2008 award recipients
announced June 20, 2008 at 129th Summer Convention in Arlington
Barbara Craig Kelly
Barbara Craig Kelly began her newspaper career in 1958 as a stringer for the Abilene Reporter-News and continues to serve today as the historian for the West Texas Press Association (WTPA). She spent 21 years of her newspaper career alongside her late husband Bob Craig at the Hamlin Herald.
Born in Shackelford County, she graduated from Albany High School in 1946. She earned an associate degree from Weatherford Junior College in 1948. She married Bob Craig in Albany in 1950. At that time, Bob, 19, was night foreman of the composing room of the Abilene Reporter-News.
While the couple lived in Stamford, Kelly began stringing for the Abilene Reporter-News. The Craigs purchased an interest in the Hamlin Herald, along with his father, Roy Craig, publisher of the Stamford American, and moved there in 1960. At the Herald, Kelly served as society editor, front office manager and bookkeeper. She was active in many civic affairs including volunteering at the local rest home along with raising the Craig’s three children.
In the late 1960’s, Bob was elected secretary-treasurer of WTPA. It was often said that WTPA got a two-for-one deal with the couple working together behind the scenes and at the association conventions. Kelly once said that the couple took the office at WTPA to help put their children through college.
Many of the accounting practices she used at the Herald and for WTPA were based on her experience at her first job in the office of F. W Woolworth Co.
Following the death of her husband in 1981, she took on even more responsibilities at the Herald and was named secretary-treasurer of WTPA.
She married Dewane (D.W.) Kelly in 1984 and moved to Abilene. She continued to keep books for the Herald and continued her active role in WTPA. At the July 2005, WTPA convention Kelly stepped down as secretary-treasurer and was named historian of the association. In recognizing her 25 years of service to the association as secretary-treasurer (not including the time served with her late husband), WTPA president Roy Robinson addressed the crowd. He noted that Kelly has been “the keeper of the keys to the heart and soul of the West Texas Press Association for more than 25 years.”
“She has trained more officers and directors than most of us in the room can remember,” Robinson added, “and has made a generation of presidents look good.”
Kelly was awarded the Harold Hudson Memorial Award, WTPA’s highest honor, in 1997, and the Dewane Kelly Award, named for her late second husband, who was always one step ahead of the needs of the organization, in 2002.
She missed her first WTPA convention in 47 years last year when she was on an Alaskan cruise with her daughter, Beth Speak. She plans on restarting her perfect attendance record this summer when WTPA meets in Fredericksburg.
Kelly remains active today with swim aerobics, MacUser Group, Abilene chapter of Hearing Loss of America Association (HLAA), Garden Club, and volunteering in many roles at her church, Presbyterian Medical Care Mission, and helping her many friends with computer problems.
Kelly has three children, Beth Speak of Minnetonka, Minn.; Dr. Darrell Craig of Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Rick Craig of Granbury. She is the proud grandmother of three.
Roy McQueen’s dad may be responsible for getting him in the newspaper business. His father, a derrick hand on a pulling unit, objected to McQueen getting a summer job in the oilfields, so McQueen started looking around town.
In 1958, between his seventh- and eighth-grade years, McQueen walked into the Andrews County News “hoping to make $5 a week for spending money.”
He was told they needed someone to shag Little League and Pony League books and write up the games. They offered to pay him 10 cents an inch and McQueen figured he would own the Andrews County News by summer’s end. But tight editing and a short ruler used by the bookkeeper kept that from happening.
After school started he began to write sports, chase wrecks and fire trucks and also pitched in to get the paper out, often setting headlines by hand. Often it was an all-night affair and James Roberts knew nothing about child labor laws.
The news editor resigned and James Roberts said “we would handle it until we found someone.” That never happened and during high school McQueen covered school board, city council, police beat, etc. — all under the watchful eye of James Roberts.
McQueen attended his freshman year at North Texas State University, but soon ran out of money and came home to work at the Andrews County News and attend Odessa College his sophomore year.
McQueen then went off to Texas Tech, working for Speedy Nieman at the Slaton Slatonite. Larry Crabtree, a high school classmate, was a competitor at the radio station in Slaton. Another AHS classmate, Jerry Tidwell, is publisher of the Hood County News.
McQueen then got on at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, working nights in the sports department. He also was managing editor of the University Daily at Tech and then taught a reporting and editing lab for beginning journalism students.
He married Bettie Harmon in 1966 while attending Tech and they both graduated in 1968. James Roberts was starting his publishing company and had acquired Lamesa, Brown field and Seminole.
McQueen was named publisher of the weekly Seminole Sentinel in May of 1968, but that tenure was cut short by a draft notice that arrived on his wedding anniversary on Aug. 20.
After basic training at Fort Bliss, McQueen was assigned to the public information office. When the civilian editor was promoted out of state, the private first class was named editor of the Fort Bliss Monitor. Larry Crabtree soon joined that office.
With nine months duty remaining, McQueen was sent to Sehweinfurt, Germany where he again was assigned to the public information office. The McQuecn’s only son, Marc, was born in Germany.
After returning to West Texas, James Roberts asked if McQueen wanted to return to Seminole or move to Granbury where Roberts had purchased the Hood County News. Being a West Texan and seeing little future in the sleepy town of Granbury, McQueen chose Seminole where he remained publisher until 1976 when Roberts and Associates purchased the Snyder Daily News.
McQueen has been president of the corporation and publisher of the six-day daily since Oct 1, 1976. In addition, he has been active in the community serving as president of the Economic Development Committee, Industrial Foundation and Development Corporation of Snyder. He also served on the Cogdell Hospital board and the Snyder school board.
McQueen also serves on the board of directors of the Vernon Daily Record, Andrews County News, Brownfield News, Seminole Sentinel, Azle News. Hereford Brand, Burkburnett Informer-Star, North Plains Printing and South Plains Printing.
His wife, Bettie, is retired vice president of Western Texas College in Snyder. Son, Marc, is a graduate of Texas A&M University and earned a master ‘s degree in marriage and family therapy from Abilene Christian University. He currently is clinical director for the Center for Children and Families in Midland. Marc and wife, Leah, have given the McQueens two nifty grandsons, Nate and Graden, referred to as Nater and Tater by their granddad.
McQueen is a past president of the West Texas Press Association and Texas Press Association (1989-90) and is a past board member of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association. He was named a Distinguished Mass Communications graduate of Texas Tech in 1993.
McQueen may actually have more than 50 years in the business if you count selling the Andrews County News on the streets for 10 cents each Friday. He started out with 20 customers, making $1 a week and bought his first baseball glove on time, recalling that was a long six weeks. He later had delivery routes for the Odessa American and the San Angelo Standard Times while in junior high and high school.