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Journal executive Heyse went from academics to ads
[June 06, 2008]

Journal executive Heyse went from academics to ads

(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The (KRT) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jun. 6--Warren J. Heyse had studied journalism and advertising for years, even working on his doctorate, when he landed his first regular job.

"One day, I picked up The Milwaukee Journal and saw a classified ad for an advertising salesman," he said later. "I said, 'Gee, that's what I ought to do.' "

That was in 1952. Heyse got the job, selling classified ads for $70 a week.

Nearly 40 years later, he retired as president of Journal Communications and vice chairman of Journal/Sentinel Inc., which then published The Milwaukee Journal and The Milwaukee Sentinel, and of WTMJ.

Heyse -- known to many as "Bud" -- died Wednesday at age 84, just days after a stroke. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer April 22.

He grew up in Whitefish Bay and began college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He signed up for the Navy Air Corps but was found to have some colorblindness. He found himself in the Army, bound for Europe.

"It took us 14 days to cross the North Atlantic," he recalled. "We zigged and zagged all over the place, because submarines were out there. Depth charges were being dropped, and we were constantly being brought upon deck.

"This was in November, and the North Atlantic was absolutely fierce. There were huge waves, and you'd just drop into one of those troughs and disappear."

Back after infantry duty, he used the GI Bill to earn a bachelor's degree in American studies at UW. He was recruited to earn a master's degree in journalism in a new program at the University of California, Los Angeles. He studied law at Marquette University for a year but found advertising more interesting.

"People were just beginning to realize the power of advertising," Heyse said. "It fascinated me."

He next began work on a doctorate at the University of Minnesota, also working as a teaching assistant in journalism, before heading to The Journal Co.

Among his promotions, he was named in 1968 to the new position of vice president for marketing and development.

Heyse retired in 1991.

"He was probably one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry, all facets of newspaper and television, including cable," said Ben Kordus, former vice president of advertising. "He was one of the first people involved in cable television, going back to 1969 and 1970."

Advertising remained a favorite area.

"Bud loved advertising," said Steve Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Journal Communications. "I remember Bud as being very supportive of all of us in the business, but he really loved advertising. He was an important part of the company."

Heyse worked closely with the late Thomas J. McCollow, who became chairman of the board for Journal Communications. Heyse was especially remembered for his role in diversifying the company and for his role with the employee stock ownership plan.

"He loved the newspaper, and he was proud of the stock plan," said Roxy Heyse, his wife. "He liked that employees owned a part of the company."

The two met on a blind date, marrying in 1949.

Heyse was enough of a romantic to remember other dates, too.

"I saw on his calendar for June 6, 'Pinned Roxy 60 years ago,' " his wife said of the day he gave her his fraternity pin.

Together they traveled the world, visiting more than 100 countries, happily in conditions more comfortable than those on his old troop ship.

Heyse was involved in civic groups, including service as chairman of the United Way and United Performing Arts Fund campaigns. He was long active with the UW Alumni Club, the UW Foundation and the Boy Scouts. The Heyses and Journal Communications endowed a mass communications professorship in his honor at UW-Madison.

Survivors also include daughters Roxanne Atkins and Jennifer Huffstetler, and grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Mequon United Methodist Church, 11011 N. Oriole Lane.

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