Saying goodbye to Jesup

By Kim Edward Adams

The Citizen Herald is passing …
And with that passing comes the end of an era for Jesup, Iowa.

This community has enjoyed a weekly compendium of what is important to the community for 122 years – the last 43 of which have been created under one publisher.

I began my four-decade plus tenure in Jesup when I was just 24 years old, and now, at 68, I have been forced to give up this part of my life's work due to an unexpected health emergency.

Kim Edward Adams

Is this difficult? You bet it is.
Are there regrets? Of course.

Beyond those things, fraught with emotion, is a sense of peace. A sense of fulfillment. A sense of contentment. A sense of pride at being able to serve this community for so, so many years.

In March 1978, I showed up in Jesup, as the new publisher and co-owner with my brother, Bob (who remained in Denver, Iowa, as publisher and co-owner of the Denver Forum).

Since then, it's been a whirlwind of deadlines, photos to take, stories to write – sometimes corrections to make -- ads to show to business people, books to read on the latest technologies, employees to train, trips to conventions to learn how to better serve the community. There have been business decisions – starting a portrait studio and photography business to use the skills I'd first learned for the newspaper. There have been hours in the darkroom, then a swift transformation to digital technology; and the early shift to computers for design and composition in 1986. So much change over so many years.

One thing that hasn't changed is the essence of this community. There has been change throughout Jesup. New businesses; new streets; new school buildings; new infrastructure; many, many, many new people. Yet it has retained its small-town atmosphere. Its ability to come together when needed. Its ability to make decisions through the democratic process.

In the newspaper office, there has been both change and a sense of continuity. Many employees came and went – several going on to a life's work in journalism, newspapers, or writing. Each was impacted by their tenure here – whether it was long or short. And I, in turn, was impacted by them. I've been impacted by all who have worked here over the years: their energy, their smiles, their responsiveness, their willingness to work hard and learn new things. But most of all their loyalty. A loyalty that was displayed for several through decades of working together. They included Helen Eder, Connie Haley, Joan Mezera, Deb Holt, Tony Bengston, Michael Emerson and Robin Harms. That's the same Robin who has been with me as my wife and partner in the early years, and as an incredibly talented and wonderful writer, editor, organizer, artist and designer for close to 40 years.

Robin will be remembered as the columnist whose weekly "Moods," won both state-wide awards and accolades from local readers as she presented in humorous style, a close – and sometimes fanciful – look at our personal family life with me, Robin, and her son, Michael, growing up in Jesup and in the newspaper business.

Although Robin and I parted as husband and wife; she continued to work with me in the newspaper business ever since, despite a too-long respite at other area papers. There could be no newspaper for most of these years without Robin; and every week she was here – sometimes even staying up all night with me getting a special Farmers Day issue finished. Robin has been trying to retire for around 3 years now. She gave her one-year notice sometime in 2018 I think it was; but she has managed to stay on now through the end here at Jesup. I told her, I didn't want her to leave until I did. Now that is coming to pass. And that's loyalty.

Michael has done the same. Starting out with darkroom work, photography and other office chores when he wasn't yet in high school, he branched out into web design after taking courses to learn about coding in the early '90s. As webmaster for www.jesupcitizenherald.com, he lived in Jesup for many years, and now lives near Robin and her husband Logen in Tripoli. He's been with me in one way or another since he was 9 years old. Now that's loyalty.

It hasn't been all work and no play all this time.

I've learned about having some semblance of balance with family life with Robin and Michael; other relationships over time; and in the last 21 years, with my life partner Dee Loecher. Dee and I have been able to travel all over the world in the last 15 years – partly because Robin, Michael and so many others have taken care of things during my absences. We have been to India, Israel, Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, Ireland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria – and many places in the continental US. Michael and I have made trips to Minnesota, Hawaii, San Francisco, Mexico, Albuquerque, Reno, Las Vegas and more in the Southwest. For someone who never really thought much about traveling – that's a lot of travel!

But home was, until recently, always Jesup. For about the first five years in Jesup, I literally lived in the newspaper office. And later lived in various homes and apartments. Robin and I bought our first home in Jesup – signing the papers at the beer tent on Farmers Day. Last year in October, I sold my Jesup home to Nancy Steinbron – who was, for several years, editor and more at the newspaper.

The Farmers Day celebration has been an important part of Jesup's history for all these years – and many more before I arrived. Since 1981, I've helped Alan Wright and other Farmers Day board members – and hundreds of community volunteers – make Jesup's celebration the "best small town celebration in Iowa" – year after year after year. The newspaper has played a big part in promoting the celebration all those years. Robin designed the t-shirts for almost every year they were made. She also created publicity sections for Farmers Day for many years that were distributed far and wide. The quasquicentennial and sesquicentennial celebrations were huge and unique events. Citizen Herald Editor Deb Holt and Office Manager Joan Mezera were key volunteers who created the Jesup History book in 2010. Both worked after hours at the newspaper office on a volunteer basis to make that book a reality.

Farmers Day has been Alan Wright's pride and joy. He has made the celebration happen, planning it all year long – and getting nothing in return except the knowledge that he'd created smiles and happiness for thousands of people yet again. Thank you, Alan Wright. You deserve thanks from so many generations of this community.

Thank you to so many people who have supported this newspaper for so many years! (See letters from two subscribers who have read the Citizen Herald for over 60 years elsewhere in this issue.)

Thank you to the business community which has communicated with this town's residents through the newspaper for decades, providing the support system upon which a community is formed.

Thank you to the city administrations and city employees – many of whom have had similar lengths of service to this community – I can't let long-time city clerk Marsha McGlaughlin go unmentioned!
Thank you to the many school board members, teachers and administrators over the years – including long-time Superintendent Charles Underwood; High School Principal Lee Jesse; and Elementary Principal Elwood Sapp – and so many, many teachers who found it difficult to leave even after 35 or 40 years – Dale Rueber is a fine example!

Thank you to our current staff: Graphic Artist/Designer Robin Harms, Webmaster Michael Emerson, Reporter/Photographer Cheryl Parker, Bookkeeper Donna Pint, Writer and Sales Associate Micah Knebel and Proofreader Laura Bengston.

Thank you to everyone reading this.
It's been a long run. And it's time to be finished, and to enjoy family time – and maybe some more travels with Dee.

Yours in service,
Kim Edward Adams