T-G's Morris Winfrey has seen many changes in 50 years

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Morris Winfrey has kept his co-workers at the Times-Gazette smiling for 50 years. (T-G Photo by Jason Reynolds)

Morris Winfrey has been making the Times-Gazette a fun place to work for five decades.

In other words, Winfrey has been cutting up with his co-workers and newspaper vendors and customers for half a century.

The T-G held a reception Tuesday to honor Winfrey's milestone. Bedford County Mayor Eugene Ray presented him with a proclamation to mark the occasion, using words like "Dedicated employee. Loyal employee. Outstanding achievement."

Bedford County Mayor Eugene Ray reads a proclamation Tuesday in honor of Winfrey's reaching the 50-year mark at the T-G. (T-G Photo by Jason Reynolds)

Publisher Hugh Jones presented Winfrey with a framed copy of the proclamation, including a photo of Winfrey early in his T-G career and current picture. Jones added comments praising his work, dedication and caring for readers, advertisers and his coworkers over the years of his tenure.

Winfrey's co-workers would agree.

"Having Morris as a team member in the circulation department is a gift," said his supervisor, circulation director Olene Standfield.

"He brings a friendly smile, great sense of humor and an eagerness to accomplish the task at hand. I can't imagine too many businesses have someone working in the same place for such a long time.

"I am glad we are celebrating his 50 years. I look forward to a few more years of working with Morris."

John I. Carney, city editor and 30-year employee, said, "Morris is one of those people that has a can-do attitude. He is someone you know you can rely on. If he says he is going to do it, you know he will do it."

Winfrey said he started working at the T-G in 1965 after high school (the old Wartrace High). Former Publisher Franklin Yates hired him. He started out working in the mail room, where he used a stencil machine to stamp newspapers with addresses prior to mailing them to customers.

Three retired 50-year Times-Gazette employees joined Morris Winfrey at Tuesday's ceremony. From left are Glenn Winchester, Winfrey, Joe Reed and Wilene Bomar. (T-G Photo by Jason Reynolds)

Fifty years brings a lot of changes to any workplace, and the Times-Gazette is no different. Winfrey eventually moved to the darkroom at a time when film was still used. He developed 35 mm film and used the darkroom's enlarger when newspaper pages were developed from negatives. After that technology changed, Winfrey said, he began adjusting digital photos.

"Progress, you might say, has done away with a lot of my jobs," he said.

Now, Winfrey's job includes working for the circulation department, where he services racks at stores and businesses in Bedford and Marshall counties for the Times-Gazette and sister newspaper the Marshall County Tribune. He distributes special publications for the newspapers as well. He also manages the T-G's archives.

Winfrey is skilled at building relationships with vendors, Standfield said.

Anyone who knows Winfrey knows he is a people person. "Cutting up" with vendors is one of his favorite things.

"I love the people here," he said. "I enjoy working with everybody."

Winfrey's wife of 44 years, Dianna, describes those years as "an adventure." They met in 1970 through a mutual friend, she said.

The couple has two adult sons, Ricky and Steven. Dianna said they have two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren: Evie, Justin and Jordan.

Winfrey said his main hobbies are target shooting and trading guns. Dianna added that they enjoy the "simple things," like nature and riding to take in scenery.

The couple attends First Church of the Nazarene.

"I enjoy Brother Ron (DeWitt)" Winfrey said. "He's a great guy. He's the same out of church as in."