- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

MAYFIELD, Ky. (AP) - Of all the things one can see and do at a newspaper in 69 years and two months, it will be the people she has worked with every day that Carolyn Williams misses most. Williams, The Mayfield Messenger’s business manager, announced plans to retire June 12. She came to the Messenger on April 1, 1946, as a proofreader.

“I did write one column that went on the front page,” Williams said.

“It was a substitute for Frank O. Evans, our publisher’s column. I think they wanted to see if I could be a writer. It was about school activities and sports and things.”

When she decided writing was not her strong suit, Williams sought work in another department.

“I had to read the entire paper and that was something I didn’t want to do. I planned to leave to find another job. I wanted to be on the commercial and business side of things. I was planning to leave when they offered me a bookkeeping job. It doubled my salary from $18 to $36 per week. In those days, you could buy a nice dress for $1.98.”

Before coming to the Messenger, Williams graduated from Sedalia High and worked at the government’s emergency crop loan office for 14 months. She left that job when the office moved from Mayfield to Hopkinsville.

“I’ve always lived where I was born and raised, on a farm left to me by my father. He never wanted it sold outside of the family. It’s been in my family for over 200 years.”

Content with her bookkeeping job, Williams said, “I really enjoyed the people I worked with. I had no desire to go elsewhere and look for a job.”

“To think of the fact that Carolyn has been a major contributor to the success of The Mayfield Messenger ever since one year after the end of World War II is almost impossible to believe,” Messenger Publisher Eric Hoffman said. “She has been a great employee for over 69 years and most certainly has earned the respect and admiration of all of us here at the Messenger.”

She keeps a scrap book of stories related to her co-workers and obituaries of friends.

Two moments in history she recalled were the Apollo moon landings and the 9-11 attacks.

“It was an exciting time,” she said of the landings. “We gathered around the television and watched it. 9-11 was just a depressing time for everyone.”

As the Messenger moved to its new location at 201 N. Eighth Street, so did Williams.

“We started out at 206 W. Broadway where Sumo’s (Lease-Purchase) is now. We moved to our current building on 8th street in 1979.”

In 69 years and two months, technology changed. Williams started out with ledgers, moved to typed sheets and finally computer spreadsheets to maintain records of the Messenger’s business transactions.

Printing technology also changed. Williams said when she began, the Messenger was composed by hand and printed with a Linotype machine. It changed over from hot metal printing to a 20-page offset press.

“When I began working here, Frank O. Evans was the owner and publisher of the paper,” she said. “In 1957, he chose to sell the paper and retire. Ray Edwards took over as publisher and remained at that position until he suffered a fatal heart attack in 1982.”

During her time at the Messenger, Williams became a world traveler. Her trips abroad include two trips to Israel, two trips to England, and trips to Egypt, Canada (including Nova Scotia), Mexico, Russia, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Italy and China.

“I recommend for everyone to visit the Holy Land before they die. It was amazing to walk where Jesus walked,” she said.

Once, she took non-stop, overseas flights overnight. Now, she has a phobia of flying and plans to remain close to her Graves County home.

Her closest relatives are two nephews, Buddie Baldree of Troy, Mich., and Randie Baldree of Graves County.

Many of her contemporaries on the Messenger staff are now deceased. She maintained friendships with Bob Evans, Virginia Garrett and Dan Matthews.

“I’m going to miss the association I had with people around the office and in town,” she said. “It will be like adjusting to a new world.”

Williams said she has no plans for her retirement and wants to settle in before embarking on new endeavors.

“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Williams said. “I hope I’ve done a good job, and think I have. I’m really glad that I have had the health and strength to work here and be responsible for making contributions to the paper. I’d like to thank my fellow employees and the people and community who have supported me through the years.”


Information from: The Mayfield Messenger.

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