July 5, 2012

Gackle remembered as outstanding journalist, publishing leader

Gackle remembered as outstanding journalist, publishing leader

By JILL DENNING GACKLE

Don Gackle’s death this past Sunday leaves behind a lifetime of achievements.
Gackle was among one of the first North Dakota publishers with a journalism degree. Newspapers were then hot lead and an owner needed to be skilled at setting type, with the help of a printer’s devil or two.
He said in an interview in 1996, “We might work the night around to get that damned thing out.”
He developed a love of the printed work while working for his hometown newspaper, the Kulm Messenger. He also worked at the newspapers in Lamoure, Wishek, Napoleon and Valley City.
“I was interested in politics since I’ve been a kid. When I was 11 years old, I worked on Wendell Wilke’s campaign when he ran against FDR in 1940. When Bill Langer came to town, I’d go to his speeches even if he was on the other side.”
His dad wanted him to be a lawyer, but Gackle leaned toward journalism.
“I was a young upstart, out to crusade,” he said. “Maybe it was my ego or something, I liked the bylines,” he told a reporter.
He bought the Garrison paper by raising $40,000 from the sale of a Fargo home, selling out his shares in the Gackle & Sons farm equipment business in Kulm and with an unsecured $5,000 loan from Wayne Stroup, Garrison banker and, later, a close friend.
The newspaper at the time was more interested in political activities than in the individual lives of Garrison’s residents. Gackle set out to change that and to make it a hometown newsy publication.
 


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