When I first learned of the passing of Minden Mayor Bill Robertson, I was shocked and saddened. While I knew of his complications from back surgery, I had no idea things had become “critical.”
It was one of those “you remember where you were when…” moments for me. My wife and I were on our way to Dallas to pick up a print job.
We immediately began discussing our memories of the Mayor Robertson. She had worked for the City in the Recreation Department for a number of years and had to interview with him in order to be considered for her job.
My memories dated back a little further — to my first pair of Buster Brown shoes. My mom would take me to Robertson’s Shoes each year before school started. I vaguely remember being fitted for those shoes.
Stronger memories always involved the newspaper. My Dad told me that reporters needed to make “beat calls” in order to build relationships with their sources. I decided to visit Mayor Robertson as my weekly beat call.
“You are a lot like your dad,” he told me during our first meeting. “I remember when he would call on me as a young man at our shoe store. I always thought a lot of him.”
Our relationship would continue through the years. If major news broke in town, I would walk down to city hall (on of the benefits of working in a small town) and sit in the Mayor’s office for the latest information.
I remember one visit during an ice storm when the power was out throughout town. As I sat in his office, he was working two-way radios in contact with the “Steam plant” to get power restored. Even in the midst of the work, he took time out to let me know what was happening so I could get a story done. That’s just the way he always operated.
As I grew within the company, I passed the baton of making the beat call with Mayor Robertson to each managing editor I hired. From Tracy Campbell and Allen J.M. Smith, to Mike McNeil and Josh Beavers, they all had regular visits with the mayor.
He took time with each, building a lasting relationship and sharing his vision for Minden. Some of his ideas came to pass, while others didn’t. However, all were geared to improving Minden for its citizens.
Mayor Robertson’s death leaves a void for my hometown. It will be strange to see another in the “Mayor’s” office.
I hope the next person to take reins will love Minden as much as Mayor Robertson did. We are a better community because of him.
God Bless you, Bill. We miss you already.
David Specht Jr. is President of Specht Newspapers, Inc., and Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. Follow his blog at www.DavidASpecht.com