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Who will influence your life?

When former Peabody Gazette-Bulletin editor and publisher Bill Krause died this past week, our community lost one of its best. Although I certainly knew him in his capacity as an editor, I never worked with him or even spent much time discussing the business of journalism with him. I fired off several letters to the editor over the years, but that was as close as I got to the job I have now.

My memories of Bill Krause go way back to 1970, shortly after we moved to Peabody. I took a little part-time secretarial job with the Peabody Chamber of Commerce, and he was one of about six or eight directors, serving as president a time or two as well. I just tagged along, typed letters, took minutes, and wrote checks.

This was during the years of the really big celebrations on July Fourth, including the Centennial and Bicentennial years. He was part of a group that put on a wonderful party every summer. They were enthusiastic and tireless in their support and promotion of Peabody. Planning for the next celebration almost always started on July 5, it was that big a deal. They worked hard to have the best parade, the best activities all day at the park, the best concessions and carnival, and of course, the best fireworks show! They rarely met a new idea they didn’t like.

You would have to check with Bobbie Saylor at Sharon’s Korner Kitchen to be sure about this, but I think he was one of the guys who convinced her once to portray the Statue of Liberty — draped in some shiny fabric and standing on a pedestal, right out there amidst the “bombs bursting in air.” Although they all thought it was one new idea well worth developing, I don’t think Bobbie ever gave an encore performance.

I know Bill served on the Board of Education several times and on the City Council as well. I also remember that he ran for Congress against Dan Glickman. How’s that for a measure of chutzpa? The evening of the day he filed, someone hooked a hay wagon to tractor and large contingent of Peabody Republicans rode around town waving flags and signs and playing kazoos. Glickman won, but we knew we had the peoples’ candidate!

Bill was a good newspaperman for this community. He covered every imaginable civic meeting, most school events, and he gamely accepted stories from those of us who thought we probably had something of great importance to share. He was patient and careful with us; knowing that his paper carried our news, but that we also were his friends and neighbors. He highlighted our births and deaths, club reports, bowling scores, big weddings and birthday parties for two-year olds, bridge clubs, youth and school events, great moments, police blotters, and more incidentals than even I can imagine.

And often, he just let us have a moment. When the Married Daughter was a junior in high school, the Lady Warriors basketball team was 1-39 for the previous two years (ouch). Early that season they came up against the formidable Chase County Monster Women who were ranked about First in the World. The game was four quarters of lead changes and thunderous noise with everyone in the house on their feet. Our girls won by a bucket in a couple of overtimes.

It was a Tuesday and when we got back to Peabody, I called Bill at home and begged him to rearrange his front page to accommodate at least a headline for this important feat. I know I got him out of bed. He grumbled. He sighed as he took the information. He grumbled again. But the next day, there it was on the front page with a reference to the full story coming in the next edition. He gave them their moment.

Would I do that today? I don’t know — I hope I would, but I think he was wiser than I ever will be. I started this column with the comment that I never had the chance to work with Bill Krause in the world of journalism and I will end it acknowledging that it is my loss.

— Susan Marshall

Last modified Dec. 15, 2011

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