The newspaper career of Robert Blosser, who died Thursday, was marked by transition.
He not only recorded history - as both a journalist and a combat photographer during World War II - he was a witness to historic changes in the newspaper and television industries.
The arc of his career spanned from the dangerous days of "hot metal" printing, to offset printing and, eventually, digital technology.
Blosser retired as president of the News Tribune Co. in 1984 and continued to serve on its board of directors until 2008, when the company was purchased by WEHCO Media Inc.
His career in newspapers began in 1932, when he was hired at age 18 as a "printer's devil" for the News Tribune.
"No one knows what that was," he said during a 2008 interview. "The printer's devil was a guy who did jobs no one else wanted to do or would do."
Blosser's association with the News Tribune was interrupted during World War II, when he served nearly three years with the U.S. Army as a combat photographer.
He returned to the newspaper in 1945, after the war ended, and eventually was elevated to company president. He oversaw the acquisition of the News Tribune's first offset press in 1972 and was involved, as a board member, with construction of a separate printing facility on Jefferson City's East Side.
In 1976, Blosser served as president of the Missouri Press Association and, in 2008, he was inducted into the association's Hall of Fame.
"Bob was a steady-handed, focused newspaperman; a keen businessman who served the press association as its president in 1976, during our nation's Bicentennial year," said Doug Crews, MPA executive director. "Early in his career, he was an excellent news photographer, too. His photos as a military photographer documented several critical moments of World War II combat, and he was on the scene for the News Tribune to make photos of the Missouri state prison riot in the mid-1950s.
"He was respected by his newspaper colleagues throughout Missouri. Our Missouri Press newspaper family sends sincere condolences to Marge Blosser and the Blosser family."
Blosser's connection to the journalism industry wasn't confined to newspapers. He also served as president of KRCG-TV when it was founded by Betty Weldon, who followed her father, Robert C. Goshorn, as News Tribune owner.