Longtime Telegraph employees remember former publisher

(Tyler Morning Telegraph) - Friends and former colleagues describe longtime Tyler newspaper publisher Calvin Nelson Clyde Jr. as a man who cared about people.

Clyde, 92, died Sunday in Tyler. He was publisher of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, the former afternoon paper the Tyler Courier-Times and the Sunday Tyler Courier-Time--Telegraph, sustaining a family tradition in journalism that continues today. Those who worked with him shared some of their memories.

Roy Houston, 80, worked in the press room at the newspaper.

He described Clyde, who was in the U.S. Navy when he met him, as "one of the ace pistol shooters in East Texas."

"We would travel for pistol meets, target practices," he said. "We went on from there through the years. I would take him different places. ... We went to pistol meets then would go to different places with chili cook-offs."

He said Clyde helped him a lot and did a lot of things for his family.

Additionally, when Clyde was around, "there would be something good happening," Houston said.

Dorothy Bickerdike, 78, served as a retail display advertising executive and has numerous memories of Clyde. But she said one that sticks out involves aluminum cans.

She said she was saving aluminum cans for her grandsons so they could sell them, and everyone in the department was saving them for her. When she returned from a vacation, she said, cans were waiting for her thanks to Clyde.

"I found out when I was gone no one was saving them, and one day he looked in wastebaskets in classifieds and other places and he had a fit. He said, 'Are y'all not saving cans for Dorothy?' and he made sure they got those cans together and got them ready for me," Ms. Bickerdike said.

She also recalled a time when her sister-in-law visited the newspaper office.

Ms. Bickerdike said her sister-in-law waited on her as she completed work and later asked about the man who had come around with a big can of popcorn.

She said, "'He was so nice. What is his job?' I said, 'He owns the place,' and she was real amused about it," she said.

Additionally, she said she remembers that Clyde was still at work almost every day after he retired.

"He never did retire. He kept coming in like he always had," Ms. Bickerdike said.

She also described Clyde as "quite colorful" and said he "was always a real good person" to her.

"One day it was just he and I sitting, and I said, 'I want to tell you something. I've worked all these years and don't have one gripe to say about the newspaper,'" Ms. Bickerdike said, and he told her he didn't have complaints about her, either.

"He was real happy with me," she said.

Ms. Bickerdike said Clyde also loved recipes and chili and was interested in people's lives.

Leonard Thompson, 76, spent more than half a century working for Clyde.

He said Clyde was a godsend and helped him when his wife got sick.

Clyde also gave him good advice and was instrumental in his education, Thompson said.

He was "always showing me how to do things (and) gave me a position at the newspaper," he said.

"He didn't have to do it, but he saw something in me, (and) I tried not to let him down."

As far as the employees, he said Clyde was "always for us."

"He'd get on you sometimes about things, but he was always right. When you analyzed what he was getting onto you about, it turned out it was always for the best," Thompson said.

He said he still has an Emmett Scott school coin bank that Clyde gave him on his bookcase.

JD Osborn, 68, served as vice president of administration and on the board of directors.

He said he enjoyed working with Clyde.

"He was a tremendous leader. He had the greatest insight to any situation ... He could just come up with these spontaneous one-liners that would ease everybody's minds, and you'd just go on," Osborn said.

He added, "Not only did he know governors and presidents. He knew his employees, and they were his family."

Osborn said the greatest thing he learned from Clyde was to listen to people.

He said Clyde could be outspoken as far as his positions but would "give you the shirt off his back."

"It didn't matter who you were," Osborn said.

He also recalled that Clyde "trusted people" and "gave everyone the benefit of the doubt."

"Loved the man," he said.

Memorial services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Marvin United Methodist Church, according to Clyde's obituary.


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