Emil Reutzel Jr. (1923-2020)

Oct 30, 2020


Emil W. Reutzel Jr. — the distinguished retired editor of the Norfolk (Nebraska) Daily News — died Sept. 26, at the age of 97 at his home in Coronado, California.

Reutzel served as editor of the Daily News for more than 30 years, from 1962 to 1993, and also was publisher and president of several weekly newspapers in northeast Nebraska for many years.

Kent Warneke, who succeeded Reutzel as editor of the Norfolk newspaper, said his predecessor was a skilled journalist who cared about the communities and readers he served. “His extensive civic involvement was testament to that,” Warneke said.

Just one example of that dedication was that Reutzel continued as a contributing editor at the Daily News until last year at the age of 96.

Reutzel came to the Daily News from Washington, D.C., in 1961, where he had served in the federal government for nearly seven years. Initially, he served as an assistant to the then-Civil Defense Administrator Val Peterson, a former governor of Nebraska. He later served as an assistant to the director of the Office of Civil Defense Mobilization in the Executive Office of the President.

He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II as an intelligence officer with the amphibious forces in the Pacific, having trained with the U.S. Navy Scouts and Raiders, a volunteer group.

His involvement in newspapers began in 1946 when he served as publisher and editor of the Neligh (Nebraska) News to 1954. He continued that newspaper involvement until 1973 as president of the News Publishing Co. of Neligh. He was named to the Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame in 1998.

Born April 10, 1923, he graduated from Neligh High School and attended the University of Nebraska from 1941 to 1943. After his service in World War II, he received an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

He married the former Chloe Campbell of Aberdeen, South Dakota, on Nov. 18, 1944. She died earlier this year at the age of 97. They moved on a full-time basis to Coronado upon his retirement.

Reutzel is survived by two daughters as well as four grandsons and seven great-grandchildren.