After 16 years and 4 months as circulation manager for the West Virginia Daily News, Susan Wade is saying goodbye to her newspaper family.
Wade doesn’t call her departure a retirement, instead she said she made the tough decision to resign from her position to take care of her mother and to spend more time with her sister; her two daughters; her husband, Sherman; her “grandboys” Kaden, 12, and Jordan, 10, and the family’s pet terrier, Trixie.
“Family–that’s the reason I am doing what I am doing,” Wade stated. “I want to be with family.”
Growing up in Richlands, right beside Route 60 west of Lewisburg, Wade graduated from Greenbrier East High School in 1978. Before she came to work at the Daily News, she worked for an electric wholesale company and later spent 22 years as an assistant manager at Stone & Thomas, which later became Peebles, located at the Greenbrier Valley Mall.
To say the least, Wade is truly an unforgettable person. In her time at the Daily News, she has made a tremendous impact on those she has worked with. Her quick wit, her spot-on advice and her caring nature are just a few of her qualities that people will miss the most.
Numerous Daily News employees, both past and present, wanted to let her know how much she means to them as she begins the first step of her next journey. The following is just a sample of those who said they have benefitted from having Wade in their life:
Jeff Martin, former Valley Ranger circulation manager, said that Wade is a “wonderful person.”
“She is always honest with everybody and whether they are wrong or not, she will let them know,” he continued. “She has the biggest heart, but she would let them know if they were wrong on something.” That sometimes included telling the boss what they were doing wrong, Martin remembered with a laugh.
Wade is notorious for having a giant paddle that she uses around the office to dole out birthday “whippings,” but Martin said that she never got him with it.
“I think she tried to get me, but she didn’t, although I got her pretty good,” he laughed. “I don’t know if she remembers that, but I am sure she does.”
Heather Felts, who is taking the helm as circulation manager, stated that “Susan is one of my closest allies in this game of life.”
“She is a really great friend and I will miss everything about her–even her grouchiness,” she added with a laugh.
Scot Refsland, current owner/publisher, stated that he will miss how Wade “lays down the law in the press room.” He said that he would like to thank her for her “unwavering support and loyalty to the paper. It’s a privilege to have [her] as part of our distinguished alumni.”
Matthew Young, current editor, stated that he will miss Wade’s words of advice, especially when he is having a rough day.
“There are days when people tell me I am a terrible writer and there are days when they say I’m the worst editor the paper has ever had. And there are days, every so often, that I think maybe those people are right. And on those days, Susan will say “Don’t worry about it, kiddo. You’re doing fine. You can’t please everybody. Just keep doing what you are doing.”
Young stated he will still have those bad days, but now, he must face them without Wade offering her support.
“I’m going to miss that more than she probably knows . . . I’m going to be a little lost without her here.”
Susan Linton, current advertising manager, stated that she will miss having Wade sing her the Happy Birthday song. “It’s been a tradition for over 15 years.”
Aaron Coleman, current graphic designer, noted that “one standout moment was her prayer as we celebrated our first Christmas together as a new team at the Daily News. I will miss her thankful spirit.” He added “I’ve never seen anybody whip around an industrial forklift in the press room quite like Susan Wade. She has definitely earned her nickname ‘Swade’”.
Bobby Bordelon, current reporter, stated “I always loved how she didn’t complain about things that couldn’t be helped,” then highlighted that she didn’t complain to encourage everyone else to consider, but not necessarily follow, her lead on not complaining. “I try to do the same thing, and she’s got a great model to follow for that.”
Joyce Arbaugh, former typesetter and current “It Happened This Week” columnist, said “Susan is a jack-of-all-trades. There will be a big dent in the office when she is gone.”
She added that one of her favorite Susan Wade moments was listening to her when she would get mad and yell about something. “We could hear her through the walls and we would all just giggle about it. She ran her team like a well-oiled machine. She expected a lot out of people.”
At the end of the day, Arbaugh said Wade is a really fun person to be around and she is always laughing about something.
“She is my poo-poo head and I am her poodoodle britches,” Arbaugh joked. “I think the world of her.”
Jed Smith, current advertising representative, stated that his advice for Wade is to “Go on a road trip or something. Just don’t sit around. It is a big world.”
Sandy Holmes, current human resources lead, offered advice as well. “Don’t look back. You’re going into a ‘new’ chapter of your life. Run and enjoy. Take care of yourself for a change.” When asked to share her favorite Susan Wade memory, Holmes stated “The best story can’t be told because I like living.”
Ashley Dixon, current advertising representative, said that she will miss Wade’s singing of Happy Birthday. “You will have to call in and continue to do that.”
Justin Fox, current graphic designer, said he will miss Wade’s “honesty, bluntness and relatability. She reminds me of my own family–just an honest, hard working person.”
Theresa Flerx, current assistant editor, stated that she will miss Wade’s “sassy attitude.” As for advice, Flerx added “take that sassy attitude with you! And continue using it to make the best of every day! Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!”
Teresa Lewis, former classified ads organizer, said that when she first came to work for the newspaper, she was a little unsure as to whether she and Wade would hit it off.
“But then, the days turned into weeks and then into years. We had such a good working relationship,” Lewis said. “We worked together, but we also became friends. Leaving her was one of the hardest things of my departure. She was one of my favorite parts about the whole Daily News experience.”
“Susan is a good, good gal,” Lewis continued. “She is a jewel. I think about the reason she is leaving, to take care of her mother, and that’s just a little bit of how she cares for her family.”
As for Wade, she said she will miss being in contact with her coworkers, being out in public and simply helping people, especially those in the community and customers who would greet her in the front office.
Of all of Wade’s favorite Daily News memories, she said that “working with and getting to know Mark Estep” stands out in her mind. Estep was assistant circulation manager when he passed away in 2011.
“We got close and he knew my husband. They were friends. He would come and visit him and he would growl and say how rough I was on everyone,” Wade recalled, softening her voice with memories of the early days.
Even though Wade has been a tough leader, she said that she will miss all the carriers and crew–especially when they “behaved.” Each and every one of them have become an important part of her life, as well.
For her parting words, Wade said that she would remind everyone to “continue to be the great people that you are. Always use kindness and empathy with one another and with your public.”
She added that people should not be judgemental of others until you have walked a mile in their shoes.
From all of us at The West Virginia Daily News, past and present, we will miss you, Susan.