It was a good day for Winters when Newt Wallace walked into town to buy the Winters Express in 1946. It was a sad Easter Sunday when he passed away, a couple months shy of his 99th birthday. At the end, he talked about having a good life, but it was time to go and he went his way, quietly at home.
He was known to like Olympia beer and cheap Scotch, which he claimed led to his long life. It wasn’t his diet of tapioca pudding and Wheaties, either. He didn’t like to travel and when my mother would leave town for a week or so, she would bake him a ham, make sure he had milk and Wheaties, and off she would go. The Buckhorn would see him most Wednesday evenings, and he could always get coffee at Johnny’s Club on the corner.
Pop showed up to work every day for over 70 years. After I came back to help with the Express in 1977, I would joke that he was at work when I got here and here when I left. With technology, the hours declined over the years, but he continued to show up, putting together Page 2 and taking out the trash, making sure to recycle everything that he could. Even up to a month ago he would come to the office for an hour or two, read his mail, a couple of newspapers and collect material for Page 2. About a month ago, he said he wasn’t feeling well, called it quits and went home for good.
Not everyone gets to work with their father, and I was privileged to have been his partner for all these years. He was a true journalist, where I’m just a printer. He didn’t like the production part of the paper, while that is where I’m most comfortable. The only reason I wrote this column, or covered an occasional story, is because he asked me. He enjoyed writing and helping Winters wherever and whenever he could. He was outspoken when he thought something wasn’t right or fair, but quiet when all was going well.
When we were running past our deadline, and he worried about missing our press time, he would remind everyone, “we aren’t building wristwatches.” Looking at old issues of the Express, you can tell when we had more time, the headlines were straight, and the pages look balanced. When we were out of time, you can see where everything is thrown together like moving boxes in a pickup. But the paper always came out. It has been that way for 134 years, week after week, month after month, decade after decade.
Louie Campos told me that he was working at the service station on the corner of Railroad and Abbey when my father walked by, looking for the Express office. There aren’t many people who remember the Express with a publisher that wasn’t a Wallace. Even if you were around in 1947, you were probably still in school, and I’m not sure how many kids read newspapers, outside of the sports pages. I don’t think they were reading Here, There and Everywhere, by J. Newton Wallace. Yes, his first name was James.
He had a good life, a life well lived. He will be missed.
Continue to read the Express and have a good life.