lutheran Church in Wausau.

In 1974, Gerald and Dolores purchased the Campbellsport News and, in 1979, Dolores joined him in running the paper.

Dolores was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, New Fane and the Altar Guild. She served on the Board of the Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System and was a member of the Campbellsport and 6th District Women’s Clubs where she served as President. She was also a member of the VFW Auxiliary, served as a Girl Scout Leader and was on the Town of Ashford Election Board. She enjoyed her Bridge clubs and Sheepshead groups, playing music for Church programs, gardening, reading and picking raspberries for family and friends.

She died on March 14, 2017, at Shorehaven Lutheran Home in Oconomowoc. She was 81.

She was survived by her daughters Beth (Robert) Grossmeyer of Waukesha and Faith Krueger of Campbellsport, her son James (Carol) Ninnemann of Campbellsport, her grandchildren William Grossmeyer, Kathryn (Philip) Knowles, Joshua Grossmeyer (Alyssa Kotke), Jessica Samphere (Josh Krieski), Anthony (Sarah) Ninnemann, Jeremy Krueger, Sarah (Jessica) Krueger, Samantha Krueger, Matthew (Nicole) Ninnemann, Joseph (Tamara) Ninnemann, and Stephanie (Austin) Grandlich, ten great-grandchildren, her brothers Marvin (Connie) Zimmermann and Andrew (Virginia) Zimmermann, her sisters-in-law Johanna Schultz and Lois Narlock, her brothers-in-law Gilbert (Betty) Ninnemann and Myron Storm, nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

Dolores was preceded in death by her husband Gerald F. on June 21, 2013, her son Gerald A., her son-in-law Michael Krueger, her brothers-in-law Merlin Ninnemann, Herbert Ninnemann, Arnold Schubring, Leroy Schultz and Leroy Narlock and her sisters-in-law Angie Ninnemann, Elora Storm and Elaine DeVriendt.

Clifton & Shirley Sager, The (Cedar Grove) Villager

Clifton Sager

Clifton “Cliff” G. Sager was born March 29, 1917, in Chicago, Illinois to George and Helen (Jiran) Sager. Two years later, on Nov. 23, 1919, Shirley J. Sager was born in Cedar Grove to Adolph and Lena (Theune) Stokdyk.

The two married on August 21, 1940, in Yuma, Ariz.

Clifton and Shirley owned and published The (Cedar Grove) Villager for fifteen years. They were also journalists for various television and radio stations, and she helped to produce educational films for the state of Wisconsin.

As a youth, Clifton moved to Milwaukee, where he graduated from Milwaukee Bay View High School in 1935 and later graduated from Carroll College in Waukesha in 1940. In addition to his film-making for the state of Wisconsin, Clifton made films documenting the construction of the Hancock building in Chicago and spent 10 years there creating other industrial films.

Shirley Sager

Shirley was a 1937 graduate of the Wisconsin Memorial Academy in Cedar Grove. In addition to her newspaper career, Shirley worked for the Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce as a visitor guide, served as the local historian and tour guide in the Cedar Grove area, and enjoyed photography, reading, writing, history, travel, pottery, doll collecting, gardening, cooking and being with people.

Clifton died Jan. 12, 2012, at Cedar Grove Gardens, and Shirley died Feb. 23, 2017, at the Cedar Grove Gardens.

They were survived by one daughter, Dianne (Finn) Nielsen of New Mexico; four grandchildren, Fred Hoffman, Cheryl (Michael) Hanniford, both of Iowa, Pam (Rob) Pociluk of New York and Stephanie Nielsen of Colorado; a son-in-law, Charles Fred Hoffman of Missouri; nieces and nephews.

They were preceded in death by two daughters, Suzanne Hoffman and Barbara Sager; and one grandson, Tom Hoffman.

Russell H. Steel, The (Crandon) Forest Republican

Russell H. Steel

In 1967, Russell H. Steel and his wife, Arlet, began a 36-year career publishing and editing The Forest Republican. They fulfilled their dream of owning a weekly community newspaper and worked together — without ever missing a deadline —through many advances in newspaper production technology. Initially, they printed the paper by letterpress, then by linotype machine and a hand-fed cylinder press that was only able to print four pages at a time. They saw the change to offset printing and, eventually, to computers before selling the newspaper in 2003 to retire and spend time traveling and with family.

Russell was born Aug. 26, 1935, in Ladysmith to Harold and Florence (Brovan) Steel. He graduated from Ladysmith High School in 1953 and joined the Army in 1955. He attained the rank of sergeant and was discharged in 1958 — the same year he married his high school sweetheart, Arlet Goldsmith.

Russell was born Aug. 26, 1935 in Ladysmith to Harold and Florence (Brovan) Steel. He graduated from Ladysmith High School in 1953. He joined the U.S. Army in January 1955 and served until January 1958. Most of his military service was in Germany. He attained the rank of sergeant. After his discharge, he returned to Ladysmith, where he married his high school sweetheart, Arlet Goldsmith, on May 3, 1958.

Soon after their marriage, the couple moved to Minneapolis, Minn. where Russell enrolled in the printing trades program at Dunwoody Institute. That program was followed by a six-year apprenticeship mainly while working at the Reedsburg Times-Press, which earned him journeyman printer status.

After Reedsburg, Russell worked at the Cornell Courier weekly and the Wisconsin Rapids daily newspaper before moving to Crandon.

Russell died July 2, 2017, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander after a long and courageous battle with COPD. He was 81.

Russell was survived by his of wife of 59 years, Arlet; his son, Mark of Topsham, Maine; his daughter, Kathryn (Peter) Springer of St. Germain. He is further survived by his grandchildren, Lindsey (Greg) Evan, Norah (Jonathan) Remmers, Reid (Ashley) Springer, Hoope Steel and Madeline Steel; and great-granddaughters, Cassidy Remmers and Evelyn Evans, both born this spring, and Kylie Evans. He is also survived by his brothers, James (Lorraine) Steel of Hudson and Michael (Carol) Steel of Chippewa Falls and his sisters, Carol Clay of Menomonee Falls and Linda Jacobs of Mukwonago.