Remembering a loyal reader

November 03, 2023

When I began my tenure as publisher more than three years ago, we were in the beginning stages of a pandemic that changed everything.

That first year — 2020 — was a challenge professionally and personally. Dealing with the loss of my mom, coupled with managing this newspaper, presented a roller coaster ride those first 12 months. Times of uncertainty resulted in tears and triumph.

During those first few months, one of our readers — Joyce Hubbard — would call the paper often and just talk about the current events. She always shared her thoughts with myself, Becky Brown or Libby Horn. She loved receiving the paper each week and loved reading the newspaper. Many times when she didn’t receive her paper in the mail, she would call and one of us would take her a copy considering she wasn’t able to leave her home.

Getting to her home on Guynn Road wasn’t an easy task. I missed the turn several times before finally figuring out how to get to her driveway and to her home, tucked away and mostly hidden from the main highway. I believe her mailman had the same issue a time or two.

Without any means of transportation, she kept up with her community through the Citizen and was a big fan of our newspaper. She didn’t have a computer or the internet. I remember telling Joyce one time how much better off she was by not having a connection to the outside world through the means of modern technology. She still had a landline phone and used it when she called the paper.

I enjoyed my conversations with Joyce. We may not have agreed on everything, but I listened to her, she listened to what I had to say and we formed a bond. During the early days of the pandemic, a former nurse, Joyce was very concerned about the virus and wanted her friends and neighbors to stay safe. She wasn’t a fan of people gathering at the time and we often had conversations about how we could go about our daily lives without being fearful.

She called the paper often and had routine conversations with Becky and Libby about anything and everything. She brought her knowledge and wisdom into those discussions and we all enjoyed every minute of those conversations with Joyce.

I noticed recently that Joyce had not called the paper in a few months. She passed away Sunday at the age of 90 after a stay at the Hospice Compassionate Care Center in Richmond.

I never will forget those talks with her in our former location on Chestnut Street. I’m thankful for readers like Joyce, who appreciate our product and understand the importance of true journalism that’s hard to find in this era of opinionated voices.

Like I did with Joyce, my door is always open and just a phone call away.

phil malicote