When I was reading Add Penfield’s obituary in the Index-Journal on June 26, I had my memory jogged a little bit when I saw, “he was struck by a stroke while writing a headline.” Then, when I saw what former Index-Journal editor Patricia Edwards wrote on her Facebook page, I had to think about the events of that day a little harder.
On June 26, Edwards wrote, “Am very sad this morning: just found out one of my mentors -- Add Penfield -- died Wednesday ... I was in the newsroom the day. Add had his heart attack at The Index-Journal and was lucky enough to remain his friend across the miles.”
I thought it was a series of heart attacks that took Penfield from us at the Index-Journal. Really, it doesn’t matter if it was a stroke or heart attack. It was sad to watch medics treat him as they wheeled him from the newsroom to the ambulance before driving off to Self Regional.
I, like Edwards, was in the newsroom that morning. I can assure you it was the scariest day I ever spent in the newsroom.
The Index-Journal was an afternoon paper back then, so we all rallied to get a newspaper out that afternoon.
Within about a span of a year or so, Penfield, David Hays and I, all joined the staff of the Index-Journal. Hays and I were the Index-Journal sports department. Penfield was in the newsroom as associate managing editor.
Because of his long history in newspapers covering sports, Penfield was constantly talking about the games he loved with Hays and me. He was a wealth of information.
Some of the best times we had were when Hays and I would head out to Rick’s Barbecue for a pre-game meal of barbecue, hash and whatever else was on the food line that day, before heading off to our high school football games. Penfield would be there right with us, although he didn’t cover games. Penfield had a love for barbecue that ran as deep as his love for sports.
The obituary also noted “during his later years, he took great personal pride in following the professional progress of reporters who at one time or another were under his tutelage.”
I don’t know how many of us did the same with him. I would follow what he was doing on Facebook and this year I sent him a message on his birthday, the first and only time I have done so.
Edwards, who is general manager and content editor for Civitas Media, also wrote, “That man taught me so much about being a journalist and how to deal with deadlines. Have to admit I got the pica stick to the palm more than I would have liked but his lessons stayed with me long after the sting subsided.”
Several other former Index-Journal reporters posted remembrances of Penfield.
Former Index-Journal editor and present senior recruitment specialist at Santa Fe College in Florida Stacey Shelton Ledvina wrote to Edwards on Facebook, “Oh, Patricia. What a wonderful man he was. He was a kind and gentle teacher and was so supportive. He was the glue that kept us all together. So many fond memories.”
Chase Squires, communications and public relations manager at Investment Management Consultants Association near Denver, wrote of Facebook, “Just wanted to share how grateful I am that Add took the time to teach a rookie about newspapering. I was only with him a short while, but his lessons sent me off on a rewarding career.”
No matter how long we were with him, we all benefited from having shared a newsroom with Penfield, as did the community. Thanks, Mr. P.
Sitarz can be reached at 864-943-2529 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.