Jim Krumel: After 28 years at The Lima News, time to retire


By Jim Krumel - jkrumel@limanews.com



Three weeks from today will mark the 28th year I have been at The Lima News, the last 20 as its editor. We moved here with a son Joseph, who was ready to enter the first grade, and a baby daughter Emily that kept us up at night.

I have often told people that Lima has been the friendliest town in which we’ve lived. (Yes, Lima!) And I say that with no disrespect to the other cities we’ve called home – Defiance, Mansfield and Cambridge, Ohio – all wonderful places.

I have another milestone coming up on Christmas Eve – I turn 65 years old. That first-grader is now a grown man who built a house outside of Cincinnati. He and his wife, Sarah, also just recently gave us our first grandchild, Isabelle. As for our baby daughter, she is now a beautiful woman working for the FDA in Columbus.

And then there’s Alex, who recently moved to St. Louis and is engaged to Zoe Dolcimascolo, whom he met in college at Ohio State. Alex is our “born in Allen County child.” If you know Alex, I don’t have to say any more.

Why am I telling you all of this? It is my way of saying I’m retiring, effective Dec. 31.

I know, I know.

It is coming from a guy who just a few weeks ago wrote a tongue-in-cheek column about “getting the boot.”

Well, nobody at work is giving me the boot. But my wife, Mary Beth, will likely be giving me one if I continue to be late for dinner three to five days a week (What if the fish are biting, honey?)

It’s been a wonderful career, one I owe to a high school English teacher as well as to Richard Nixon.

The high school teacher taught creative writing. He called me up to his desk after we handed in our first assignment – a profile story of an interesting person we knew. Mine was about an old fisherman I met on my paper route named Bosky. The teacher said my story was very good. Then he showed me how I could make it better. From that moment, I couldn’t wait to get my stories back after he gave them a transfusion.

Yes, teachers do make a difference.

As for Richard Nixon?

I was a senior in high school when I was to interview with Mr. Gordon Dix (to this day, he’ll always be Mr. Dix), the longtime publisher of the Defiance Crescent-News. They had a job opening in the sports department. Along with it came a full-ride scholarship to Defiance College, where Mr. Dix was a trustee.

One problem: Mr. Dix was a huge Republican and Nixon was scheduled to resign at the same time I was set to have my interview. So, he told Mick Secrest, the sports editor, to hire me if he liked me.

Mick was in the middle of gathering information for the annual football preview section and was desperately in need of someone to do the grunt work. He hired me on the spot, not realizing I didn’t know how to type and my grades weren’t the best or anywhere near it.

Days later when Mr. Dix learned of this, he told me he was a man of his word, and the job and scholarship were mine. Then he looked me straight in the eyes and told me he knew I would be improving my grades. Message received. Loud and clear.

Yes, a little guidance can make a difference, too.

Being in the newspaper business has provided me the opportunity to meet Muhammad Ali, to see four presidents up close – Clinton, Bush II, Obama and Trump – and to almost get decked by Woody Hayes.

But the thing I’ve always enjoyed the most is telling stories – your stories. One of my favorites was when an out-of-breath man named Buddy Bodell came rushing into my office to tell me about a World War II fighter pilot that Buddy had just met while standing in line at the Meijer store.

“You’ve got to do a story on him,” Buddy pleaded. “He was so interesting to talk with.”

When I asked Buddy the pilot’s name, his face froze.

“I don’t know,” he said.

Eventually, we did find the pilot’s name, Jim Sullivan, and it was a great story. But I will never forget Buddy’s face.

As for the people I’ve worked with, I’m not even going to attempt to run off the long list of names of those who meant so much to me. If I tried, I’d certainly miss someone.

But I must mention one person.

Ray Sullivan.

I could overlook the fact he was a Yankees fan and worst yet, a Denver Broncos fan, because as a boss, he was a tremendous inspiration, leader and mentor. Ray was born with ink in his blood. He had the temper of an Irishman when a story wasn’t breaking quickly enough or a reporter was getting the runaround. But he also was one to always think out of the box. This was an editor who sent Mike Lackey and Craig Orosz on a yearlong journey to visit every town in the United States named Lima.

I still have a few weeks before the end of the year rolls around, so I’ll be in the office plugging away, going through old files. Maybe we’ll run into each other at the Kewpee during a lunch break. That would be nice.

I am a lucky man to have a job that I’ve always loved. Thank you for your many kind words over the years, and for not being afraid to pick up the phone and tell me when you thought I was all wet.

Keep reading The Lima News, and may God bless.

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By Jim Krumel

jkrumel@limanews.com

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