My first job out of college was a gig at a Watertown Times bureau in St. Lawrence County, which was, at the time, a desk in the office of the Ogdensburg Journal.
When I got there, Chuck Kelly was on his way out the door after a long career in the business to retirement.
Talking to folks in the city about the impending retirement of Chuck, the longtime editor of the Journal, quickly showed my ignorance of the history of the city and its daily newspaper. He'll never retire, they said.
A year and a half later, Chuck has written his final column, the one reason a digital native like myself would ever pick up the ink-and-dead tree version of the Advance News.
Chuck's year-and-a-half retirement tour is nearing an end. I suppose "never" retiring is impossible, but if anyone is going to try it, it's Chuck. His weekly submissions to the Advance News might be over, but his presence in Ogdensburg and the legend he built for himself there will continue to loom large.
Chuck wants to be remembered as the "biggest paperboy in St. Lawrence County." He tells anybody who will listen that he'll hand-deliver a paper that fails to make it to a reader's doorstep.
He wasn't my direct editor, but he'd often offer guidance on whom to call and what to look for. It was often unsolicited, but that's just the way Chuck is. Decades older than me, Chuck somehow managed to show up for work more often than I did.
The encomiums for Chuck will continue to roll in, for the second time. After his first retirement, in the fall of 2010, we threw a party for Chuck that led more than one person — Chuck included — to joke that he'd been able to attend his own wake. This seems to be the last retirement in the works, though.
The state Senate has passed a resolution memorializing the man. It was introduced by state Sen. Patty Ritchie, a Republican who is from Ogdensburg.
Here's the text of the resolution, which expresses the opinion that Chuck is a really good guy: