Jerry HuseJanuary 17, 1927 ~ June 15, 2018 (age 91)
Jerry Huse, the longtime publisher of the Daily News and civic leader, died Friday at the age of 91, marking the end of a seven-decades-long commitment to help Norfolk and Northeast Nebraska thrive, grow and remain informed.
His funeral is set for Tuesday, June 19, at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church at 406 W. Phillip Ave. in Norfolk, with burial in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Norfolk. Visitation will be Monday, June 18, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Home for Funerals Chapel at 708 Georgia Ave.
He died Friday, June 15, 2018, at his home in Norfolk.
At the time of his death, Huse was president of the Daily News after serving as its publisher from 1956 until 2013. He also was owner of Norfolk radio stations WJAG, 106 Kix and Lite Rock 97.5, as well as the Norfolk Area Shopper.
Eugene F. Huse Jr. was born on Jan. 17, 1927, to Gene and Lucy Huse in Norfolk. Known throughout his life as Jerry, he graduated from what is now Shattuck-St. Mary’s High School in Faribault, Minn. He graduated from the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism. After college, he served in the U.S. Navy.
On Dec. 30, 1957, he married Karla Amelia Schnurr at St. Mark’s Church in Fort Dodge, Iowa. They were the parents of two children, Mary Beth and William. His wife, Karla, died June 15, 2017.
Jerry Huse was the fourth generation of the Huse family to serve as owner and publisher of the Daily News, succeeding his father, Gene, after his father’s death. As a daily newspaper publisher in the mid-1950s at the age of 29, he was the youngest in Nebraska to serve in that capacity. By the time he stepped down in 2013, he also had the distinction of being the state’s oldest daily newspaper publisher.
Huse was one of a steadily-dwindling number of independently owned daily publishers who shunned numerous enticing offers by newspaper chains and corporations to sell out because he believed in the value of having local ownership. He viewed such a newspaper to be a trusteeship on behalf of the community and area it serves.
His work as a publisher was recognized statewide, being named the Nebraska Press Association’s Master-Editor Publisher in 1997 and being inducted into the Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame in 2004.
In his decades of civic involvement, he was instrumentally involved in many community service and economic development projects in Norfolk. Both as a major donor and as a leader of fund drives, he contributed substantially to the development of the Norfolk Family YMCA, local hospital building projects, the Norfolk Arts Center, the Elkhorn Valley Museum and Northeast Community College.
Behind the scenes, he worked to help Norfolk grow and bring new businesses and jobs to the region. He was a founder and first president of the Greater Norfolk Corporation, which served as the city’s industrial land corporation; was a founding member of the Norfolk Action Council, the economic development arm of the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce and was founder of the Norfolk Civic Development Corp., which helped to finance the city’s first major industry. In all, he played a significant role in bringing seven new, large industries to Norfolk. He also played a major role in the development of the Norfolk Country Club.
Although always one to avoid the spotlight, his community efforts did not go unrecognized. In 1980, the Norfolk chamber presented him its "Award of the Decade" for distinguished community service. In 1987, he was given the Norfolk LaVitsef award in recognition of a lifetime of community service; and in 1991, the Norfolk City Council presented him with its Edward I. Vrzal award for outstanding community service. At the time, city officials said it was only appropriate to publicly recognize Huse even though throughout his lifetime of service, he usually sought to be an anonymous and unrecognized "good shepherd."
More recently, he received the lifetime philanthropy award in 2012 from the Philanthropy Council of Northeast Nebraska, and in 2015, he was inducted into the Norfolk Catholic Hall of Fame. In February, he will be inducted posthumously into the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame by the Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
A sportsman all his life, he enjoyed sailing, skiing, tennis and golf, but his favorite was sailboat racing. He was the first person to win four Inland Lake Yachting Association championships in the C Scow class of sailboats. He also was a member of that association’s hall of fame.
Huse is survived by a daughter, Mary Elizabeth, and her husband, Brad Olsen, of Arnold, Md.; a son, William, and his wife, Ann, of Peachtree City, Ga.; grandchildren Taylor, Hanna, Abigail, Maria and Bertila Huse; and Jeremiah "Jeremy" Olsen and his wife, Macarena, Benjamin "Ben" Olsen and his wife, Libbie, Holly and her husband, Matt Potter, and Andrew "Dawson" Olsen; and a brother-in-law, Lou Schwartz of California.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Karla; his parents, Gene and Lucy; two sisters, Charlotte Phelps and Jeanie Barber; and two sisters-in-law, Elizabeth Schwartz and Gretchen Stader.
Memorials can be directed to either the Norfolk Family YMCA or the Okoboji Yacht Club, Box 544, Milford, Iowa, 51351.