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Who's who in Albany Democrat-Herald history

Who's who in Albany Democrat-Herald history

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Several staffers have come and gone in the Albany Democrat-Herald’s history. Here are a few words about some of them. Our apologies for any of those not mentioned:

The Early Years

The Oregon Democrat

Delazon Smith was elected one of Oregon’s first senators in 1859 and started Linn County’s first newspaper in Albany, the Oregon Democrat, that same year with his brother-in-law, Jesse M. Shepherd. Our link to this paper is a bit hazy, due to the fact it was sold, renamed the Albany Inquirer, then suppressed by the Postmaster General twice for its Southern leanings, and disappeared altogether by 1865. Still, Smith got the ball rolling.

State Rights Democrat

The State Rights Democrat, founded in 1865, is considered our true ancestor. Fred P. Nutting bought partial interest in the paper in 1882 from George E. Chamberlain, an Albany lawyer who later became Oregon’s governor and a U.S. senator. Nutting remained part owner, and later editor, columnist and publisher, from 1882 to 1912. Nutting dropped the State Rights part of the name and called it the Albany Weekly Democrat. The paper went daily beginning in 1888 and was called the Albany Democrat.

The Albany Herald, founded in 1879, went daily in 1885.

Nutting sold his share in 1912 to W.H. Hornibrook, who, in turn, sold to his city editor, Ralph R. Cronise, and businessman and school superintendent William L. Jackson, in 1919. Hornibrook was later appointed minister to Siam.

Cronise became the paper’s editor, and in 1925 he and Jackson purchased the competing (and struggling) Albany Herald, shut it down, and added the Herald name to the flag to make it the Albany Democrat-Herald.

Albany Democrat-Herald

Publishers/Owners

Albany native Glenn Jackson and his sister, Olga, inherited a majority interest in the D-H in 1949. He later bought out minority owner Ralph Cronise and built the company to include the Ashland Daily Tidings and eight local weeklies in Oregon. While Jackson focused on Pacific Power, where he was CEO, and his many civic endeavors, he left the day-to-day operation of the newspapers to their managing editors.

Capital Cities Communications acquired the company in 1980.

Jackson is best known in Oregon for his 20 years as a member of the Oregon State Highway Commission and its successor, the Oregon Transportation Commission.

The Glenn L. Jackson Memorial Bridge on I-205 between Vancouver, Washington and Portland is named for him.

Elmo Smith, publisher and minority owner, built the new facility at Sixth Avenue. He owned and developed a chain of weekly newspapers that were not part of the D-H properties and are now known as Eagle Newspapers and owned by his son, former Congressman Denny Smith. Smith came to the D-H in 1957 after serving out the term of Oregon governor Paul Patterson, who had died in office. Smith failed in his effort to win a full term as governor, losing to Robert Holmes in 1956.

Glenn C. Cushman, the fourth person to hold the title of publisher since 1925, oversaw the expansion of the Democrat-Herald publishing company to include newspapers in Ashland, Springfield, Newport, Gresham and Sandy. He later added the trade publication Stamp Collector, plus Nickel Advertising publications in Seattle, Portland and Spokane. Cushman was publisher when Jackson died, and the company was sold to Capital Cities Communications. Cushman was instrumental in establishing employee profit-sharing.

The driveway in front of the Democrat-Herald has a street sign declaring it Cushman Way.

John E. Buchner, who held positions at the paper from delivery to editor, was hired as publisher in 1988. On his watch, Buchner oversaw the remodel and expansion of the building, which changed its street address from Sixth Avenue to the current Lyon Street address; combined the Sunday edition with Corvallis Gazette-Times under Lee Enterprises; was given supervisory authority over Newport, Lebanon and Gresham/Sandy before his retirement in 1998; and led the paper to its highest daily circulation in its history, 22,000.

Harold Orsborn, advertising rep, ad manager and publisher. He was the classified ad manager for the Gazette-Times prior to being name Albany publisher in 1999.

Martha Wells served nine years as publisher of the D-H, Lebanon Express and later the Gazette-Times before her retirement in 2010.

Chris Loretto stepped in for about 6 months after Wells.

Rick Parrish, publisher of the Longview Daily News, took over after Loretto’s exit. He was replaced by current publisher Jeff Precourt in 2014.

Editorial staff

Wallace C. Eakin, assistant to the publisher, managing editor, reporter in a career that spanned 50-plus years; among first graduates of the University of Oregon journalism school.

Charles D. Alexander, linotype operator, editor of the first Sunday edition of the Democrat in 1920, retired in 1962. He continued editing a literary page in the Saturday Democrat-Herald after the Sunday edition of the Democrat was dropped. He was a nationally famous short story author; “Bobbie, A Great Collie,” was one of his most famous novels. He wrote his stories and reviews directly on the linotype — no copy paper or typewriter. He had many stories published in the Saturday Evening Post and other national magazines.

