From the Editor: Never Forgotten
I do a lot of thinking these days about those who are with us no longer. As you may have heard, both of my parents recently passed away, and I’m still going through their belongings, each note and card reminding me of their lives and the time we shared.
In such a state of mind, it’s natural to also ruminate over others who have passed on, whose lives briefly touched mine. I’ve met many managers in my 25 years as editor. Some were taken too soon, in the midst of their careers; some retired after giving years of their lives to their in-plants, only to leave us shortly afterward.
The most recent of my in-plant friends to depart was Rodney Brown, director of the University of Delaware’s in-plant. A familiar face at In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) and Association of College and University Printer (ACUP) conferences, he was funny, easy to talk to, and a font of knowledge. He retired in 2016, and I expected he’d be out on his boat for years to come, but that was not fate’s plan.
Another recent, painful departure was that of Dave Maloch, who served both Louisiana State University and Arkansas State and was well liked and respected as an advisor and mentor. He retired last year, then returned to train his replacement before retiring again — just two months before passing away in his sleep.
Even managers who left us long ago are still fresh in my mind. I can clearly remember the first in-plant manager to die while I was on the job, Chuck Okerlund of Boeing. He passed away during the IPMA 1997 conference in Reno, Nev., just hours before he would have accepted the Best of Show award for his in-plant. He never knew his shop had won. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that heartbreaking day.
Nearly as decimating was the death of poor Jim Kapp, director of North Dakota's Central Services Division, who longed to host a National Government Publishing Association conference in his hometown of Bismarck, N.D. He was taken by cancer while planning the event. The association met in Bismarck the next year in his his honor, to enjoy the town he was so proud of.
Cancer has taken other in-plant friends as well:
- Steve Goodman, who served both California State University in Fresno and the University of Illinois at Springfield, using his wealth of knowledge to help those in-plants flourish. His booming Bronx accent made him easy to find at ACUP conferences, and easy to miss when he no attended no more.
- Gary Williford, who retired from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2006, but continued to attend the Southeastern University Printing and Digital Managers Conference (SUPDMC) until 2018, to share his vast knowledge with his in-plant peers.
- J.T. Sarantakos, who passed along his love of printing as a graphic arts instructor for many years (including to his son John, now head of the University of Oklahoma’s in-plant) before taking over as director of Central Missouri State University's in-plant. I can still hear his distinct, gravelly voice clear as day.
- Brian Wadell, a kind, customer-oriented manager who worked tirelessly to improve his in-plant at the University of California, Davis, and was always happy to share his knowledge with fellow managers.
As terrible as it is to lose friends to cancer, it was the unexpected departures that were most shocking.
- Stephen Berry, who made Columbia University’s in-plant a technology leader in the ’90s, died while on vacation in Ireland in 1998 at just 46.
- Michael Leighton, who worked hard to improve customer service and turnaround time at the City of Los Angeles’ in-plant, died suddenly at just 52.
- Lora Geionety, of American Fidelity Assurance, a well liked, outgoing presence at IPMA conferences, was taken at 52 after a short illness.
- The University of Virginia’s Scott Keeney, who wiped away the in-plant’s deficit in his 13 years as director, died in his sleep at 58, much too young.
- Missouri State Printer Gary Judd, a humble, hard-working man (and a big fan of this magazine, who wrote numerous letters to the editor), passed away in his home just as he was contemplating retirement.
Tragic accidents have taken others, leaving their work unfinished.
- Ray Burd, of the University of Scranton, who merged print and mail, took over the campus copier fleet, and brought VDP to his university, was hit by a falling branch on the tree he was cutting down.
- Dave Hadenfeldt, an enthusiastic advocate for 3D printing in the in-plant, was taken out by a distracted driver while enjoying a ride on the motorcycle he loved so much.
There are others too, whose stories I must leave untold for now: Walt Leonard, Gene Wright, Gary Wolf, Mike Barbie, Delane Donithorne, Jon Rolie. I think about all of them from time to time, and tip my hat to them for a job well done — for doing their part to strengthen just one of the many in-plants that make up the network of in-plants in this industry.
Rest in peace, my friends. You’re not forgotten.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.