Friday, December 11, 2015

Another publisher joins retirement association

The sweet mailroom lady wearing antlers played "The Old Gray Mare" on her harmonica.
Last minute adjustments kept us from getting a free meal at Steve Messick's retirement celebration in Red Wing yesterday, but we didn't regret coming.
Friends, family and co-workers gathered for a mid-day luncheon and program that had to conclude in time for the pressmen to crank out the day's newspapers.
It's the kind of coordination that Messick got used to after managing newspaper deadlines and demands for 40 years.
When you retire as newspaper publisher, you don't
actually get your story on the front page. But you do
get a fake one presented at your luncheon.
Most of that time, Steve ran the Rivertowns newspaper group, comprised of papers surrounding the Hastings Star Gazette, Pierce County Herald and Red Wing Republican Eagle. When we arrived at the front door yesterday, employees were about to give testimonials lauding his years of supportive leadership, where nothing was beneath him, always ready to pitch in for successful outcomes. The group was clearly fond of their departing boss, no pretense about their affections.
For his part, Steve acknowledged this loyalty, many sticking with the operation for over 20 years. "Either this is a wonderful place to work," he quipped. "Or I just had low expectations."
We worked for many years with Steve, managing a parallel newspaper operation in the Twin Cities suburbs. In later years Steve also managed a printing plant and we negotiated our contracts and services with him, always with the greatest of integrity and professionalism. We're proud of our association with him and said so.
Our part yesterday was to deliver Steve's benefits package on behalf of the Association of Retired Publishers: A bottle of Jack Daniels.

If you want to know more, Hastings Star editor Chad Richardson wrote up Steve's life story, a well-done bit of journalism about his boss. Here it is:

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