Merrill Jones, first full-time photographer at D-H in the 1950s.

John E. Buchner, executive editor (1968).

Hasso Hering, editor, associate editor (1978). The first real “editor” since Fred Nutting, Hering lived the news and opinion product and raised the quality of its content. He became a reasoned voice for the conservative Oregon community. (That’s everywhere but Portland and Eugene.) Governors, legislators, judges and business leaders of every political persuasion sought his audience and were frequent visitors at the D-H. He also served on a state commission appointed by the governor. He was succeeded by current editor Mike McInally.

Ianthe Smith, society editor. She knew everyone in town, and then some.

Shelley Burrell, women’s editor. She was later women’s editor of the Salem Capital Journal and Oregon Statesman.

Richard Nafsinger, managing editor, sports editor (later publisher of Hood River News and president of Eagle Newspapers, which was founded by Elmo Smith and is now owned by former Congressman Denny Smith, son of Elmo.

Wallace B. Eakin, reporter. He was the son of Wallace C. and later editor of the Hood River News, and is now retired.

Gordon Rice, reporter, later with United Press.

Bruce Westfall, reporter, east Linn County bureau. He worked at the Vancouver Columbian after the D-H. John Baur, reporter and news editor in the 1980s and ‘90s; currently works for an online publication. Kernan Turner, managing editor in the 1960s (later a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press, mostly in South America)

George Turnbull, associate editor in the 1950s (after retiring as professor and dean of the University of Oregon School of Journalism.)

Robert J. Caldwell, reporter and associate editor (wrote editorials for several years), later becoming managing editor in the 1970s. Bob was later editorial page editor of The Oregonian and helped that newspaper win a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.

Christian Anderson, reporter, city editor (replaced Dan Jones in the 1970s). He left to be managing editor of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (owned by the Seattle Times), later associate managing editor of the Seattle Times, editor of the Orange County Register, publisher of the Colorado Springs Gazette, publisher of the Orange County Register, publisher of The Oregonian, short time editor and publisher of The Register-Guard in Eugene.

Dan Jones, reporter, city editor, first computer technician at the D-H. He was a Linfield grad, editor of the weekly Stayton Mail and had worked as a reporter for the Eugene Register-Guard.

Gus August, reporter at the Lebanon bureau, later covered county and emergency services at the D-H for years. Gus died recently at the age of 90.

Bob Rodman, reporter, sports editor, news editor. Retired from Eugene Register-Guard as sports writer. Bob took the D-H to new levels of sports coverage at the high schools, Linn Benton Community College and Oregon State University. He started as a one-person department and it grew to two full-time and several part-timers, plus strong support from the photo staff. Rodman was followed by other notable sports people: Greg Hansen, Joe Much, Kenn Hess, Fred Westerling, Tim Trower, Graham Kislingbury, Steve Lundeberg and Les Gehrett.

Stanford Smith, chief photographer. He recorded Albany history for 30 years. He brought photo journalism and color photography to the Democrat-Herald at the time the newspaper changed to offset printing. He was hired by Glenn Cushman. The D-H benefited from many photo students in the journalism department program at Oregon State University: Chris Johns, later editor of National Geographic; Randy Wood; Tony Overman; Dennis Roler; and more.

Glenda Suklis, longtime reporter and editorial clerk.

Claudia Painter, people page editor. First people page editor. Her husband Sonny worked for the City of Albany. He died in the last year or two. Believe she still lives in town. She was from Illinois, believe she had worked on one of the Chicago newspapers in the women’s department before coming to Oregon. A couple of her successors were Graham Kislingbury and Mary Parkinson.

Patrick O’Neill, reporter and columnist; went on to write for the Oregonian. Connie Petty, reporter-photographer. Authored many feature stories that were enhanced with her photography. Well-known in the community for her interest in the arts and finding interesting people to write about.

Joan Kropf, reporter, People Page editor. Feature-writing was her strength. She liked dealing with the public and the public liked her. She began as an editorial clerk (calendar, obits, news of record) and ended up as an accomplished writer and People Page editor. Having grown up in the Albany community, she had a great background for digging up good local feature stories. She left the D-H to become feature editor of The Longview (Wash.) Daily News.

Graham Kislingbury, sports editor, People Page editor, managing editor. He was a people person, loved by the staff and the community. A person committed to helping others in both his professional and personal life. Retired from the D-H in 2015.

David Gilbert, reporter, city editor under Hasso Hering. Went on to teach communication at Linfield College.

