Longtime Daily Globe newsman Bob Cashel dies at 83Paperboy, reporter and editor also enjoy lengthy military career
WORTHINGTON — Veteran Daily Globe newsman Bob Cashel died Thursday evening at Sanford Worthington Medical Center following a short illness.
By: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Veteran Daily Globe newsman Bob Cashel died Thursday evening at Sanford Worthington Medical Center following a short illness. He was 83.
Bob’s career with the Daily Globe was a lengthy one, having started delivering the newspaper at the age of 12, including the edition that carried the story of the Dec. 7, 1941, bombing of Pearl Harbor.
But Bob didn’t start churning out the stories himself until a bit later, after an early career with the Minnesota National Guard. He first spent two years in the Air Force, then joined the local Guard unit, which was activated in 1950 and sent to Camp Rucker, Ala. He spent two years there as a company clerk, and then continued fulltime with his duties at the Worthington Armory. With a total of 21 years of military service, he achieved the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3.
When the National Guard reorganized, Cashel was transferred to St. Cloud, but he wasn’t keen on moving his family. He and wife Marion had five children —Sue, Steve, LeAnn, Tom and Rosemary.
“Worthington was home,” Bob said in a 2009 interview.
So, with the encouragement of Daily Globe Publisher Jim Vance and Managing Editor Ray Crippen, Bob joined the staff as a reporter. The journalism training came all on the job, and though his stories may have been rough to begin with, Bob carved out a niche for himself in the newsroom and the community.
“Thank heavens Ray Crippen was in the newsroom, and he could mend my stories,” credited Bob in 2009. “I didn’t have a lot of writing experience.”
Eventually earning the title of city editor, Bob’s beat encompassed city, county, school and police issues. He also took on the alter ego of “Turk O’Day” during Worthington’s annual King Turkey Day celebration and penned a popular weather column. Perhaps because of his own on-the-job training, he became a mentor to many younger reporters who passed through the newsroom.
“Bob was the city reporter when I started at the Globe in February 1972, and he was the first colleague to greet me when I walked into the newsroom,” remembered David Hawley, who went on to work at the Pioneer Press and continues to live in the Twin Cities in his retirement. “He presented me with a pencil and told me to always carry one with me because pens wouldn’t work in sub-zero temperatures. I had grown up in Kentucky, so this was news to me. ‘Always take a pencil to a fire,’ Bob said.
“The first day, Bob was delegated to take me to the Worthington Chamber of Commerce to interview its new director,” continued Hawley. “My first question was, ‘What, exactly, is a chamber of commerce?’ On the walk back to the office, Bob said I had the makings of an effective reporter because I wasn’t afraid to fake ignorance in order to get some good quotes. I thought it was awfully generous of him to put it that way, since I had no idea what a chamber of commerce did.”
Bob and Marion became surrogate parents to Hawley during his Daily Globe career, often feeding him breakfast before the work day began and eventually setting him up with his wife-to-be, Cheryl Mayer, who was a social worker at the school. An avid golfer himself, Bob tried to share his love of the game with his young colleague.
“On one of the fairways, he watched me drive a golf ball into a tree twice, with the ball bouncing straight back each time,” Hawley related. “‘There’s a way to avoid doing this,’ he said. ‘Aim for the tree, and you’ll never hit it.’ A short time later he watched in horror as I drove a golf ball into the parking lot, where it bounced around, ricocheting off a bunch of cars. ‘We’d better leave quietly,’ he said.”
Other former colleagues remember Bob as a guy who had a knack for getting dealing with people and getting them to share information.
“For many years Bob had a popular Daily Globe column which was titled, ‘Business News.’ Very bad name, but Bob filled it with short items he picked up on his tireless rounds of the town and readers knew it as Cashel’s Column,” explained Crippen. “Through many of the years Bob and I worked together at the paper, the editor had a responsibility for editing copy and laying pages, all at the same time. It was a demanding assignment, and time was always short. Bob took it upon himself — bless him — to ‘run interference.’ When someone stopped at the editor’s desk for more than a few minutes, whether with a compliment, correction or condemnation, Bob would step up and take over the conversation, leaving me free to keep pages flowing. Bob had a gift for walking up to someone, hand extended and smiling broadly, and leading people away with a feeling of goodwill.”
Former Daily Globe photographer Jim Brandenburg felt a special connection with Bob when he started at the Globe as a young college student.
“The first thing I think about Bob is that my mom babysat him at the Dayton House,” Brandenburg noted. “He lived there at one time, and my mother moved to Worthington when she was just 13 years old to work in that house, to iron.”
Brandenburg, who has forged a career as a premier wildlife photographer, working for National Geographic and authoring many books, fondly remembers his time at the Daily Globe as “probably the best time of my life professionally,” and says that Bob had a lot to do with that.
“I worked with a lot of people there during an intense time,” Brandenburg said. “We all have a story — a day that would be awkward, something that didn’t go right, but I have no memories of that with Bob, no days of awkwardness or conflict.
“If there was something that needed to be done, when everybody else would look at the floor or roll their eyes, Bob would go and do it. He was the go-to guy. He’d pick up his notepad and go and do it. Sometimes he’d have it done before it needed to be done. He did that important stuff that needed to be in the paper, the main street stuff, the nuts and bolts that is crucial to a newspaper’s existence, crucial to the readers to know.”
When he thinks back about working with Bob, Brandenburg has an image of “nothing but smiles and warmth,” and that’s an image that will be familiar to anybody who knew him. In his later years, Bob suffered some health problems and lost his voice due to a stroke, but he always had a big smile on his face.
“I don’t know of many people who didn’t feel great affection for Bob,” reflected Hawley. “He knew the community and its people, where they were going and what they were doing and where they had been in the process of life. He was a font of information, modest and funny and usually one step ahead of the rest of us. He would deny this, of course, but that’s Bob.”
The funeral service for Bob Cashel will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Worthington. Full service information is printed on Page A2.More from around the web