Golden 50 — 1996

1996 Recipients

117th Summer Convention, Friday, June 21, 1996, Tremont House, Galveston

Richard E. "Dick" Dwelle, Athens Daily Review
Paul I. Griffith Jr., Cleburne Times-Review
Vernon Greer, Clay County Leader
Earl Gwinn, Baylor County Banner
Emmett H. Whitehead, Rusk Cherokeean/Herald

Richard E. "Dick" Dwelle

Richard E. "Dick" Dwelle's 50 years in the newspaper business began in 1946, a month after he was discharged from the U.S. Army.

A community leader and active Presbyterian, Dwelle has always been "the guy everybody comes to when there is a job to be done. Then, without waiting, he turns to the next task," it was written of him in 1979 in The Southlander, a publication of St. Regis Paper Company.

In June 1946, Dwelle moved his wife, Peggy, and daughter, Donna, to Kermit, where he was named c publisher of the Winkler County News. It was there he began his long, successful career.

In January 1949, he moved the family to Athens, having purchased the Athens Daily Review from his father-in-law, Meyer M. Donosky Mr. Donosky previously had served as treasurer and member of the board of director of the A.H. Belo Corp., publisher of the Dallas Morning News, and was instrumental in the establishment of Southland Paper Mills.

Dwelle published the Daily Review from 1949 to 1986, and was joined as co-publisher by his son, Dan, during that span.

He sold the Daily Review to Donrey Media Group in 1986, but went on to serve as a consultant to Donrey from 1986 to 1994. Since 1994, Dwelle has been an editorial writer for the Daily Review.

A few of his many accomplishments include the bachelor of arts degree he earned in 1943 from Rice University; his being named All-Southwest Conference tailback in 1942; his World War II military service with the 83rd and 42nd Infantry Divisions in Europe, in which he attained the rank of captain; and his being named Athens Citizen of the Year in 1971.

Dwelle, a past president of the North and East Texas Press Association, formerly served as a board member of TDNA and TPA. He is a former member of the board of the Athens Literacy Group, and is a past district chairman of the Boy Scouts of America.

He has co-owned many newspapers, in addition to the Daily Review, including: the Marlin Daily Democrat and Marlin Weekly Democrat, 1960-81; Winkler County News, Wink Bulletin, Jal (N.M.) Record and Eunice (N.M.) Press, through 1987; and the Athens Weekly Review, Malakoff News and Cedar Creek Pilot, through 1986.

In addition to their son, Dan, current publisher of the Daily Review and division manager of Donrey Media Group, the Dwelles have a daughter, Donna Dwelle-Marchum of Houston.

In 1980, Dwelle was presented Texas Daily Newspaper Association's Pat Thggart Texas Newspaper Leader of the Year Award.

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Paul I. Griffith Jr.

Paul I. Griffith Jr. was in the newspaper business at the Cleburne Times-Review for more than 50 years until his retirement this year, climbing from sales manager to publisher.

At an early age, Griffith showed a talent for music and graduated from the Harris School of Music, playing trumpet in his high school band. He played trumpet for four years while attending Southern Methodist University.

He met Margaret Spruce at SMU and they married in 1941. After war was declared on Japan, he entered military service spending one year in Guadacanal, where the first South Pacific battle was fought. He wound up in a military hospital in Longview, Texas with jungle rot.

After the war, Griffith came back to Dallas without a job. His uncle, William Rawland, owner of the Times-Review, asked him to come to work for him.

Griffith was hired as advertising manager in 1945. He recalls selling advertising for 35-cents a column inch. He also got to write a weekly hunting and fishing column.

The Times-Review was sold by Rawland in 1976 to the Donrey Media Group, which owns 53 newspapers across the United States.

Rawland, though no longer the owner of the paper, still comes to the office each day as he has for the past 62 years. He says Griffith was an excellent advertising manager. "He was strong on public relations and a very good newspaperman. I was pleased when he was promoted to publisher."

Bill Rice, current general manager of the Tunes-Review, sees Paul Griffith Jr. as his mentor. "I learned a great deal from this man," he said. "Whatever I might say about him could never be enough."

 Once an avid golfer, Griffith's favorite assignment was covering the Colonial Invitational Golf Tournament in Fort Worth, which he covered for 49 years. "I've had four heart surgeries since July, but I still wish I could cover the Colonial this year," he said.

