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A couple of thank-yous

January 24, 2014

It’s time for a couple of thank-yous to two of our most cherished regular columnists.

Alice Gordon, our long-time contributor to Friday’s church page, has retired. With her 98th birthday approaching (Feb. 15, if you’d like to send her a card!), Alice says her failing eyesight and arthritis have made it difficult to continue sending a weekly Bible verse and reflection. “My heart says I can, but my body says I can’t,” Alice said, noting she’ll miss writing her column.

I’m sure you are like us when I say we’ll miss her too. Alice always met her deadline, and the care she put into her Sunday School lesson was evident to all those who read it. But I guess, at age 97, it is her prerogative to retire if that’s what she really wants!

Our second thank you goes to Vern Doenges, author of the daily Looking Backward column. Vern, at age 93, has moved to The Gardens of Wapakoneta; his health issues make it difficult for him to continue. We are thrilled, however, that his son Nick, is picking up where Dad left off.

When I first came to the Wapakoneta Daily News to work, Norma Lunz was the author of the Looking Back column. She was a character in her own right, and when she retired from that job, I couldn’t imagine who would want to continue.

Well, for more than 23 years, the answer to that has been Vern Doenges. Former county auditor, and well-known collector of local postcards and memorabilia, Vern was willing to cull through the old newspapers and put together columns full of tidbits to share a glimpse of life in our area 75, 50 and 25 years ago.

Vern never missed a deadline either – in fact, he worked pretty far in advance so it was nothing to get the remainder of his columns for a year by the end of August. He made sure his trips to Florida, or other vacations never interrupted the daily Looking Back column.

These changes make me a bit heavy-hearted. They feel a bit like the end of an era, a change from a routine that has been second nature for us – and for our readers as well. I know we’re supposed to embrace change but I think, just for a little while, I’m going to give in to the melancholy.

Thank you, Alice, for all your years of bringing a well-written and relevant Sunday School lesson to our readers. Those words enhanced our weekly church page and we will miss hearing from you as well. And thank you, Vern, for all the years of looking back through the pages of our history and sharing those glimpses with our readers. Although Looking Back will live on, we’ll miss your visits with those stacks of typewritten columns all stapled and rubber-banded together. You both were appreciated and will be missed!

Deb Zwez, publisher
of the Wapakoneta Daily News

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