Tag Archives: Ivar’s

The inimitable Adele

Wednesday morning at the Friends of Scouting breakfast the CEO of one of the state’s most successful businesses spoke to the crowd about his company’s values. At the top of the list Ivar’s restaurants adhere to: “Revere history.”

Ivar’s CEO Bob Donegan told about his company by first talking about the founder, Ivar Haglund. He painted a picture of a creative, eccentric restaurateur who treasured — and understood deeply — his company’s place in the community. The company pays heed to that now, and is better for it.
I’ve always seen our newspaper’s role as a curator of history for the community, so the value of reverence for history isn’t lost on me. Donegan’s message was especially timely because there’s a woman in Bremerton Sun lore who deserves the same nod, and we happen to have an occasion to do so.

You all know her name: Adele Ferguson. Now you may learn a little more about her story.

As you’ll see from an advertisement on page 9A of today’s edition, we’ve published a biography and oral history of the Sun’s groundbreaking political reporter and longtime columnist, titled “The Inimitable Adele Ferguson,” done in partnership with the Washington State Heritage Center.

I could go on for a while about Adele’s history here, but you’ll find that in the book. I could pitch how to buy it, but you’ll find that in the ad. (Copies will also go to local branches of Kitsap Regional Library.)

What I will tell you is some back story, and how we became involved with a project to salute a name as recognizable as any, save perhaps Julius Gius, in this newspaper’s history.

Two years ago Adele was one of three inductees into the state’s new Legacy Project, a program organized by the Heritage Center to recognize Washington’s pioneers in a variety of fields. Our reporter Steve Gardner covered the story at the time.

A year later, Bremerton resident Lillian Walker, a civil rights pioneer and co-founder of local chapters of the NAACP and YWCA, was added to the Legacy Project. In October, thanks to fundraising by the YWCA, a biography, drawn from interviews by John Hughes of the Heritage Center, was published. Again, Gardner wrote the story.

While covering a book signing for Walker, Gardner got to talking with Hughes. Remembering the enjoyable experience of interviewing Adele in 2009, he asked whether a biography was planned for her. Hughes handed him a business card, which Steve passed along to me.

Within weeks we had an agreement for the Sun to sponsor the publication. We offered some photos of a young Adele from our archives, Hughes polished the interviews he had done in 2009 into a manuscript, the Heritage Center tracked down more photos and designed a book and cover, and a publication date was set.

So today, we can share one of the most significant stories in our company’s history, right from Adele’s mouth. Her only regret, she told me Thursday night, was that all the funny stories didn’t get into the interview.

Something tells me she shares more in common with Donegan, who thumbed his nose at permits for barges or salmon windsocks, than I may have realized.

Fortunately, we do share a characteristic in common with the company Haglund founded (which is just three years younger than the Sun, by the way). Adele Ferguson’s storied career and role in this state’s journalism is a piece of history that’s worth remembering.