2018 Golden 50 Award honoree
announced June 22, 2018 at the final TPA Leadership Retreat held at the LaTorretta Convention Center and Resort in Montgomery.
A native of Tennessee and an honor graduate at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, the former Ann Badolati covered everything from crime and federal courts to business during her time as a reporter at the Waco Tribune-Herald.
She later became advertising director and community relations and marketing director, where her infectious smile and energy proved invaluable in promoting the newspaper and community she loved, according to her co-workers. She worked for the Tribune-Herald for more than 50 years.
Roznovsky credited her grandmother for teaching her to spell, display perfect manners and appreciate music. Growing up she dreamed of becoming a classical pianist, but her internship at the Tribune-Herald fueled her passion for the newspaper business.
She met her future husband, Al Roznovsky, a Waco police officer and later Waco’s police chief, while visiting the scene of an automobile accident. Thanks to that accidental meeting, Ann and Al married on May 21, 1960, and celebrated 57 years of marriage.
Roznovsky served on the board of 24 nonprofit organizations throughout her career. In early 2000, she started a museum at the Tribune-Herald, “Through Our Pages,” highlighting the paper’s history and noteworthy events it has chronicled. Later, during the ownership of hometown businessmen Clifton and Gordon Robinson, the attraction greatly expanded. Visitors would often parade through the Tribune-Herald newsroom, led by Roznovsky, bound for the museum.
She co-founded Storybook Christmas, a literacy project that focused on providing new books during the holidays to underprivileged children in McLennan County. During her years at the helm, more than 434,000 books found their way into the hands of youngsters.
Dave Campbell, longtime Tribune-Herald sports editor and founder of Texas Football magazine, said Roznovsky “never missed a beat” upon joining the Tribune-Herald full-time after her graduation from Texas Woman’s University in 1958. She had worked at the newspaper as an intern during the summer of her junior year, impressing longtime editor Harry Provence and then-owner Harlon Fentress.
“She was very talented and always on the run,” Campbell said. “I thought she did a great job for the Tribune-Herald, starting off in what we used to call the society section and then moving into marketing. Eventually, she got tired and retired, but she kept coming back.”
Tribune-Herald publishers Dan Savage, Michael Vivio and Belinda Gaudet continued to tap into Roznovsky’s wealth of expertise and community contacts, pulling her back to the Trib for work on projects, including locating and securing more memorabilia to place in the expanding museum.
She was chosen a “Community Hero” in 1996, when she carried the Olympic torch through the streets of Waco leading up to the Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Georgia. That same year, city leaders proclaimed “Ann Roznovsky Day” in Waco, a fete repeated in 2008, when Roznovsky celebrated her 50 years as the “Face of the Trib,” so dubbed by Savage.
On the civic front, Roznovsky directed the Great Texas River Run for 20 years, and the Summer Sounds, now River Sounds, event for a decade. She also served on the organizing committee for Leadership Waco, was the community adviser for the Junior League of Waco for three years, and was chairwoman of the board of the local Better Business Bureau for a time.
“Ann was probably the most gracious, active, energetic, youthful person I think I’ve ever known,” said Harry Harelik, who worked closely with Roznovsky as executive director of the McLennan Community College Foundation. “She was involved in Keep Waco Beautiful, the zoo, the Salvation Army, and was a big supporter of the Waco Symphony.”
Harelik said he marveled at Roznovsky’s work ethic even as she endured her first bout with cancer. “She stayed positive, supportive of everybody else,” he said. “She was absolutely one of the most incredible individuals I have ever known. This community has lost a great one.”
“I could talk about her accomplishments at the paper and in Waco for days, but her greatest assets were her smarts, personality, enthusiasm, boundless energy and her willingness to go above and beyond in every aspect of business and life,” Savage said in a statement released after her death. “She was the most giving person I have ever known.”
Roznovsky died Dec. 16, 2017, after a valiant battle with cancer. She was 81.