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 William Ferdinand Huffman, Jr

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William Ferdinand Huffman, Jr

  • Birth 13 Aug 1895
  • Death 8 Sep 1949
  • Burial Wisconsin Rapids, Wood County, Wisconsin, USA
  • Plot Block 137
  • Memorial ID 10910237

Newspaper Publisher. He was the son and only child of William F. Huffman, Sr. and his wife Myra Louise Shoudy. While he was born in Iowa where his father's family was working in the hotel business they did not stay there. His father was a risk taker who traveled around looking for the American Dream.

In his teens, his family lived in Colorado, but when his father began to be ill with diabetes and heart problems, the family moved back to Illinois. His father eventually died when Huffman was 19.

Prior to WW I, he attended Belloit College in Northern Illinois where he met his future wife, Louise Fey. By that time he had become interested in journalism and planned a career in the newspaper industry.

He eventually enlisted in April 1917 in the American Ambulance Field Service. He served seven months on Western front with the 132nd French Division. He was cited for bravery and awarded the French Croix de Guerre. He returned to the US in December 1917 and enlisted in the 331st Field Artillery at Camp Grant. He was selected to attend the officer's training school for field artillerymen at Camp Taylor, Kentucky. He was commisioned a second lieutenant in September 1918. He left the Army at the end of the war.

In 1919, he was invited by George Meade, a Central Wisconsin Industrialist, to come to Wisconsin Rapids and set up a business there. The town had recently been incorporated from two separate ones (Grand Rapids and Centralia) that had been divided by the river. Using money that he got from the life insurance policy that came as a result of his father's death, he bought the stuggling weekly Grand Rapids Tribune as well other weekly newspapers in the area, and turned them into the Daily Tribune.

In 1921 he married Miss Fey and moved with her to Wisconsin. The couple would go on to have two children, William Fey and Mary Louise.

Over the years, The Tribune gained a reputation statewide as first class newspaper. Huffman encouraged his reporters to write bold and insightful articles. He set a standard for invesitgative journalism and helped bring justice in the cases of a few political figures. He drew the attention of several powerful people in Wisconsin and around the country.

With the prosperity of the Tribune, Huffman established several radio stations around Wisconsin, in particular WFHR in Wisconsin Rapids. He was also instrumental in forming the Wisconsin Radio Networks. Along with the radio network he also owned and operated a Cranberry Marsh.

His reputation gained him the presidency of the Wisconsin Communciations Commission. He also was an advisor to several political figures, including US Sen. Robert La Follette, Jr. and his brother Gov. Phillip La Follette.

Huffman was a member of several organizations including the Scottish Rite of the Masons.

Like his father, Huffman was a diabetic. While he kept himself in good physical condition it eventually took it's toll. He died of heart problems related to his diabetes at fairly young age. The running of the Tribune was taken over by his wife and son. It passed out of the Huffman family in the 1980's when it was bought by Gannett Publishing.

Family Members


  • Created by: Catharine
  • Added: 
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10910237
  • Lonnie
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for William Ferdinand Huffman, Jr (13 Aug 1895–8 Sep 1949), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10910237, citing Forest Hill Cemetery, Wisconsin Rapids, Wood County, Wisconsin, USA ; Maintained by Catharine (contributor 46501465) .