Vacancy at the office

Published 1:32pm Friday, August 23, 2013

Something’s missing in the Daily Leader office today, as I write this. Something important. There’s not a lack of noise or ringing phones. Newsroom staff is still clicking away at keyboards hurriedly to meet deadline. Pressmen are waiting to burn the plates and run the press. Inserters are still preparing to stuff inky papers, hot off the machine. But that big, red Dodge is not in its parking spot. Its tall, dark-bearded driver is not in his seat, rushing to get all the local sports stats in. There’s something missing.

Yesterday (Wednesday, Aug. 21), my Paw Paw, Tom Goetz, worked his last day at the Daily Leader. Today, a vital part of the Daily Leader for 42 years is missing. I’m going to miss going to lunch with him. He looked out for me here at work. The other day, he put a Yoo-Hoo in the fridge for me. He’s given me story ideas and encouragement.

I remember as a little girl, I would come to the Daily Leader office after hours with Paw Paw. He worked hard. I loved to go with him because he let me draw, and the office had a certain ambience, with the brick walls and distinct smell of ink. I thought he was a celebrity. When in town, people would come up to him and say, “You do the sports at the Daily Leader, right?” I was so proud of my Paw Paw.

We used to arm wrestle. My arm was about as big as one of those poles he and MoMo used for tomatoes to cling to, and his was strong and muscular. I would win every time. I thought I was the strongest little girl in the world.

He’s big and strong, but my Paw Paw is a quiet, humble man. He loves his family and the Lord.

“Tom Goetz is the real deal,” said my Daddy, Garland Boyd, at Paw Paw’s retirement reception. And he is. A strong, Christian man, Paw Paw was a light at the paper.

Paw Paw covered 14 area schools. That in itself deserves praise. He worked hard to give each school coverage for each sport, for countless games. I wonder how many games he’s covered? When he became the sole sportsman at the Daily Leader several months ago, he still worked to do the same. He genuinely cares about the students. The world needs more people like my Paw Paw.

He and MoMo recently bought Kallie and me a portable sound system for our singing duo. Kallie and I never became mega-athletes, but Paw Paw is one of our biggest supporters in our music. Kallie and I compose Clementine, a country/bluegrass duo. Paw Paw and MoMo have come to nearly every performance.

His dedication at the Daily Leader, to sports and to students, will be sorely missed. His successor is Marty Albright, once his trainee. The area will miss a great sports editor/writer and I will miss my Paw Paw at the office.

Lifestyles Editor Jessica Boyd can be reached at The Daily Leader at 601-833-6961 ext. 134, by email at or you can write to her at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.