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Production manager retires after 51 years

Staff writer

One of the most familiar faces at the Marion County Record, Melvin Honeyfield, 66, retired Tuesday after 51 years with Hoch Publishing Co.

Honeyfield learned to cope with major technological upgrades in publishing during his career — from hot type, to cold type, to desktop publishing.

Technology has also changed photography and printing.

Honeyfield was beginning his sophomore year at Marion High School in 1968 when Marion County Record editor Bill Meyer hired him to work as a “printer’s devil.” He worked after school and on weekends.

His job was to tear down pages, melt metal, cast ad mats, and do whatever else the editor needed.

His senior year, he enrolled in work study and worked at the paper half days during the week. The extra money helped get him through school, he said, providing such things as clothes, a yearbook, and a class ring.

He graduated in May 1971 and wanted to attend a Christian college.

“I couldn’t get enough money to go to Oklahoma Christian College in Oklahoma City, but my pastor found financing for me to go to York College in York, Nebraska,” he said.

Honeyfield was prepared to return to college for a second year when Meyer called him and hired him to sell advertising.

The hours were long, especially on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Thursdays were spent doing print jobs.

He sometimes worked 48 hours without a break, especially when learning a new system, such as when the company switched to offset plates from hot type.

“It was nice to get away from chemicals,” he said.

He semi-retired at 63, but sometimes still has had long days at the office. He is glad to be retired full-time.

Honeyfield looks back with satisfaction on the work he did.

“It lets you be creative,” he said. “I knew the community, and I knew we were recording local history.

“We were kind of a family. We spent more time together at work than with our own families. We pulled together as a team.”

Honeyfield got involved in helping people in the community.

He took one of the first emergency medical technician classes that were offered in the county in the 1980s. He was on call two days a week and one weekend a month and received $5 a run, with $10 for a run to Wichita.

“I enjoyed that,” he said. “It was tough to deal with the wrecks, though, and you often felt that people’s lives were in your hands.”

He has a soft spot in his heart for people who volunteer as first responders, EMTs, and firefighters.

“Volunteers give up a lot more than most people realize,” he said.

He was a member of Marion’s Lions Club for many years, and served as treasurer. He also served on the Florence Labor Day committee and was chairman for several years. He represented the committee at Florence Chamber of Commerce meetings.

Honeyfield is Master Mason of the Centre Lodge at Marion and is a member of the lodge at Florence.

He has enjoyed trips to California, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, and Colorado, and is hoping to do some more traveling.

“I want to go back to Montana,” he said.

He is looking forward to a relaxed lifestyle. He plans to get caught up on jobs around the house, do some fishing, and watch his great-nieces play ball.

Honeyfield has fond memories of his boss.

“Bill was a great guy to work for,” he said. “He did a lot of things for the community that a lot of people don’t realize. He was fair and honest.”

Last modified Dec. 30, 2019

 

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