Bill Skemp, who rose from paperboy to Chairman & CEO at Woodward Communications


William F. (Bill) Skemp—a paperboy for the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa, who retired after a six-decade career as chairman and CEO of parent Woodward Communications Inc.—died July 28, 2018 at his home from natural causes. He was 79.

Skemp first worked at the Telegraph Herald as a newspaper carrier while in high school at Loras Academy in Dubuque. After graduating from Loras College in 1961, he attained his CPA certificate in 1963 while working in Chicago as an account for Price Waterhouse, now PwC.

He returned to Dubuque the next year and except for that brief period in Chicago would be associated with the Telegraph Herald/Woodward Communications until his retirement in 2012.

From newspaper carrier, Skemp would go on to serve as circulation clerk, sports reporter, corporate accountant and treasurer.

In 1987, he was promoted to president and COO of WCI. He was subsequently named chairman of the board and CEO, the position from which he retired in May 2012.

Skemp will be remembered as a “friend, mentor and advisor,” Inland Press Association President Tom Yunt writes in his column in this issue. “Bill was an ardent Inland supporter and allowed me to contribute a great deal of time to Inland,” he added.

The Greater Dubuque Development, in a statement upon his death, said, “Bill loved this town and the people in it. He believed that our role as Greater Dubuque Development meant we have an obligation to make this community even greater. Let’s all aspire to make this community what Bill Skemp knew it could be.”

Bill Skemp is survived by his wife of 53 years, Patricia; two sons, Dan (Shelley) Skemp of North Liberty, Iowa and Steve(Kathy) Skemp of Asbury, Iowa; a daughter, Kathleen (Curt) Zimmermann of Meridianville, Alabama; a sister-in-law, Jo Ellen Leonard of Wilmington, NC; and seven grandchildren.