Verle Burgason, who began work at the Ames Tribune (Iowa) as an ad salesman and rose to become part-owner and co-publisher of the paper, died Sept. 29 at age 88.
A 1951 graduate of Drake University, Burgason started work at the Tribune in 1953 as an advertising salesman. After serving as advertising director, he became a part-owner in 1957 and later a co-publisher.
After he and his partners sold the paper in 1986, Burgason remained with the company as a senior publisher and advisor, maintaining an office there until 2011. The newspaper’s conference room was named for him in 2012.
A Tribune obituary by Editor Michael Crumb said Burgason “is considered one of the most important figures in the newspaper’s nearly 150-year history.”
Current Ames Tribune Publisher Scott Anderson said Burgason’s legacy is still felt at the newspaper today.
“Verle Burgason was a major driving force into making the Tribune what it is today,” Anderson said in the obituary. “His legacy will forever live on. On behalf of all employees of the Ames Tribune, thank you, Verle, for setting us on a course of integrity and for your role in creating our foundation. We will forever work to honor the great legacy you left behind.”
Gary Gerlach, who along with Michael Gartner purchased the Tribune from Burgason and his partners, said Burgason’s death is a “substantial loss” to Ames.
Dan Culhane, the president and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce, called Burgason a “titan” in the Ames community.
“I admired the work he did and the legacy he left behind,” Culhane said.