Yakima Valley Museum
Ted Robertson

Ted Robertson, publisher of the Yakima Daily Republic and the Yakima Morning Herald, followed his father's principle that "ownership of the only daily newspapers in a community carries with it a tremendous responsibility and obligation that must never be overlooked..."

Ted Robertson, through the vehicle of his family-owned newspaper, brought knowledge of the world to our isolated valley, and thereby brought the world to Yakima and brought Yakima into a larger world.

Wilbur Hovey "Ted" Robertson was born April 19, 1900.  He was the only son of Wilbur Wade (W.W.) and Grace Barrett Robertson, who also had a daughter, Helen.  Ted grew up on North Naches Avenue, where his father, who always called him Bill, was the dominant force in his upbringing.  While W. W. Robertson often seemed a stern taskmaster to the growing boy, Ted later was grateful for the advice, teachings, principles, and business philosophy he learned from his father.  His mother, whom Ted felt could not have been more kind, gentle, or understanding, was equally influential in a more subtle, personal way.

Ted's formal education was acquired through the Yakima Public Schools, except for his last two years of high school, which were completed at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire.  He was sent there to keep an eye on his sister Helen, who enrolled as a freshman at nearby Wellesley College in the fall of 1917, even though "she needed looking after as much as she needed a third leg."

robertson roomFollowing graduation from Harvard in June 1923, Ted returned to Yakima to work full time for the Yakima newspapers.  He began as the manager for national advertising accounts, became business manager in 1928, and in 1938, following the death of his father, gained the title of publisher.  Ted Robertson remained as publisher of the Yakima Dailies until his retirement and sale of the newspapers in 1973.

His personal life was one of family and community involvement.  Although his first marriage (in 1924 to Elaine Williams) ended in divorce, his only child, Lorna, was born during this time and she, plus her four children, were central to Ted's life.  Ted remarried twice, to Ruth Bice Sperry in 1943 and, following her death in 1980, to Dorothy "Bill" Witt Donelson in 1981.  Ted died in 1987, and until her own death in 1999, Bill remained committed to carrying on the causes and philosophies Ted had championed—a lifetime of dedication to family and community.

 

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