Friday, March 04, 2005

The angel among the devils

When the Chicago Daily News folded in 1978, Margaret Whitesides, the tiny, soft-spoken secretary on the city desk was just six months short of her 50th anniversary with the newspaper. The management let her take her ancient manual typewriter with her.

When she got home, she started writing a six-page, single-spaced newsletter that she faithfully mailed to every member of the 300-plus staff every month until she died 24 years later at age 92. Upon her death in 2002, the task was assumed immediately by Robert J. Herguth, a warm and witty former columnist, who continues publishing the newsletter to this day.

The news in the Daily News Newsletter nowadays is mostly about either grandchildren, medical problems or the loss of another comrade. But Bob publishes it faithfully for former staffers and, in some cases, their next of kin.

"Margaret Whitesides worked in the heart of the Chicago Daily News, then helped save its soul," said her obiturary in the Chicago Sun-Times. "She was an angel among the devils."


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