Dick Youngblood was known for his folksy writing style, fascination with entrepreneurs and for treating new colleagues to a "Jucy Lucy" cheeseburger.
Youngblood, a longtime business columnist and editor for the Star Tribune, wrote up to three columns weekly from 1983 until his retirement in 1998. He wrote a weekly freelance column until 2011.
He relished the hustle of the newsroom. Depending upon his stress level and proximity to deadline, he could range from "endearing to irascible," said his son.
"In the same minute," quipped Kent Youngblood, a Star Tribune sportswriter. "He loved writing that column."
Youngblood died Oct. 23. He was 85.
"He also taught a journalism course at the University of St. Thomas for years," his son said. "I remember him grading stories with a black felt pen. He would really slash some of them. I remember thinking 'I'm glad I'm not in his class.' He also mentored a lot of students."
Larry Werner succeeded Youngblood as business editor in 1983.
"Dick was passionate about small business, and that came through in his writing and choice of topics," Werner said. "What he disliked most about managing was meetings. As I would walk past on my way to the daily news huddle, he would fold his hands, look heavenward and say, 'Thank you, God.' "
In the 1970s, Youngblood pioneered an annual special section about executive compensation. Dave Beal, retired business editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, recalled that some executives were unhappy with that.
Youngblood admired candid executives. In 1998, in his last column as an employee, Youngblood reminisced about some of his favorites, including a deceased securities industry CEO.
"And there's the stunning combination of wit and courage with which the late Tom Dale, then CEO of [the former] Dain Bosworth, confronted the death sentence attached to the diagnosis of liver and pancreatic cancer he'd just been handed," Youngblood wrote. "The good news, he told a friend, is that I'm not a hypochondriac."
Youngblood wrote several columns over the years about Frank Donaldson Jr., who died in 1991 and was a CEO of manufacturer Donaldson Co. and son of its founder.
"Donaldson … also was a reporter's dream because of his self-effacing candor and his one-liners," Youngblood wrote. "Consider, for example, the opening line of his chairman's letter in the Donaldson annual report after the industrial muffler manufacturer had produced its first loss in 50 years: 'A year ago we said business was lousy. Well, it got worse.' "
Youngblood, early in his news-management career, was known for his bark and for slamming the telephone in fits of anger. By the 1980s, after quitting drinking and smoking, he became more empathetic and affable. Well into retirement, he visited the newsroom one or two days a week to work on his column.
Youngblood was raised in the North Dakota hamlets of Harvey and Bowbells. After graduation from the University of North Dakota, he joined the staff of the Grand Forks Herald. He was hired by the Star Tribune in 1963. He was a farm reporter and assistant city editor before becoming business editor in 1969.
In retirement, Youngblood read voraciously and had a weakness for crime novels. He stayed in touch over coffee with former Star Tribune colleagues.
In addition to his son, Kent, Youngblood is survived by his daughters Ruth and Beth; three stepchildren and several grandchildren. There will be a memorial service at the Cremation Society of Minnesota's St. Paul facility, 1979 Old Hudson Road, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 19.