Sunday, October 09, 2016

There were 27 former and current BJ employees at Sunday’s party at Papa Joe’s on Akron-Peninsula Road.

There were a lot of smiles, laughter and recollections of their days in Ol’ Blue Walls.

Retired photographer Ott Gangl led a German beer drinking song with wife Ann at his side.

Tom Moore, daughter Amy
George Davis, who covered Stark County for the BJ for decades, was there with wife Murleen.

Roger Mezger was there with wife Ann.

Al Fitzpatrick, involved in Knight-Ridder’s attempts to increase staff diversity for decades, was at Papa Joe’s with his wife and daughter for dinner. He heard familiar voices and came in and chatted from table to table.

Retired photographer Bill Hunter brought photos from the old days. I brought one of the three lights I have from the old BJ tower, after it was torn down (I also have a brick from that hallowed tower).

It was good to share a meal again with Bob Dyer, who has been named Ohio Columnist of the Year so many times that I've lost count. For two decades we were BJ Blue Room food buddies. Bob has since switched to brown-bagging it. Probably a good health move.

Bob, Hunter and Charles Montague gravitated toward each other and the same table, and I'm sure some interesting conversation bounced around there.

Tom Moore took time off from being a conductor on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to show up with his daughter, Amy.

Mike Williams, who survived ad makeup life with the late Johnny Grimm, was there with wife Jane Speiss Williams. They'll be heading to Chile via a cruise soon. As Jane reported:  "Nice group. Lots of stories shared."

The late Fran Murphey's name came up in some of the tales of the good ol' days. So did the late Connie Bloom, who went from Features Department editor and pet columnist to Ohio's premier fabric art (guilt) guru.

Retired reporter Russ Musarra came without his wife, Beverly, who was busy with other commitments.

Betsy Lammerding, my former Features Department co-worker, also was there.

So were retirees from the Finance Department, Neil Sheinin and wife Cheryl Scott Sheinin and others. That's Neil talking to Betsy in the photo montage.

Mark Price, who does excellent writing about the history of our area, found a perfect place to party -- surrounded by folks who ARE a part of BJ history.

The common refrain: We need to do this more often.

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