SOUNDOFF: Neil inspired new publisher

I’d like to share with our readers how much Dorothy Neil meant to me.

When I first became publisher of the Whidbey News-Times, Dorothy would stop in my office once a week to shake her shillelagh at me and tell me what I needed to do to make the paper better. She told me to hire Jim Larsen – good advice I followed. She told me to be strong and hold tight to my convictions especially when my convictions conflicted with those of our local politicians. We talked a lot about politics among other things, but the best advice she gave to me was to LOVE Whidbey Island. And, if I truly do, my heart will always lead me to do the right thing.

Dorothy shared many stories with me about her days as a reporter and editor for the News-Times. She wears the time she spent in jail as a badge of honor, as well she should. At the end of each of these weekly visits filled with sage advise and stories of her past exploits, she would always leave me with one of her infamous corny jokes and walk out the door laughing.

On her 90th birthday I told her that I hoped that Sound Publishing would still want me around when I’m 90. She was quick to reply with “Why, are you crazy too?”

I miss her weekly visits to the office. I hope and pray that she would be proud of me, and everyone at the News-Times, that we heed her advice and follow her wisdom.

Whenever someone asks me who has inspired me professionally, I always reply “Katherine Graham, Cokie Roberts and Dorothy Neil.”

Along with all of Whidbey Island, I will miss her and always remember her with gratitude.

Marcia Van Dyke is publisher of the Whidbey News-Times

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