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Dorothy D. Herdt

Former Argus-Courier publisher

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:48 p.m.

Dorothy D. Herdt was a strong and tenacious woman who worked her way up from the advertising department at a small newspaper to also become publisher of the Petaluma Argus-Courier.


Dorothy D. Herdt

Mrs. Herdt died at Hospice House in Hutchinson, Kan. on Feb. 7, 2013 at the age of 85.

Born in Norton, Kan., Mrs. Herdt grew up in Garden City and started her career in advertising at a local newspaper.

“She only had a high school education,” said her son, Jim Herdt. “But she rose all the way through the ranks.”

Mrs. Herdt married Leroy Herdt, a Navy man, after World War II. Together, they built two homes in Kansas.

Mr. Herdt became a newspaper pressman, and the couple eventually moved to Wyoming where Mrs. Herdt worked for many years in the ad department of the Casper Star Tribune.

“With the skills they had, they moved fairly often,” said Herdt. “They never had trouble finding work. At one point they lived in Coos Bay, Ore., and lived in Nebraska — always doing newspaper work.”

The Herdts eventually found themselves in California, where Mrs. Herdt became the first female newspaper publisher for Scripps Newspapers, retiring as publisher of the Petaluma Argus-Courier during the early 1990s. Her husband retired from the pressroom of the Press Democrat.

“My mom was a woman of the '90s and the '50s in that she was a professional woman long before it was the thing for a woman to do that,” said Herdt. “She worked from the time I started school, and for many years was earning a lot less than the men holding the same positions.”

Mrs. Herdt was a member of the Nickerson United Methodist Church.

“She was a strong lady and a hero to a lot of people,” said Herdt.

She is survived by her children, James Herdt of Chelsea, Ala., and Jeanette Herdt of Nickerson, Kan.; grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, Leroy Herdt, who died June 3, 1999. Her parents and two brothers, Harold and Donald Davis, also preceded her in death.

Per her request, cremation will take place and no services are planned.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice House, in care of Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home and Crematory, Hutchinson, Kan.

To leave a message for the family, visit: www.PenwellGabelHutchinson.com.

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