Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to both the Mansfield Mirror and the Douglas County Herald. As noted, the writer, David Pitts, gave us permission to share it with all of you. Both Pitts and his wife, Sue, are Ava natives, and David is retired from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Larry Dennis, to whom the letter is addressed, recently retired from the Mansfield Mirror after a career of 60 years.
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David’s letter: Following is an excerpt from a personal letter that I sent to Larry Dennis. Please feel free to print it or parts of it as you deem appropriate.
David E. Pitts
Mr. Larry Dennis,
Editor, Mansfield Mirror…RETIRED?
Dear Friend, Larry,
Where did they go? How did they pass so fast? What happened to them?
Of course, it’s the sixty years I’m talking about. Keith Moore in today’s Douglas County Herald told: “The Mansfield Mirror published a newspaper last week without Larry Dennis—for the first time in 60 years.” Gee, Larry! That’s nearly double the years I put in with the Missouri Department of Conservation and that seems like eons ago now as I think about it.
What a legacy you leave behind with all the news that you have covered through those many years in a truly professional manner, too, I will add. I can’t imagine having to deal with a weekly deadline to meet and you did it and still maintained your sanity somehow. No doubt that “somehow” was with our Living God watching over you.
While the rest of us only took it for granted, you were directly involved in the evolution of news print from the laborious typesetting days to the amazing world of digital printing. What a fascinating time it must have been to work and witness it all happening during one’s lifetime.
You were there working at the Mirror when Sue and I hit Mansfield in June 1967. Having grown up on a dairy farm east of Ava, I was a young very green Conservation Agent at the time. I always appreciated the way that you treated me as a professional, always accommodating with a welcome smile and a firm handshake.
I will always be thankful that the good folks in Wright County caused me to love every minute of my nearly five-year assignment there. While I did work the remainder of my career in southwest Missouri as a Wildlife Management Biologist, my thoughts returned very often to my first assignment in Mansfield remembering the many hard working folks that I continue to call my friends.
As I get older, the albums of pictures of things like our wild turkey release at the end of Highway EE bring back good memories. There in those old slides is a young news reporter, Larry Dennis, with black hair pointing his big old camera at the hens and gobblers as they flew away. The newspaper articles you wrote did a world of good to promote a positive image of what we were trying to accomplish with such a release. The birds have done well due to good publicity and we all gained from the experience.
You can be very proud of your many years of accomplishment. You leave behind a true legacy of professionalism. Sue and I wish you and Joyce the very best in your well-deserved retirement.
Sincerely your friend,
David E. Pitts