ROBERT DANZIG

Obituary
  • "I will miss his kind heart and creative spirit. His love..."
    - Linda Spears
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    - Christine James-Brown
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    - Risa Olinsky
  • "To a sweet man full of encouragement ! May God bless you"
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DANZIG--Robert J.

Longtime Head of Hearst Newspapers Dead at 85. Robert J. Danzig, former head of Hearst Newspapers, senior Hearst executive and member of the Company's Board of Directors from 1977 to 1997, died on August 8 on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, after a long illness. He was 85. "Bob Danzig played a pivotal role in the dramatic growth of Hearst's newspaper operations in a career that spanned more than 50 years with the Company," Hearst President and CEO Steven R. Swartz said. "He was the rarest of executive talent, with equal measures of pragmatism and warmth, and his leadership lessons are part of Hearst's DNA." "Bob's contributions to Hearst went beyond the newspaper division," said Frank A. Bennack, Jr., executive vice chairman and former CEO of Hearst. "He mentored and encouraged young talent and created opportunities for all who were lucky enough to be taken under his wing. He was also among my longest serving and most beloved and admired partners. We are grateful for his leadership and friendship both in the Company and on the Hearst Board." Danzig's tenure at Hearst began at the Times Union in Albany, New York, where he worked as a teenage office boy in 1950. He ascended to become publisher of the Times Union and Knickerbocker News 19 years later. In 1977, Danzig was chosen to lead Hearst's 6,000- employee newspaper division as general manager. After service in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, Danzig returned to Albany and the Times Union, this time as an ad salesman with a wife and growing family. He attended Albany's Siena College at night where he contributed to the school's literary journal and earned his degree with honors in 1962. He later received the school's Outstanding Alumni Award; in 1997, the college awarded him an honorary doctorate. During his time at Hearst, Danzig belonged to the Newspaper Association of America, the Newspaper Advertising Bureau, New Directions for News and the American Press Institute. He was known for his innovative marketing leadership. He was also the only business executive ever to be accepted into Stanford University's prestigious journalism fellowship program, and later served on its board. Danzig was a faculty member at the New School University in New York and a force behind the Hearst's Management Institute. Danzig would eventually become an author and motivational speaker, drawing from his childhood experience in foster care. He credited three kind words from a social worker named Mae Morse with buoying him for a lifetime: "You are worthwhile," she told a 12- year-old Danzig, as he wrote later, and "opened [his] life to possibility." In 2007, he was named to the Speaker's Hall of Fame. Danzig is survived by his wife, Dianne, his children, Marybeth Hartfelder and her husband, Ron; Marsha Danzig, Darcy Plunkett and her husband, Gary; Steve Danzig and his wife, Jen and Matt Danzig and his wife, Susie, as well as 10 grandchildren, Charlie, Miles and Jack Hartfelder; Madeleine Rae and RJ Plunkett; Declan, Brogan and Moira Danzig; and Luke and MacKenzie Danzig. Danzig is also survived by his wife's daughters, Lori, Cheryl and Colleen and their children and grandchildren. There will be celebrations of his life in Hyannis, MA; Deerfield Beach, FL; Albany, NY and New York City. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Child Welfare League of America, www.cwla.org

Published in The New York Times on Aug. 15, 2018
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