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Robert L. Angus

Inducted into the Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2012

Robert Angus
Robert Angus

Robert L. Angus worked nearly 40 years at the Daily Jefferson County Union, including more than three decades as managing editor.

Angus was inducted into the Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame during the Wisconsin Newspaper Association (WNA) annual convention Feb. 24, 2012, in Madison. His son, Scott Angus, was inducted in 2018.

Selected posthumously for the honor, Angus ranks among visionaries and innovators in the Wisconsin newspaper industry who have been selected for the Hall of Fame since it began in 2001.

Angus was extremely proud of having realized a childhood dream of becoming a writer. Born Aug. 26, 1920, in Madison, he graduated from Middleton High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1943. Despite having contracted polio as a child, Angus was a standout athlete in high school and served as manager of the 1942 UW-Madison football team.

Following college, from 1943-46, he worked as a sports reporter at the Wisconsin State Journal. It was during this time, on March 25, 1946, that he married Elizabeth “Betty” Packham of Lodi. The couple began searching for a smaller community in which to raise a family and, at the coaxing of fellow J-School graduate Mark “Bud” Hoard Kerschensteiner, advertising manager of Hoard’s Dairyman magazine, they chose Fort Atkinson, home of the Daily Jefferson County Union.

Just two months before his arrival in May 1946, the Union had switched from a weekly to a weekday newspaper. Angus served as sports editor and then city editor for its first five years as a daily. In 1951, he was named managing editor, continuing in that post 34 years, until his retirement in 1985. He died on Dec. 13, 1995, at age 75.

Community newspapering was his forte and, as managing editor of the Daily Union for four decades, Angus both monitored and shaped local events. He once said that his “greatest claim to fame” was covering some 815 city council meetings and writing and editing 8,800 editions of the Daily Union. “That’s a lot of sittin’ and sweatin’,” he wrote in 1980.

“Of all the things that transpired at the Daily Union during my days there, I’m most proud of the parade of persons who worked under me and then went on to greater achievements,” Angus wrote in a note he somehow slipped into his file in the newsroom’s “morgue” just months before his death. “Many of them came to the Daily Union fresh out of the university. Along the way, we must have done something right in contributing to the training of those people.”

One of his four children followed in his journalism footsteps, as son Scott became editor of The Gazette in Janesville and vice president of news for Bliss Communications. Bob, and wife Betty, also had three other children: Robert A. of Birmingham, AL.; Jean Erickson of Colorado Springs. CO; and Nancy Baines of Janesville.

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