Married for 55 years, the Griffiths have three children: Paul I. Griffith III, of Whitney; Peggy Griffith Rawls, of near San Francisco; and Spruce Griffith of Cleburne. They have six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

"Before I started work here at the newspaper, I had an interview with the Dallas Morning News. They told me to work awhile at a smaller paper and then come back and see them. I never did. This is what I wanted. I stayed for 50 years," Griffin concluded.

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Vernon Greer

Vernon Greer has not only been in the newspaper business for 50 years, he's been at the same newspaper  -- The Clay County Leader. Greer was born in 1932, the same year the Leader began publication.

Soon after his family moved from Fort Worth to Henrietta in the summer of 1945, Greer, then 12, showed up at the Leader office where he began hanging around and cleaning up. Soon he was running errands for D.H. "Uncle Dave" Germany, who was running the paper for the owner, T.B. O'Bryan Sr., who was ill and died soon after.

Greer wasn't on the payroll at first, but when he was sent to pick up sandwiches, they included one for him.

He eventually graduated to putting the hand-set type back in its cases, and was paid $4.50 a week, working after school.

Tom O'Bryan Jr., who worked in the production department of the Wichita Falls Times and Record News, helped his mother run the paper until it could be sold to Jerry Sitton in 1946.

In 1948, the Leader was sold to Jack Wettengal and Ross Strader. Wettengal subsequently bought out Strader in 1950. The rival Henrietta Independent, which had been purchased by the Leader in 1945, was published simultaneously for a period, and finally consolidated into one newspaper during Greer's tenure. That was where he first learned to run a Linotype while helping to put out the Independent, which was an eight-page paper with four pages preprinted. Wettengal ceased publishing the Independent soon after acquiring the papers.

Greer served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955, during which time the Leader moved from the east side of the courthouse square to its present home on the north side.

It was also during the mid-1950s that the Leader acquired a Heidelberg press that Greer still operates today.

Greer got another new boss in 1961 when Bill and JoAnn Glassford of Morton made Wettengal an offer he couldn't refuse.

By then Greer was proficient on the Linotype machines that set the hot type for the Leader, and running the Babcock letter press and folder in the back shop.

The Leader switched to cold type, shutting down the Babcock in 1975 and taking the pages to Wichita Falls 20 miles away for printing on an offset press.

Like most small papers, the Leader went through the photo typesetting days, then switched to desk top computer publishing in 1987. Greer kept abreast of the changes every step of the way.

He began another longtime association in 1980 when Lewis Simmons s hired as editor, and Glassford scaled back his role in the paper, retaining the publisher's title.

Glassford sold the paper to Phil and Lesa Major in 1995. Glassford retired after 49 years in the newspaper business.

Greer was honored with a reception in September 1995 for his 50 years' service to the Leader. Along with the Glassfords, Jack and Wynona Wettengal and ibm O'Bryan Jr. attended.

 Today Greer still sets the ads and job work on a Macintosh, but you'll occasionally find him setting a hot type job on the Linotype, still in perfect working order. He prints job work on the Heidelberg, also utilizing the Leader's extensive collection of hand-set type, and farms out other offset jobs. He still handles page paste-up, a much simpler task since the Leader went to pagination and photo scanning earlier this year.

Greer is in charge of the weekly mailing on Wednesday, and is Mr. Find and Mr. Fix It around the office.

He is also a devoted husband, making the thrice daily trip to feed his wife, Frankie, at a local nursing home. That's why he can't be here today to accept this honor.

Frankie, whom Greer married 13 years ago, is a former Linotype operator at the Leader, where she worked for 20 years beginning in the mid-1950s.

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Earl Gwinn

On April 1, 1946, Earl Gwinn went to work at the Baylor County Banner in Seymour and has been with the Banner Publishing Company ever since.

He was born in Seymour in 1922, but was raised in Phoenix, Ariz., where he received his first newspaper experience as a carrier for the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette.

Following graduation from school, he entered the U.S. Navy in February 1943, served in the South Pacific, and was honorably discharged in February 1946. Hope for a career in the newspaper business came while Gwinn was in the Navy. His brother, Kloyce, and his friend, Doyce Mouse, co-owned and operated the Firestone store in Seymour.

"Kloyce kept writing me to come back to Seymour, as I could go to work at the Banner Publishing Company. Hankering to see where I was born, I returned to Seymour and went to work at the newspaper," Gwinn said.

When Gwinn joined the newspaper, 0. C. Harrison and Gene Carter were co-owners with Harrison serving as editor. After a few years, Harrison bought out Carter's 49.5 percent of the stock in the company and sold Carter's shares to Gwinn and Bill Unsell.

