Chicago journalism is well-known for bulldog newshounds who rake muck for the public right.
Robert J. Herguth had a distinct approach. His gentle demeanor and lighthearted, pun-stuffed manner of viewing the sector made interview subjects speak in confidence to him. Readers looked forward to the hard-hitting testimonies within the newspapers, but once they turned the web page to “Hergie,” they felt like they had been touring a chum.
He died Wednesday at an assisted living facility in Portland, in which he’d moved to be towards his daughter Jeni. Mr. Herguth, a journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Daily News, changed into ninety three.
During almost half a century of writing characteristic testimonies and columns, Mr. Herguth did tales on a parade of humanity — and some animals, too. He interviewed martial artist Chuck Norris, John F. Kennedy, Sting, actor Harry J. Lennix, author Nelson Algren, a girl on a quest to sing the country wide anthem at every ballpark within the kingdom, and C.J. The orangutan, who co-starred inside the 1981 Bo Derek film, “Tarzan the Ape Man.”
When Paul McCartney turned into in town talking to a collection of high schoolers, a publicist granted Mr. Herguth get entry to. He walked in. McCartney took one study him and stated, “‘You’re no longer in excessive faculty.’’’
When he interviewed Jerry Lewis, the comedian “added a tape recorder because he informed my dad he’d been misquoted so much,” said his son, Sun-Times reporter Robert C. Herguth. “When I wiped clean out my mother and father’ house I located a handwritten notice from Lewis to my dad.”
A lover of puns and limericks, “He become unrelenting in his humor and his kindness,” said his son. Mr. Herguth’s license plate said “PUN.”
“He was a maestro of wordplay,” stated Jack Schnedler, former Sun-Times tour editor.
Though gentle-spoken and pleasant, Mr. Herguth “every day tested his remarkable ability in writing and reporting,” stated George Harmon, a former “rewrite man” and assistant city editor who taught journalism at Northwestern University. “He ought to deal with any kind of challenge.”
In 1993, he interviewed Harry J. Busch, the ultimate regarded character to see gangster “Terrible Tommy” O’Connor, whose daring 1921 Chicago jail break out inspired the play “The Front Page.” Busch advised Mr. Herguth how the escapee commandeered the younger Busch’s automobile: “He said `Drive like hell, you S.O.B., or I’ll blow your brains out! I’m Tommy O’Connor!’ I drove!”
He become a generous mentor. “I like to assume and desire each newsroom had a Bob Herguth to assist manual the ones young and new to the business,” said Don Hayner, former editor-in-leader on the Sun-Times. “He helped create the ethos of the Sun-Times, or as a minimum what we aspire to be.”
His son recalled Mr. Herguth’s advice when he entered journalism. He advised him if he made a mistake, “Apologize, own up and inform the bosses it’ll by no means occur once more; and that if I don’t recognize some thing, inform the bosses ‘I don’t understand, however I’ll find out.’ … He taught me to be sincere, and work hard and do my high-quality.”
Just 12 days after Mr. Herguth have become president of the Chicago Press Club in 1987, it shut down because of monetary troubles. He spent $2,six hundred of his own money to assist pay staffers.
“He turned into just an eminently kind and decent man,” stated Don Wycliff, who retired from journalism as public editor at the Chicago Tribune.
Bob spent his early years on Granville Avenue in the Edgewater community. After his father, Harry, died in a car coincidence, his mother, Loretta, lower back to her place of birth of St. Louis, where Bob and his sister, Joan, grew up. He made a bit newspaper and bought it to relatives for a penny. He went to university on the University of Missouri and worked for newspapers in El Paso, Texas, and Peoria.
Drafted at some stage in the Korean War, Mr. Herguth wrote Army propaganda leaflets that were translated into Korean. Some have been air-dropped behind enemy lines, in line with his son.
In the mid-’50s, he joined the Daily News. When it folded in 1978, he moved to the Sun-Times. He wrote columns referred to as “Public Eye,” “Chicago Profile” and “Small Potatoes.”
He met his wife, Margaret, once they both labored on the Daily News. They had been married from 1966 until her loss of life in 2014. The Herguths raised their family in Wilmette, wherein, “He loved driving his bike,” a Schwinn he had for 30 years, said their daughter Amy. “He rode it to the El.”
A homebody, Mr. Herguth desired journeys to Wisconsin over journeying the sector. “His profession changed into critical, however his own family changed into more crucial,” stated his godson, Tim Rooney, a former journalist for the Daily Herald.
Mr. Herguth is also survived by way of nine grandchildren. Visitation is scheduled 4 to eight p.M. Thursday at Donnellan Family Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. A funeral mass is deliberate at 10 a.M. Friday at St. Francis Xavier Church, 524 ninth St., Wilmette.