'Folksy' newspaperman helped define Yale
March 17, 2010
Some people like to make fun of the 'folksy" quality of small town newspapers.
Art Brown and I used to joke about it when we would see each other occasionally. Our visits were far too infrequent, but they often went a little like this....
"Hey, liked that story about the fella who put in a pickle patch and donated all the money he made back to charity," Art would tell me.
"Yep, good story, what are you working on over there in Yale?" I'd reply.
"Don't know if they will be as good as the pickle patch story, but we're working on a couple good ones," he'd tell me.
"City folks just don't get those kind of stories in their papers, do they?" I'd tell Art.
"No, they don't know what they're missing, do they?" Art would say, a little smile on his face.
Art loved his community of Yale and he loved his newspaper the Yale Expositor.
He became publisher of the paper in 1965, and I think he enjoyed every minute of it. Or at least he enjoyed as much as he could of it.
Art passed away recently and I have many fond memories of him. He was 79 years old. Art was a good man, a good small town newspaper man and in my book, that ranks pretty high.
It's not like Art and I were best friends, it's the fact that he made you feel like you were. A friendly man, quick to slap you on your back and compliment me on our newspaper.
"Looks good, keep up the good work," he'd often say.
Art was quick to challenge me with his beloved Yale Bulldog teams against any in Almont, Capac or Imlay City. A friendly rivalry, but a rivalry nonetheless.
He and his wife of 49 years, Bonnie, ran the newspaper side-by-side. Art would sell the ads, and did some printing on the side. They made a good team.
Art and Bonnie understood that by reporting the daily life events of local people, newspapers serve an important function in community life. Small town papers, like the Yale Expositor can reflect, affirm and even help build a positive community atmosphere.
Art helped local citizens define what it means to be a member of a local community. A community he grew up in, played high school sports in, fought for in the military, volunteered for, coached, served in many ways and one he was so very proud of.
Art's list of accomplishments in Yale are long.
Art understood his newspaper must report about the events in common peoples' lives. Awards, graduations, college enrollment, military promotions, hospital stays, achievements of any kind, reunions and of course weddings, births and deaths.
His newspaper reported the bad news, but like any good community newspaper it reported more good news.
He leaves a healthy legacy for all small town newspaper people to follow.
I'll miss those all too infrequent conversations with Art Brown.
Randy Jorgensen has been with the Tri-City Times since 1980, he lives in Imlay City and is active in many community organizations. Randy enjoys the outdoor sports and travel. His columns are generally of life experiences with a touch of humor.