Lynn Brisendine

brisendineLynn Brisendine Obituary
Lynn Brisendine, longtime publisher of the Brownfield News and Seminole Sentinel, civic leader, and friend to many, died at 11 a.m. Saturday, October 14, 2017 at his home, surrounded by family and covered in love.

Brisendine’s passing ended an eight-year battle with numerous forms of cancer, each faced with the dignity and tenacity with which he lived his life. It was a life filled with countless stories, which he told with accuracy, flare, and the occasional embellishment, to the delight of anyone lucky enough to be in his company.
He was born November 30, 1946 to Ed and Naomi Brisendine in Amarillo, but was reared, graduated high school and began his 60-year newspaper career in Hereford.

At the age of 11, Lynn began throwing the Hereford and Amarillo newspapers, morning and afternoon, from his bicycle, battling wind, rain, snow, ice, and stray dogs. Unable or unwilling to ever quit anything, he maintained his paper routes through his senior year of high school in 1965, earning the rank of “Master Carrier” for the Amarillo Globe News. After graduation, he was hired as a “printer’s devil” in the back shop of the Hereford Brand, a position he referred to as “the lowest form of human life,” but which ignited a lifelong passion for the printed word and the important work of community newspapers. That job evolved over the next five decades into a career recognized, admired, and awarded by peers throughout the state.
He was a past president of the Panhandle Press Association, the West Texas Press Association, and the Texas Press Association, an inductee of the PPA Newspaper Hall of Fame, and a recipient of the WTPA Harold Hudson Award, as well as the TPA Golden 50 Award, among many other accolades throughout his long career.
It was while selling advertising in a dress shop in Hereford in 1971 that he was introduced to the love of his life, a Texas Tech co-ed, whose name he promptly forgot. A shouted “Hey you!” from across the street the following day would spark a romance that would blossom into a 45-year union to his soul mate, Linda, with whom he raised a family, ran a business, and traveled the world. Their partnership covered millions of miles, burning up highways in all directions covering news events, following sports teams, chasing their kids, seeing almost every state in the country, trekking across Europe, and standing on the Great Wall of China.

“Not bad for a kid from West Texas,” he would often beam.
Brisendine moved to Brownfield when he was named publisher and president and purchased stock in the Brownfield News on April Fool’s Day, 1977. He made the community his home and fought for its progress and prosperity for the remainder of his life. Following the closure of several large employers after the ‘80s bust, he was integral in forming a community task force that would evolve into the creation of the Brownfield Industrial Development Corporation, which he served as chairman of the board for a decade, recruiting companies and more importantly, payrolls, to Brownfield, thus ensuring a brighter future for the community he loved. For his efforts, he was named Citizen of the Year in 1992 and Business Leader of the Year in 2015.
That work ethic, civic involvement, and zeal for life was instilled in his family, which he considered his greatest accomplishment.

Left behind to continue his proud legacy are his wife, Linda; two daughters, Becky and husband Brian Stephens and Barbie and husband Alan Taylor, all of Lubbock; and a son, Brian and wife Susan Brisendine, of Brownfield. His pride and joy were his nine grandchildren, Hayleigh, Hannah, Hudson, and Hayden Stephens; Logan and Landon Taylor; and Thomas, Blake, and Maddie Brisendine.
He also is survived by two younger brothers, Mickey and wife Michelle of Hereford, and Trent and wife Jodi of Lubbock.
A graveside service was held at Terry County Memorial Cemetery, followed by a celebration of life at Brownfield First United Methodist Church.

 

“Golden 50” profile

Lynn Brisendine, publisher of The Brownfield News and Seminole Sentinel, recently celebrated 50 years in the newspaper business.

Brisendine, 60, is a past president of Texas Press Association (2000-01), West Texas Press Association (1985) and Panhandle Press Association (1979).

Born in Amarillo, he grew up in Hereford, graduating from Hereford High School in 1965. He was a longtime newspaper carrier, throwing a Hereford Brand route from 1957 to 1965. He also serviced an Amarillo Globe-News route for four years and was awarded a Master Carrier certificate during those years.

After high school he began his career at the Hereford Brand where he took a job as an apprentice printer. Pouring pigs, sweeping the floor and killing out pages turned into a job as a back shop floorman and eventually a Linotype operator.

