In the 1950s, Bob Bertsch (Class of 1953) was a two-sport Loras standout in football and baseball and went on to even greater acclaim as a lawyer and Dubuque community leader. As a quarterback, he led the Duhawks to an outstanding season in 1952, and in baseball was a three-year starter who played on Loras' 1952 divisional Iowa Conference championship team.
When Bertsch completed his career at Loras Academy, like many Gubs he ``moved up the hill'' to Loras College. In his sophomore year he became the backup to Hall of Famer Jack Rohan at quarterback. He was set to take over as the No. 1 quarterback in 1951, but instead was a student coach after he fractured left arm 10 days before the season opener. Aided by the legendary Doc Kammer, Bertsch used handball as therapy and proved his doctor wrong who said his football days were over. Instead, in 1952 he led Loras to an 8-1 mark and became the school's first 1,000-yard performer (1,003 total, 805 yard passing on 52 completions out of 118 attempts and 198 yards running).Bertsch tells how Kammer and other Lorasmen (see Msgr. Friedl's book `Doc Kammer Lives') for Bertsch's recollection of his career-changing recovery. His
multi talents as a passer, runner and scrambler gave the high-scoring Hilltoppers (a nickname used in the 1950s) a great boost as they finished second to St. Norbert's in the Midlands Conference, set a then school scoring record and crushed arch-rival St. Ambrose 34-6. Nationally, Bertsch was 21st in the nation in passing among NAIA colleges, and 32rd in total offense.
On the baseball field, Bertsch snared the starting center field spot as a sophomore and was a three-year regular. Batting records are incomplete but a teammate recalls Bertsch as a .300 hitter all three seasons. Records do show him as a .323 hitter on the 1952 team that won the Iowa Conference North title with a 7-0 record.
A cum laude graduate in economics, Bertsch received his law degree in 1956 from Georgetown University and was a staff legal officer in the U.S. Marines. Following his discharge, he began a distinguished law career in Dubuque, retiring in 1996. His local community and professional involvement was widespread - including general counsel to Loras (1964-96). He was 50-year member of the American Bar Association and numerous social and profession associations. Bertsch died in July 2009 and is survived by his wife Carol, three children (Jane, Joseph, and Robert) and eight grandchildren.