Polk County Historical Society March 28th, 2006, Speaker



31 w. Evans Street, Rice Lake, WI 54868



Robert Heffner is a native of Barron County, born February 16, 1931, near Dallas, Wisconsin. He attended one-room country schools through the fifth grade after which, the family moved into Barron. Heffner graduated from the Baron High School in 1949 and had already been working in the newspaper business for three years (part time during the school year and full time in the summer) learning to be a printer and pressman


In 1951, Heffner enlisted in the navy and made two tours to the Far East with a seaplane patrol squadron at the close of and just after the Korean Conflict.He returned to Barron in 1955 and completed training as a journeyman printer-pressman, then moved into the news department in 1957.


Heffner joined the news staff at The Chronotype in Rice Lake in 1960, as a reporter with responsibilities for the sports pages. Later he became City Editor and for seven years was Managing Editor. His last five years in the newspaper business was spent as assistant to the publisher, responsible for the Early Bird, special sections and covering city government.


Following his retirement in 1993, Heffner authored three books, Life is a Learin’, a book of poetry, Cleared for Landing, a history of aviation in Barron County, and in 2000 Heffner and The Chronotype collaborated in publishing an updated history of Rice Lake and surrounding area, called Rice Lake, Gem of the Red Cedar Valley.


After retirement Heffner continued to be active in the Rice Lake area, serving on the Rice Lake Planning Commission for six years and four years on the Rice Lake City Council. Heffner is presently chairman of a Chamber of Commerce Committee called the Community Enhancement Committee; president of the Rice Lake Trails Foundation which solicits funds for expanding the city’s pedestrian and biking trails; a member of and past president of the Kiwanis club and currently adjutant of the Rice Lake AMVETS Post.