Saturday, November 06, 2010

Richmond T-D ... an era passes with the death of Charley McDowell

Times-Dispatch editorial tribute to Charley McDowell....

The news announced in today's Richmond Times-Dispatch of the passing of columnist Charles McDowell, 84, was bittersweet. Sadness at his death was mixed with respect as I smiled at remembrances of his writings from my growing-up years.

Anyone who reads this space knows I grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area at a time when there were two newspapers, morning and afternoon. At our home in Bon Air, my parents would consume the paper from cover to cover, and often Mom would sit at the table as she read, chuckle to herself, and then read something she found interesting or comical out loud to those of us listening. When the family was riding together in our station wagon heading somewhere on a trip, Mom would read parts of the paper to us. It was an education for my sisters and me in reading, writing, English, current events, the social whirl of Richmond, and politics although, admittedly, I was not into politics at that time other than overhearing my parents discuss candidates and issues.

Columnist Charles McDowell was part of the newspaper education that we received. He was funny and, to young people, that is a plus when trying to get them to listen. He was part of the Times-Dispatch from 1954 until his retirement in 1998, which was a long time ... but people used to be more loyal to their employers than they are today (and perhaps employers were more loyal to their employees). Charley McDowell was one of the pillars of the Times-Dispatch/Media General family. I liked his gentle way of handling politics far better than today's in-your-face anger and personal attacks.

While reading the article about his death, I learned many things I didn't know before about him including that he had ties to the Shenandoah Valley, and that is where he will be laid to rest. It is with gratitude that I thank Mr. McDowell for a job well done.

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