It’s hard to say goodbye

Sometimes you don’t miss something until it’s gone. We know everything changes. But still, when someone who has always been there is suddenly gone, they leave a big empty place.

Iva Stratton is retiring after 25 years as the office manager of this newspaper staff.

There are few employees who stay with a company for a quarter of a century. It is a rarity thesedays.

But she did.
She was always there, and while there had responsibility for a vast number of things. She did a lot more than managing accounts, taking ads, balancing books and juggling the daily demands of running an office. She was a problem solver and could be counted on to take up slack in almost any area of the paper’s operations.

I can seldom remember a time of coming in and not seeing her at her desk.

She is multi-talented, dependable, responsible and trustworthy.

When we did a photo shoot of a food page, she’d have to help set up the food for the shot, then double as a hand model for cake slicing or other food shots featuring hands.

If we were shorthanded and needed a photo, Iva would grab a camera and go.
She put together the special hunting and fishing section each year, getting interviews, selling ads, finding and sometimes writing great stories herself.

She counted the money, made the deposits, got the mail and, if needed, would even run a paper route.
We expected her to do everything, and she pretty much did.

It was an education to hear her on the phone collecting an overdue account. Always courteous and professional, she could get money from a turnip.

It isn’t unusual for a newspaper office to have the occasional crank drop by, and no matter how off the wall someone might be, she always handled them with grace.

She came in early and worked late. If need be, she’d even come in on her day off to get the work done.
I’ve seen her come to work with a broken foot, limping around the office, doing what had to be done, doing what nobody else could do and always getting the work done.

If the receptionist was out, she’d handle the phones.

She knew the ins and outs of the computer office programs and how to find things that were lost in space.
She never expected any special accolades for the contributions she made to the newspaper.

If there were such a thing as a newspaper Oscar, she would get it for delivering services above and beyond the call of duty.

But now Iva won’t be here anymore, and we will all have to get used to her absence. We will really miss her. She will leave more than a hole in our newspaper family. She will leave a hole in our hearts.