Wayne Falogowski, sports editor, later became a KOIN TV reporter.Maury Sanderson, wire editor, news editor (retired from D-H).

Joan Haines, reporter, women’s editor (later Bozeman, Montana reporter and women’s editor). Larry Lange, reporter, associate editor (later Vancouver Columbian reporter). Neil Felgenhauer, associate editor, wrote editorials after Wallace C. Eakin retirement; later became Spokane Review copy editor. Lora Cuykendall, copy editor, city editor. Jean Chandler, copy editor; later part of the Chandler family ownership of The Bulletin in Bend. Quinton Smith, reporter; went on to become editor of the Gresham Outlook, then on to the Oregonian as a reporter. Al Bach, East Linn County reporter in 1970s. Doris Gunderson, east Linn County reporter in 1960s. David Jordan, reporter (later Bend managing editor, Oregonian reporter). Dusty Plogg, city editor in the 1950s. Joe Sand, reporter, managing editor in 1960s (deceased). Marilyn Montgomery (Smith), reporter, now City of Albany spokesperson and assistant to city manager. Kathlene Glanville, reporter; later an Oregonian editor. Mike Henneke, assistant news editor, copy editor, online editor; now works as a page designer for the News-Review in Roseburg.

Business/advertising/production

Ralph Lee, advertising salesman, retail advertising manager, assistant general manager. To the business community, he was the face of the Democrat-Herald for many years. He was at the paper in the 1950s until his retirement. Active in his church, Rotary, Chamber.

Clifford Bryan, business manager. Survived management changes. Was involved in the planning for the new building in 1960. Retired after a long career at D-H. His widow and children still reside in the community.

Howard Messmer, advertising director, business manager. After leaving the newspaper he became an owner of Shryock’s Menswear in Salem. Hired by Glenn Cushman from Salem newspapers in the 1970s.

John Buchner, general manager (78-88)

W. Clark Gallagher, retail advertising manager, advertising director. He came from the Bend Bulletin in the 1980s. He was promoted to publisher of The Springfield News before returning to Albany as general manager in charge of all sales under Buchner. He was active in the community in Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce, organizations where he served as president. He took on a lot of community work Buchner had done for Cushman as general manager.

Sam Suklis, advertising salesman. This one-of-a-kind salesperson had a career at several newspapers including the Lebanon Express and the D-H. His widow, Glenda, still lives in Albany.

Rollie Jones, press foreman. Made move from letterpress to offset and from Second Street facility to Sixth Avenue.

Bill Drager, pressman, assistant foreman. Bill began as an apprentice pressman at the D-H after high school, left for the military and came back to the D-H until his retirement. Still lives in North Albany.

Tom Stratton, production manager in the Cushman years. Still lives in Albany.

Robert Phillips, operations manager. Replaced Stratton when he retired. In charge of D-H building remodel at the Lyon Street address.

John Irwin, controller. He worked for all the properties as a CPA, including the D-H. His office was located at the D-H.

Sylvester Feil, circulation manager. He SOLD the newspaper to subscribers. After he came to D-H in the 1970s, circulation grew about 1,000 copies a year (from about 12,000 to 18,000).

Michael O’Brien, circulation manager. He followed Syl Feil, then later became publisher at the Ashland paper, owned by the D-H. He left the company to become publisher of the Capital Press in Salem. He is about to retire there.

Mary Jacq Jenks was the first classified advertising manager in the 1970s. She was a concert pianist and piano teacher.

John Hauck, classified manager in the 1980s and ‘90s after Mary Jacq. He was the first professionally trained classified manager. He was in charge of classified when automotive and real estate advertising was an important profit center.

Dan Roddy, tech support manager. He kept all the electronics in operation in the late 80s and 90s. He also did tech support at the other D-H owned properties. He left the paper to work for the State Treasurer in Salem.

Ralph Godwin, janitor. Godwin was the D-H janitor from the 1950s until his retirement in the early 1970s. After Ralph, the paper went to a contracted janitorial service. If you wanted to know anything about the staff in those days, Ralph was a good source. He worked at the Second Avenue location as well as the Sixth Avenue location.

Richard F. Anderson, Pacific Northwest manager for Disney and Lee Enterprises. After Glenn Cushman retired, Dick took over supervisory duties of the Nickel publications and the newspapers for the corporate ownership. He had an office in Portland at Nickel Ads and lived in Lake Oswego.

Mark Cushman, circulation manager.

Wally Oster, retail advertising sales. Loretta Ireland, bookkeeper in the 1960s. Kathy Hannahs, assistant controller, later at LBCC business office, now retired and lives in Albany). Barb Breshears, composing and paste-up. Cheryl Surendra, composing, paste-up, production.

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