Harrison died in 1967 and Unsell and Gwinn purchased Harrison's interest and Gwinn became editor. In 1979, Unsell died. Gwinn purchased his stock and became sole owner of the company.

He's been a strong supporter of his community for decades. He is proud of his 36 years of perfect attendance at his Lions Club. He is a past president of the Seymour Chamber of Commerce, and in 1986, the chamber named him outstanding citizen of the year. Last July, he put out a special edition celebrating The Banner's 100th birthday. Gwinn said he is looking forward to the 100th Annual Old Settlers Reunion and Rodeo, July 11-13, in Seymour.

Today, Gwinn continues to work hard in the newspaper business, as he has for 50 years, even though hampered with arthritis that's made him live with artificial hips and an artificial knee.

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Ed Haby

Ed Haby, manager of Hornby Press, celebrated his 50th year in the newspaper business in March. The presses he knows so well are in the back of the Uwlde Leader-News building.

After he served four years in the U.S. Army, Haby came home to Uvalde in 1946. He learned commercial printing at Hornby press, under the G.I. Bill. Haby's brother, James, was the printer. At the time, H.P. Hornby Sr. was in the process of turning over the newspaper and printing company to his son and daughter-in-law, Harry and Kathryn Hornby.

In 1955, Haby learned to use a camera and took on added duties as a photographer and darkroom worker for the Leader-News. He has taken many memorable photos over the years, including one of Ronald Reagan, when he spoke to the Uvalde Chamber of Commerce before he was elected president. He also shot 8mm movies of John Nance Garner's 90th birthday celebration and of the former vice president's funeral.

In 1957, Hornby press purchased a new offset press; it was the only new machine Haby has had to learn to operate.

Haby has taught the printing trade to many apprentices, instructing them on how to run offset presses and bind books. And though the Haby brothers only worked with the commercial printing done by Hornby Press, they usually were on hand on press night at the Leader-News. Ed Haby sometimes helped with folding newspapers and preparing them for delivery. For many years, he delivered newspapers around Uvalde, beginning at 5 a.m. and getting through in time to get to work at Hornby Press at 8 a.m.

Today, Haby is the manager and only employee of Hornby Press and his services are indispensable, says Leader-News publisher Craig Garnett. "In recent years, Ed's talked more about retiring altogether, but we simply refuse to let him go. In addition to being a talented printer, he is a delightful man in all regards. He's hardworking, dependable and the epitome of integrity."

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Emmett H. Whitehead

In November 1945, Emmett Whitehead returned from military service and stepped into the shoes of his father, Emmett H. Whitehead Sr., who had died the February before, as publisher of the Polk County Enterprise in Livingston.

Whitehead, working with his mother, Tommie Lee Whitehead, and sister, Alice Elizabeth Whitehead, assembled the newspaper and used a hot-type press in the basement of the Polk County court house, just as its previous owner, L.R. Wade had done. The Whiteheads supplemented their income with a commercial printing business and went on to purchase the Corrigan Tunes.

In 1948, Whitehead married Marie Hall of Huntsville, and the young couple moved to Rusk when they purchased "Texas' oldest continuously operated weekly," The Rusk Cherokeean, in June 1950. Whitehead, then 24, enjoyed the distinction of being "the youngest publisher of the state's oldest weekly."

In 1952, he purchased The Citizen, a Cushing weekly that he merged with The Cherokeean after publishing it for two years. In 1955, he acquired a radio station serving the Rusk area. He sold the Polk County Enterprise before purchasing the Jacksonville Journal in February 1959 and invested in a web press, replacing the Babcock with a Duplex. He operated the Journal for three years before selling it to his editor, E.B. Jolley, who sold it a few days later to the owners of the Jacksonville Daily Progress.

Whitehead then became a partner in a community antenna television system and in 1964 bought out his partners. In 1966, he converted his publications to offset.

In 1973, he was in his sixth year as mayor of Rusk when he s elected as a state representative. He served eight years in the Texas House.

Whitehead purchased The Alto Herald in August 1978 and the Wells News 'n Views in January 1979. He established radio station KWRW-FM in 1980. In 1988, he sold his cable company. In 1989, he merged the Alto Herald with The Cherokeean and converted to desktop publishing.

Today, he and Marie remain active in the management of their weekly newspapers and radio stations and the farm they purchased in 1964. And, Whitehead's life of public service remains in full swing: last year, he once again was elected mayor of Rusk.