Dad lived dream in place he loved

Published 6:01 pm Monday, March 1, 2010

My family has been humbled in recent days. The outpouring ofcomfort and support has been overwhelming. The condolences, thecomments, the words of praise about a man who dedicated his life tohis adopted community and state have been much appreciated andbrought much comfort during this most difficult time.

In his introductory editorial in 1958, Dad wrote of his and mymother’s decision to come to Brookhaven and their immediate like ofthe community and Mississippi.

“… It is our plan to live the rest of our lives here inBrookhaven, and we hope that in time you will come to like us aswell as we like you,” he wrote.

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It has been very obvious to us that you did “come to likeus.”

Each of us, Mom, Randy and his wife Fontaine, Don, Amy and myselfsay thank you, thank you so very much for allowing Dad’s dream tocome true.

We laid him to rest Saturday afternoon, in Rosehill Cemetery in anarea named by the late Henry Ware Hobbs Jr. as Editor’s Row. Thefounder of the Leader, B.T. Hobbs is there, as is his wife Lena andMiss Mary – all former editors of the Leader. Next-door is W.H.Bowen, who edited the Lincoln County Times that eventually mergedwith the Leader.

Saturday morning former longtime city editor for the Leader, SisBrennan shared with me how many, many years ago, Dad came into theLeader office one afternoon with a grin on his face. Quizzing him,Sis said, “What are you up to, Chuck?” And with his famous grinsaid, “I got a plot on Editor’s Row!” Not an easy task as thecemetery had been full for years.

He had worked out a deal to purchase a plotted area from anotherfamily. Dad then horse-traded with Dave Pace at Brookhaven Monumentfor a memorial stone in exchange for some advertising space in TheDaily Leader! It was a continual debate on who got the betterdeal!

Friday afternoon we knew Dad was smiling down on us, for two of theworst fears of a newspaper publisher occurred – a press breakdownand a typo!

Publishing a daily newspaper is a never-ending deadline -everything must work like clockwork in order to get a paper to ourreaders’ doorsteps on time each day. While press breakdowns arerare these days, they do happen, usually at the most inappropriatetime.

Yes, Friday at noon we had a press problem. A major one!

Friday night Dad was laughing! Reading his obituary after thefuneral home visitation, my brother Don walked up to me with atwinkle in his eye. “You know Dad’s birthday is wrong here.”

Ashen, I grabbed the paper out of his hands, for I had checked anddouble-checked it that morning. The month was correct but the daywas my youngest daughter Meredith’s birth date! We all had awell-needed laugh.

So, to set the record straight, Dad was born on Dec. 10,1918!

Historically in the old days of newspapering, in the days ofhot-type before computers, stories were punched out on typewritersand then sent to the linotype operators who set the type. For thepurpose of speed, it was the custom that as a reporter finished aparagraph, the paragraph would be sent to the linotype operator.The end of every story was coded with the characters em dash 30 emdash, or -30-, for the typesetter to know the story wascomplete.

The last few days have been a time of much reflection andcelebration of a long and fully lived life. Dad gave his all to thecommunity and state he loved and adopted. So it is with greatsorrow, but also with great celebration, that I have the honor ofcompleting my father’s story.

Thank you, Dad, for the guiding hand, the memories and thefootsteps for me to follow.