Prolific reporter Harlan Draeger dies at age 90

Harlan Draeger, a versatile and prolific news reporter who worked for the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Daily News, Kenosha News and Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune died last month at the age of 90.

Harlan Draeger

Draeger, who was born and raised in Beaver Dam, Wis., served in the U.S. Army and attended UW-Madison on the GI Bill, earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

A Kenosha resident, he commuted for decades to Chicago, where he reported on corrupt contract, crooked city courts, toxic dumps and even the apprehension of Ed Gein, a Wisconsin grave-robber and serial killer whose story is said to have inspired “Psycho,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Silence of the Lambs.”

In a 42-year career, he won many honors, including sharing in four Peter Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, given by the Chicago Headline Club, and was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.

Born and raised in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Mr. Draeger served in the U.S. Army and went to college on the GI Bill, earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin.

As a private citizen, he worked to bring a four-year University of Wisconsin branch to the Kenosha-Racine area. And in the mid-1950s, he helped organize an 800-person statewide committee to preserve public radio in Wisconsin.

He and his wife, the former Rita Meier, had been married since 1957. He is also survived by his son Paul, daughter Ann-Marie and three grandchildren.

Visitation will be at 11 a.m. March 16 followed by a noon memorial service at Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home in Racine.

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