Tim Timmons | Crawfordsville, IN

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December 14, 2017

9/6/2013 10:09:00 AM
New chapter for local newspaper
Two Cents, by Tim Timmons


How do you say goodbye to a legend?

That's the dilemma I have today. The man I have admired for so many years, the man who has been the voice of sports in Noblesville, has left The Times. Don Jellison is gone.

I have told many people, and written in this space, that Don has been my newspaper hero. I started reading him back in the 1960s. I couldn't wait to get home each day and read the exploits of Reel, Duckwall, Farmer, Shepard, Hobbs, Glenn, Herrmann, Coomer, Lytle and on and on. Don had a way, a style, to how he told the story. He literally had as much to do with me wanting to be a newspaper man as anything else while I was growing up.

When I was a newspaper editor in North Carolina, I used to have the young pups in the newsroom read some of Don's old columns. One of them said to me one day that my writing style was a bit like Jellison's. I don't believe I've ever had a bigger compliment before or since.

If this was still those old days, we'd say that Don packed up his typewriter and moved on. I'm not sure if he's got a laptop (I suspect he does not), but he indeed has headed out the door. Don's son, Jeff, started a newspaper in Sheridan about eight months ago and Don told me he is joining him. There're also some other rumors. All I can go by is what Don told me.

Besides, how can you stop a father from helping a son?

Well, I tried. Sorry, but I'm selfish that way.

It didn't work and Don's taken his talents to parts north and west and elsewhere. Speaking as a guy who started a newspaper company almost 10 years ago, I hope they know what they're getting into. It's harder than it looks.

But the purpose of today's blabbering isn't to whine about the state of the newspaper world. It's simply to pay tribute to Don.

In short, I don't believe we'll see many like him ever again.

Don had a voice that cut through the clutter and the bull-puckey and got straight to the heart of the matter. He called a spade a spade and in the process became the catalyst for change. Don has the ability to ask the tough question in a way that many journalists never learned. Instead of getting slapped or hung up on, Don can get a school or public official to talk to him. He can get answers where others can't. The reader and the community are better for that.

It probably isn't a surprise to some of you to hear that Don wasn't the easiest person to manage. The best never are. He's demanding and grumpy and not all that open to compromise. But you know what? Even though we didn't always agree (that might be an understatement), I couldn't fault his motivation. He truly wanted what he believed to be the best for the paper. How can anyone argue with that?

It's odd to think that Don will, in some ways, be a competitor now. That's OK. The newspaper world is fairly small and we always welcome anyone who wants to join. We wish him and his all the best and say thanks for the memories. As for The Times, Don would get a chuckle out of the fact that we're not going to hire one replacement for him. Nor two. We're adding three people to our staff and we'll do our best to bring you the finest sports section we can. It's only fitting since there's no place else like Hamilton County for high school sports.






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