Remembering Estelle M. "Bill" Belanger


Bill Belanger was a reporter and editor for Huntington’s
newspapers for more than 50 years

File Photo | The Herald-Dispatch


 HUNTINGTON — Estelle M. Belanger (1914-2000) — better known
as “Bill” to her friends and readers alike — frequently noted that
 she had gone into newspaper work at a time when “women
 were supposed to know their place.”

But as a reporter and editor for Huntington’s newspapers for more than
50 years, she refused to be relegated to typical women’s assignments.
 She proved she could do just about any newspaper job, whether it
 was editing copy under deadline pressure or writing a first-person
account of what it was like to climb into a jet fighter and fly
 with the Navy’s Blue Angels, which she did in 1963.

A Huntington native and graduate of St. Joseph Catholic High School,
 she earned a bachelor’s degree at Marshall College (now University)
 in 1935 and a master’s degree at Marshall in 1971. First hired as
assistant Sunday editor in 1942, she held a series of posts over
the years. She retired as fine arts editor for The Herald-
Dispatch in 1977 but continued to write columns and
 features until shortly before her death at age 85.

In an interview on her retirement, Belanger said she never
wanted to be anything other than a newspaperwoman.

“I wanted to chase fire wagons right from the start,” she said. “
And during the years between the time I graduated from
Marshall and the time I got a job on the Sunday paper,
 I’d lay awake at night because I wanted to write.”

The coming of World War II sent lots of male reporters
 and editors off to war and, like it or not, the newspaper
 had to hire women. That was her big chance —
one she made the most of.

Many people thought she adopted “Bill Belanger” as
her byline to disguise the fact she was a woman.
Instead, it was nickname her parents gave her
because they had wanted a boy.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Sep. 13, 2022..


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