Review staff and AWNA
Long-time readers of newspapers in Rimbey were saddened by the news that former publisher John (Jack) Parry passed away on July 30, 2008 at the age of 88 in Sidney, British Columbia where he resided with his wife Olive.
Parry was born in Leduc and graduated from high school there at the age of 14. After employment in retail, Jack with his wife purchased a grocery store in Rimbey, which they operated for a number of years before going into the newspaper business.
“I was very little when he went into the newspaper business,” recalled his daughter Diane Assinger in a recent telephone interview from her home in Red Deer. “Previously – at least I think it was previous, he also wrote a column called, Casey Goes to Bat, which is how his association with Charlie Worton and the newspaper probably started.”
Assinger speculated that the idea for the title of her father’s column, which focused on issues of importance in and around Rimbey, came to him following a local baseball game. A short time later, Parry entered into a partnership with Worton who was the publisher of the Rimbey Record at that time and eventually led to Parry buying out Worton in 1958.
In addition to the local paper, Parry also published the Eckville Examiner and the Sylvan Lake News until his retirement in 1986.
“There was a big old one in the basement – there was some smaller ones too for job work, but I vaguely remember when they got the room ready down there for the huge, big press and creating their own type out of lead,” said Assinger who also ended up working for her father, albeit on a part-time basis. “I also remember them talking about Dad’s wonderful staff as well. As kids, we used to go in and fold those big, broadsheet papers. I started at about nine-years old and I’m sure my brother and sister started at around that age as well, for 35 cents an hour. We used to get our friends to come out and help and we would fold the papers in the basement.”
She said she could fondly recall the amount of work her father put into the business – especially when things went wrong, and also how much time he gave back to the community through volunteer efforts.
“I remember when the press broke down and it meant working all night to get the paper out. I can also remember many, many early hours for my father and the deadline – the deadline was always very important,” she said. “When he wasn’t working he was busy with community stuff as well and very active with the local Lions Club which was one of the most important and enjoyable things he did. I have so many memories of those Lions and all the great things they did to help people out, cheer people up and all the other great things they did.”
While Parry went on to a number of prestigious positions in the publishing industry, his daughter said he always had a place in his heart for this community, and she does too.
“I’m very happy dad chose Rimbey and that he had such a successful career with the paper. We have good memories of that place and I know he certainly did and missed it a lot when he moved away,” Assinger said. “Dad really enjoyed the challenge of that newspaper and he really enjoyed being in Rimbey.”
During his 32 years in the newspaper business, Parry was very active on the boards for the Alberta Newspapers Association (AWNA), the Western Regional Newspapers, and the Canadian Weekly Newspapers Association (CWNA) and served as president of the AWNA from 1960 to 1961 and the CWNA from 1971 to 1972.
Involved in setting up the journalism course at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary, Parry sat on the advisory committee for a number of years and the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association recognized him with the Bill Draayer Award for outstanding contribution to the progress and development of the Association.
Personally, Parry was active in many community organizations in Rimbey including the United Church, the Lions Club, the Chamber of Commerce, Town Council, the Rimbey Historical Society, and the volunteer fire department. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge and the Order of Eastern Star.