It’s been almost three years since Joyce Hathcock retired as publisher of the Monitor after a long career of helping to guide this newspaper through thick and thin. Word of her death last week …
It’s been almost three years since Joyce Hathcock retired as publisher of the Monitor after a long career of helping to guide this newspaper through thick and thin. Word of her death last week was indeed a sad note at this time of year.
Though we never got to work with Joyce, she was among our group of East Texas newspaper friends, primarily through the regional press association, where we got to know her and her late husband, Larry.
We’d visit 2-3 times a year at press functions.
Joyce and I each served as president of the North and East Texas Press Association. The year after she was named to the group’s highest honor, called the Sam Holloway award, she was to present the newest honoree. But she couldn’t make it to the convention and asked me to stand in. I was honored to present the award to Fern Woodall on behalf of her and her late husband, Woody, longtime newspaper owners in this area, including in Quitman and Grand Saline. They were among the couples whom we first met when we became involved in the NETPA in 1983, whose examples led us to pursue our own newspaper ownership years later, as well as becoming great friends with their son, Bill, another East Texas newspaper lifer (from whom we bought the Monitor).
I’m sure many stories have been exchanged about Joyce over the past several days since her passing on Dec. 18, a lot of those I related to the community newspaper business and the important role it gave her the opportunity to fulfill.
One I will share demonstrates the respect I had for her.
During my year as president of the state press association, I had a prickly situation to navigate and needed to set up a committee of trusted fellow newspaper folks to navigate the troubled waters.
Joyce was one of the first people I turned to, as she was familiar with the players involved and the situation.
She gladly accepted and was among those who shepherded what could have been a firestorm to a reasonable conclusion, for which I will always be grateful.
It wasn’t her first rodeo, dealing with strong personalities.
Newspaper people are a special breed, especially those who are still around after everything our industry has been through in recent years.
As we have transitioned to be among those older folks at the press meetings, I can only hope that we and Joyce and many others have continued to impress upon those coming up behind us the importance of what we continue to do.
She played her part, with grace and aplomb, and the people of Wood County owe her a great debt of gratitude.