James Burgess, former State Journal publisher and WNA past president, dies at 85


James E. “Jim” Burgess, a longtime publisher for Lee Enterprises, past president of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, and member of the Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame, died Monday, Dec. 20, in Madison. He was 85.

Burgess grew up in La Crosse, the son of Margaret (Forseth) and William T. Burgess. He attended Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from UW-Madison in 1958.

He married his wife, Catherine Qualey, on Dec. 20, 1958, in Geneva, Ill. Shortly after their wedding, Burgess and his wife moved to Germany, where he served three years in the U.S. Air Force. They were married 63 years and together they had four children and 11 grandchildren.

Following his time in the military, Burgess started his newspaper career in the newsroom at the State Journal in Madison. He went on to serve as business and production manager at the Missoulian in Missoula, Mont., and publisher of the (Helena, Mont.) Independent Record.