In my near two decades at the West Central Tribune, I have been fortunate to work with many great newspaper people. The Tribune is renowned for its legacy of a long-time newspaper staff.
In recent months, the Tribune family has lost two long-time former employees.
Shelby Kingman, 82, who died March 12, had worked for the Tribune for 30 years. Forest Honebrink, 93, who died in late October, had worked for the Tribune for 50 years.
They were among the most dedicated newspaper employees I have had the good fortune to know in my Willmar career. After each of them retired, they continued to stop by the newspaper on a regular basis and would often stop by my office.
I will definitely miss those visits.
Honebrink worked in prepress and made sure the classified and other pages were always ready by deadline for the next day’s papers. Nothing ever got by him.
He also had a love for classic cars. Honebrinks's wife, Theresa VanRosendal Honebrink, who died in 2015, also worked at Tribune for five decades.
One of the first things I learned when I joined the West Central Tribune in late 2001, our newspaper hit the deadline — no matter what. Honebrink and Kingman were part of that Tribune culture that made sure our newspaper always made the deadline.
Shelby Kingman was a long-time member of the Tribune staff. A talented musician and an Arkansas native, Kingman began his newspaper career first at the Washington Times and later the Washington Post in the 1960s and 1970s.In the early 1970s, Kingman and his wife, Carol “Kelly” Olson, made the decision to move their family back to west-central Minnesota, Olson’s native state, to raise their family. They lived first in Raymond for a short time, then Willmar and, finally, in New London.
Kingman worked at the West Central Tribune as a compositor and later as the information technology director. He was good at his job in the newspaper industry. He also started under O.B. Augustson's ownership and continued under Forum Communications.
I met Kingman on my first job interview at the West Central Tribune. I soon learned he knew a bit about hockey and loved motorcycles. So I fit right in with the office coffee group.
Kingman directed the technology at the Tribune and he was good at the deployment of new systems as well as solving problems when they popped up. He was also often sent to other Forum Communication Co. sites to help with technology installations.
I had the good fortune to attend a music concert of one of our favorite bands — The Eagles — with Kingman and his two sons, Shelby Jr. and Jim Kingman. It is one of my best memories of my time at the Tribune. Kingman was a renowned musician in west-central Minnesota himself. Plus we were both long-time fans of another Arkansas musician — Johnny Cash.
Most importantly, Honebrink and Kingman were good newspaper associates. They did their utmost to make sure the newspaper got out on time in order to be delivered promptly to our subscribers.
And they were not afraid to come to my office to share a little advice when they thought the newspaper could do better. I always appreciated their concern.
Both men were gentlemen and solid newspapermen. It has been my good fortune to know both during my time here in Willmar.
Kelly Boldan has been editor of the West Central Tribune since October 2001.