The Burgum family history society is a member of the Guild of one name studies and researches the names

Bob Bartley (1937-2003)

It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of Bob Bartley. He was 66 years old. Bob was married to my friend Edith Lillie Bartley (FF038) at Ames, Iowa, on December 19th 1960. They had been together since High School. Edith has been a keen supporter of the Burgum Family History Society, as was her mother before her, and for that I shall be forever grateful. I only met Bob on a few occasions - Edith once wrote that he worked almost every waking moment.

Below you will read some of the words written about Bob Bartley. I found these when I went onto the Internet and entered his name. There were literally thousands of pages - many of them expressing personal and professional sorrow about the passing of the man. There were those, too, who did not see eye-to-eye with Bob but, as one person put it, you could take issue with Bob Bartley, but you could not ignore him!

The White House

President George W. Bush

For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary December 10, 2003

"Statement on Bob Bartley by the President of the United States Bob Bartley was a giant of journalism. His extraordinary contributions to America as an author, editor, and columnist helped shape our times. I was pleased to award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our highest civil honor, in recognition of his enormous impact on the intellectual and political life of our Nation. Laura joins me in sending condolences to Edith and his daughters, family, colleagues, and friends."

Weekly Standard

by Irving Kristol

"Bob Bartley was one of the most influential journalists of the 20th century. He was also a most admirable human being. Although his controversial opinions, strongly expressed, made him enemies, he himself had no enemies. Petty passions were simply foreign to him. Even his political opponents came to respect his intelligence, his integrity, and his great good nature."

"My friend Bob Bartley"

by Emmett Tyrrell December 11th 2003

"My friend Bob Bartley, editor emeritus of the Wall Street Journal, died at 9:35 Wednesday morning, December 10. I knew him for over three decades. During that time he grew from being a quiet slightly enigmatic Midwestern reporter in the Journal's Chicago bureau to being the most powerful editor of the most powerful editorial page in the country--powerful, that is, if ideas change the world, and his did."

Federal Reserve Chairman

Alan Greenspan

"Robert Bartley was an articulate and most effective advocate of free markets, indeed freedom generally. His thoughtful voice will be sorely missed."

New York Post - Online

by David Asman December 11th 2003

"Bob Bartley was a great newspaperman. He has been called many other things - both grand and disparaging. But this is the achievement in which he took greatest pride. With a mind that sharp, a skill that well honed, and a genius for uncovering fresh new ideas in the most hopeless quagmires, the awards and recognition he received were all but certain. So, too, is there certainty in this: Those happy few who worked with him will regard the experience as the most rewarding and productive of their lives."
(Fox News anchor David Asman was hired by Bob Bartley in 1983 and worked with him until 1997).

From the Rush Limbaugh Show

"He was a man of deep humility and he was very confident who he was and what he believed in, and he was infectious in that way. Everybody, everybody who knew this man is going to miss him terribly. He, his leadership and guidance at the Journal, even when he stepped down as the daily editor, his footprint there was huge, and it's large enough at his level of impact, influence is large enough that it will go on and on and on even now after his death."

"A tribute to Robert Bartley"

by David Bahnsen

"A tribute is in order to one of the finest journalists of the 20th Century. Robert J. Bartley (1937-2003), a Pulitzer Prize winner, was by no means perfect, but he was a light in the darkness when it comes to modern press."

About Bob Bartley

Bob Leroy Bartley was born on October 12, 1937 at Marshall, Minnesota but he grew up in Ames, Iowa, where he met and married Edith Lillie. They married on December 19th 1960. They had been together since High School. Bob and Edith Bartley had three daughters - Beth, Katherine and Susan. Bob gained a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from Iowa State University and a Master's Degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin. In 1962, at age 24, he got a job as a reporter in The Wall Street Journal's Chicago bureau. Within a few years, he was contributing to the editorial page.

In 1972 Bob Bartley became editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal and it was his editorials that won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1980. He was out-spoken on many issues including arms-control and the conduct of President Bill Clinton. Bob was named editor in 1979 and a vice president of the Dow Jones in 1983. He became editor emeritus in 2002 and continued to write a column called "Thinking Things Over" until November 2003.

Eight days before he died, on December 2, at 1:05 pm, Bob received a phone call from the White House. The President, from Air Force One, was calling to offer him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honour. He accepted. The citation to Bob included the words - "A champion of free markets, individual liberty and the values necessary for a free society, his writings have been characterized by profound insights, passionate convictions and an unyielding optimism in America."

During his life time, Bob also won the Gerald Loeb Award and a Citation for Excellence from the Overseas Press Club of America. He wrote the book "The Seven Fat Years: And How to Do It Again" in 1992, relating to President Reagan's economic policy. He was also awarded honorary degrees from Macalester College, Babson College and Adelphi University.

I wrote to Edith soon after I had heard that Bob had lost his fight with cancer. I hope she will forgive me if I publish my thoughts on a man I hardly knew.
"Dear Edith -
I am so sorry to hear that Bob has passed away and I cannot pretend to understand the grief you and your family must feel. I only met Bob a few times but, I too, feel the loss. During our visit to you in the summer, Bob confided to me just how ill he was and we all, of course, prayed for his recovery. From the President himself, and the award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to the many journalists and friends, it was wonderful to read all the great things they had to say about him. Indeed, it was humbling to read about the man I had met at Brooklyn Heights and realise this man, who had quietly and respectfully allowed me into his home and entertained me, had such unassuming greatness. You must be so very proud to have shared in his success over so many years. Yet, I suspect that it is as a husband and a family man that you will remember him. I know that family is important to you and I feel sure you will have received much support from the girls and your brother and sisters during this difficult time."

The final words must belong to Edith Bartley, Great-granddaughter of A. T. Burgum. "We were lucky and we knew it. Bob and I did have time to say some of the important things to each other, and that was his word: Lucky. His career was exactly the one he wanted. Three beautiful, healthy children, a family all on good terms. More friends than time to spend with them. A house that was a home. His 43rd wedding anniversary imminent. A sense of God in his heaven. A good life. A good man."