Goodbye to a newsroom cornerstone

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SHE was born in an era where women were not recognized in the world of business, especially when it meant putting themselves in to situations that could be dangerous. Ida Anelle “Nell” Dugan was given a gift and she learned to use that gift wisely.

That gift was the ability to weave facts into stories and journalism became her forte.

It began in high school when one of Nell’s friends convinced her to take a journalism class so they would have enough students for the class. Shortly after, the friend dropped out, but Nell was hooked and her life-long fascination with journalism grew. She attended West Texas State College in her home town of Canyon and began her writing career with two papers in the local area.

It was only when she attempted to branch out into larger publications did she realize the burden of being a woman in this particular field. One letter of rejection she received was from the Amarillo Globe News. The publisher plainly stated “we have no openings which could be filled by women.” The letter did little to daunt her determination though and in 1966 Nell was hired by the Kilgore News Herald where she remained until retirement in 1999.

“She was a darn good woman for a little ole panhandle gal that picked up and relocated to North East Texas,” said Jerry Rosegrant, KPD patrol officer at the time of her hiring. “She adapted well and got to know as many people as possible; tried her best to become friends. She was very honest and forthcoming with all news reports whether it was personal, church or commercial news. She was a good friend, too. Several of us kept track of each other and started notifying each other if not heard from for a while. Nell was considered one of us and helped keep track.”

“She told it like it was,” he added. “To my knowledge she didn’t ever divulge information she was not supposed to. She and Mary Meador were two of the most prominent female reporters in East Texas and neither tried to use politics to push another aside to get the first word in. Nell kept her writing unbiased… neutral and provided news so everybody could understand.”

The late Chief Dick Headen often told others, “Nell earned my respect and the respect of many in this community. She was fair and if told to sit on some information until otherwise, you couldn’t pry it out of her. In later years, they were seen at restaurants enjoying a good laugh of things told as well as not.

On September 1, 1993, Nell married James Jones of Longview, who had six children: Mary, Judy, Ronnie, Ed, Daniel and Gene.

“These are my children,” she would say proudly with a wave of a hand.

Nell suffered her first stroke while still working at KNH. It affected her right side and she would have none of that. She taught herself how to write with her left hand and continued to work several years.

As the years passed after her retirement, Nell would make it a point to save me a seat at annual functions. She let me know in a hurry, she was still on top of the news world and quizzed me thoroughly about recent topics. Her keen eyes were always observant, watching every move and her mind as quick and sharp as ever.

Nell served in many capacities as a long-time member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had a fondness for working in the Family History Center.

One of her friends, Trudy Hester said, “When asked, Nell always told you she was doing ‘fantastic;’ when her health became bad, she changed it to say ‘good’.”

Nell died on November 19. I was one of the few fortunate enough to have seen her a few short days prior. It was a “good” day. Out of respect for her, I closed my notebook in front of her and had a visit for a lifetime. She was Nell, observant and true to her nature asking questions and laughing. At her service, held on Saturday, November 24, presiding and conducting the service was Charles Schroeder.

“Nell,” he said, “was very stubborn, she did it her way and her way was right.” That was Nell and rightfully, so. She spent a lifetime making sure of that and in the long run earned respect as a journalist, Christian, wife, mother and friend. The letter of rejection she kept her entire lifetime. It evidently added ‘fuel to the fire’ and kept her motivated to be all she could be.

WITH news of the GM layoffs and plant shutdowns announced on Cyber Monday, we reached out to our local dealership to question the impact.

“Over the last two years, there has been a shift away from sedans to small and mid-size SUV’s,” said Tim Capps, operator/owner of the Gabriel/ Jordan Buick GMC in Kilgore, TX. “The shut-downs are a cost reduction step and bolstered by the volume of sales with the SUV’s. There should be little to no impact locally with this shift. The level of service at our Service Department and availability of parts won’t change,” he said. If you have any questions, contact him by e-mail at TimCapps@GabrielJordan.com.

THAT SANTA is all over this town. He can even be found on December 11 at the Back Porch restaurant from 5-6:30 p.m.

CHARLIE WHITESIDE, we missed the Holiday Tour of Homes in Grapevine! It is always the first and second weekend in November. That is old stomping grounds for Charlie and he wanted to make sure we saw the beauty. Of course, Grapevine is filled with other activities throughout December. Check them out at GrapevineTexasUSA.com.

You don’t want to forget Liberty City’s Christmas Parade is this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on Old Hwy. 135. You will want to return during the evening throughout the season and take the drive through the Hugh Camp Memorial Park to see the Christmas lights. It is such a delight.

May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes Throughout the Week. We may be reached at chitchatlinda@aol.com or 903-984-2593.

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