Reflecting on The People Who Matter


The holiday season means many things to many people.

It’s religious. It’s personal. It’s reflective.

And, best of all, it’s memories of years past. Of good times and good people and good relationships.

That’s why we want to focus today’s column on some of the numerous newspaper people we’ve worked with over parts of the last six decades:

ALAN ROBINSON – The long-time sports chief of the Pittsburgh bureau of The Associated Press cut his journalistic teeth in his native Ohio Valley. He’s done about everything in the business from covering five Olympic Games, Stanley Cup playoffs, World Series and All-Star Games, and Super Bowls. His AP byline regularly appears in the Wheeling papers.

RICK RYAN – The Wheeling native is one of the most respected prep writers in the Mountain State while serving as Assistant Sports Editor of The Charleston Gazette.

BOB GALBRAITH – Another Wheeling native who is one of the best sports photographers in the land. At last report, he was doing his thing on the West Coast and worked for The Associated Press and as a free lancer.

RICH STEVENS – We met when the local product was a college student in a sportswriting class I taught at West Liberty and he joined our staff and eventually succeeded me when I retired as The Intelligencer sports editor in 1999. He’s now the assistant sports editor of the Charleston Daily Mail.

JEFF GILLESPIE – A versatile sportswriter, and the original Intell beat writer of the Wheeling Thunderbirds hockey team, he’s now working as a sports editor of a chain of papers in Georgia.

STEVE KENDLE – The Paden City native enjoyed covering Ohio Valley sports and is a solid newspaper guy. He works for the Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News.

WARREN BAYS – The Wheeling native was an Intell photographer when I joined the paper in 1967 and his sports pictures were second to none in the area. He’s now retired in the Eastern Panhandle area of the Mountain State.

CLIFF McWILLIAMS – He was an “old school” newspaperman who had a gift for writing, editing and taking pictures. I worked with the late sports editor for 12 years and they were some of the most enjoyable times because he was a fun guy to be around.

BILL VAN HORNE – I first met BVH while a high school student and later as I worked the a.m. Intell shift while he took care of the p.m. News-Register period. In those days, we “competed” for the “scoops” but traveled together to numerous sporting events in Morgantown, Pittsburgh, etc. The 53-year sports editor in Martins Ferry and Wheeling was one-of-a-kind.

NICK BEDWAY- I left the Fairmont (W.Va.) Times as sports editor to replace Nick on the Intell when he opted to move to the N-R to replace retiring JIMMY STEWART, who worked 47 years at 1500 Main Street. Nick’s longevity- more than 50 years, in the business speaks volumes. Nobody enjoys covering sports’ events in the area any more than him.

The current sports department staffers of sports editor SHAWN RINE and JIM ELLIOTT were entering the business when I was exiting but they have continued their passion for sports writing- Shawn especially with the Wheeling Nailers’ hockey team and Jim with the West Virginia University football and men’s basketball teams. Current Martins Ferry writer KIM NORTH was another Intell staffer who enjoyed covering the local ice hockey team as well as other sports. And photographer ALEX KOZLOWSKI continues to contribute pictures. Another photog-reporter, JOHN WICKLINE, works for the newspaper in Elkins.

And, of course, there are several other former newspaper associates who are out of the business. People like JOE MYERS, DON CLEGG, BRIAN BONENBERGER, MIKE GARAN, TY WORK and the late JOHN SKALICAN. And there were numerous part-timers who assisted on “game nights” as well.

People make memories.

And I have more fond ones than any jock journalist deserves. Thanks for sharing this ride down memory lane.

Merry Christmas to one and all.