Former ad man, writer Bob Ylvisaker dies at 81

His career in journalism included work at Star-Tribune, Post-Bulletin


Cliff Buchan
Staff Writer

Quiet, dedicated, thorough. Those were words to describe Robert D. Ylvisaker.


For nearly 20 years Ylvisaker sold advertising and wrote news stories for the Forest Lake Times, often going about his business in a professional manner fitting of his past.

Ylvisaker, who retired from his duties in Forest Lake in 1996, died on Monday, Dec. 17 in Minneapolis. He was 81.

“He was a very serious person who was dedicated and thorough,” said Duane A. Rasmussen, the former publisher and editor of the Forest Lake Times who hired Ylvisaker in the late 1970s. Ylvisaker, a veteran newspaper reporter and editorial writer, was hired to work the newspaper’s commercial printing division where he directed the Many Faces community book division.

“We were growing the commercial printing and wanted to split that division off,” Rasmussen said. Ylvisaker joined the late Ed Dahlin, who started the Many Faces community guides in the mid-1970s. A version of the Many Faces book still exists today in this area.

In his role, Ylvisaker was responsible for the news and photo content and advertising support for the books which served as community guides.

During his period at the helm, Many Faces booklets were printed in Forest Lake, North Branch, the Chisago Lakes and Taylors Falls area, Stillwater, White Bear Lake, Anoka and Wayzata/Lake Minnetonka.

A reporter by trade, Ylvisaker used his skills to compose booklets that were well read and detailed, Rasmussen said. “I always felt the customers were loal to him,” Rasmussen said. “He was very loyal to the company.”

During his final years of work for the newspaper, Ylvisaker worked on Many Faces and handled reporting duties, covering the Wyoming City Council.

After retiring to Minneapolis, Ylvisaker kept his hands in journalism working as a staff writer for the Metro Lutheran newspaper.

Family Details

Robert D. Ylvisaker was born in Fergus Falls in 1931, the son of Doris (Stalland) and Ragnvald Ylvisaker. The family later moved to the Twin Cities and he attended the Sidney Pratt and Breck Schools. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Luther College and a M.A. in history from the University of Minnesota.

During his professional career, he  worked as a reporter and editorial writer for the Cedar Rapids Gazette in Iowa, the Rochester Post-Bulletin and the Minneapolis Star & Tribune.

A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m., Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 at Central Lutheran Church, 333 S. 12th St., Minneapolis. Inurnment will be at 9 a.m. at Roselawn Cemetery, St. Paul.

He is survived by two brothers, Richard (Joanne) Ylvisaker, Decorah, Iowa, and Thomas (Billie) Ylvisaker, Redmond, Wash.; other family members.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Memorials are preferred to the Central Lutheran Church Foundation.