SOUTH BEND — Veteran news writer for Today’s Catholic, Elmer J. Danch, died Dec. 26 at Dujarie House at Notre Dame. He was 99.
A South Bend native, born to Hungarian emigrants in South Bend, Danch had been a “stringer,” or freelance writer and photographer, for the diocesan newspaper since 1943 when Archbishop John F. Noll encouraged him to submit stories to the paper.
In a feature story from Today’s Catholic in 2005, Danch said he began writing sports for the South Bend News Times as a high school student. When the paper closed in 1938, he moved to the South Bend Tribune.
“I loved sports,” he explained in the 2005 interview, and at Riley High School he had received bronze, silver and gold medals for his prowess in basketball, baseball and tennis.
After graduation, he continued in journalism and stayed on at the Tribune until 1948 when he was offered a job at Studebaker where he was supervisor of publications. In the mid 1960s, he was offered a position as director of advertising and public relations at Da-Lite Screen Co., in Warsaw where he worked until his retirement in 1985.
“All during that time I continued writing for the (diocesan) paper,” Danch said in the 2005 feature story.
In September 1937, at St. Patrick Church in South Bend, he married Angela Hertel, a coworker at the News Times. They were married 65 years until her death in 2003. The couple had two sons, Michael and David, and a daughter, Mary Sparks, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The Danches were parishioners of St. Matthew Cathedral since 1950.
Danch was affiliated with the Knights of Columbus and photographed and wrote about their events. He also covered events for the Serra Club of South Bend, an organization of which he was a charter member. He held honorary lifetime memberships in both the Knights of Columbus and Serra Club.
Over the years, the diocesan newspaper’s name has changed from Our Sunday Visitor and The Harmonizer to Today’s Catholic; and Danch came to know Archbishop Noll, Bishop Leo A. Pursley, Bishop William E. McManus, Bishop John M. D’Arcy and most recently Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, as well as several Today’s Catholic newspaper editors.
Danch especially enjoyed writing about Inter-City Catholic League news. He was also one of the earliest officers of the ICCL.
Danch, who took classes at the University of Notre Dame, considered journalism “the most fascinating career to have,” he reported in 2005. “In all my professional life my greatest enjoyment came from being a reporter for the South Bend papers. I was thrilled at being a pretty good reporter.”
He was also pleased that his association with the diocesan newspaper had continued for so many years. “I’ve enjoyed it,” he said.
At press time, arrangements were pending.
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