In 1969 he began as an advertising salesman at the Brand. In 1971 he took over as the advertising manager of the Lamesa Press Reporter. Two years later he returned to Hereford and served as the advertising manager until he moved to Brownfield, purchased stock in and took over the Brownfield News as publisher and president on April Fool’s Day 1977.

Brisendine is the secretary of the board of South Plains Printing in Lamesa. He has been an associate of the Roberts Publishing group for more than 30 years.

Brisendine has been a member of Lions International for 38 years where he has been on the board of directors and served as an officer in three clubs, Hereford, Lamesa and Brownfield. He was president of the Brownfield club in 1985. He also has been a Mason for almost 40 years.

He has served on the boards of and been president of the Brownfield Development Foundation and the Brownfield Industrial Development Corporation. He also is a past director of BID Corp. and former chairman of the board for Kendrick Memorial Library in Brownfield.

He has served on the board of the Terry County United Way. He served on the formation committee and later the board of the DFYIT (Drug Free Youth in Texas) organization in Brownfield.

Brisendine was Terry County’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 1991.

The Brownfield News is a semiweekly publication with a circulation of 3,000. The paper has won numerous awards during Brisendine ’s 30-year tenure, including nine consecutive Texas State Teacher Association School Bell awards. He also has won several awards for his Paper ‘n Ink column he pens twice weekly.

The Seminole Sentinel also is a semiweekly publication with a circulation of 2,000. Both newspapers are completely paginated operations.

Brisendine is married to Linda, who has worked 28 years for the Texas Department of Human Services as a social worker with the aged and disabled. On press nights, she proofreads for the papers.

They have three children and by the end of 2007 will have nine grandchildren.

Brisendine enjoys playing with his grandchildren, working on his backyard ponds, traveling, golf, reading and watching the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros.

Listen to Lynn Brisendine:

Link to Brisendine’s paper:

http://www.brownfieldonline.com/

Read Lynn Brisendine’s interview:

Lynn Brisendine:  My name is Lynn Brisendine and I was born November 30, 1946, in Amarillo, Texas.  I grew up in Hereford, Texas, in the Panhandle of Texas.  I actually sold newspapers to get into the movies when I was 7, 8 years old.  We’d go out and sell Coke bottles all week, enough to go to the newspaper to buy newspapers to go on the street and sell them to get enough to go to the movies and buy a Coke.  So later I started as a newspaper carrier when I was 10 years old.  Then about 1956 I carried the Hereford Brand for almost eight years.  It’s a semi-weekly newspaper.  I carried the Amarillo Daily News which was the Globe News at the time it was an afternoon paper, five afternoons a week and Sunday morning.  I carried that route for four years.  I was a master carrier for three of those years.

I graduated from high school, thought I was gonna go into the military.  My dad had other ideas.  I went to work at a gas station making 80 cents an hour and hated every minute of it.  Not knowing exactly what I was gonna do, a job came open at the Hereford Brand, I walked up to the door to apply for the job and held the door open, a Hispanic fellow walked in in front of me and I held the door for him as he walked in and he got the job and I went back to the gas station.  Ten days later the back shop foreman at the newspaper called me and said he didn’t work out, do you want to give it a try?

So I thought that sounded like an interesting proposal to me to be working in the back shop of the newspaper so I went to work as a printer’s devil.  I swept the place out, I poured pigs and from the day I got there I fell in love with the place. I worked in the back shop at the newspaper for about four years.  I was a Linotype operator, a floor man.  I can still read upside down and backwards faster than I can read the proper way.  I proofed, I did everything I was supposed to do back there and one day the General Manager of the newspaper Melvin Young called me and said I want you to go play golf with me.  So we went out and played golf and afterwards he said are you old enough to drink a beer and I said just turned that.  So we went to the country club and he looked straight at me and said Monday morning I want you to show up with a necktie and start selling advertising which absolutely terrified me. But Monday morning I was there and my first lesson was how to tie a necktie.

Anyway, I worked in the advertising department at the Brand for another four years at which time the Roberts Group bought the Hereford Brand from Jimmy Gillentine; Speedy Nieman took over and was publisher.  I worked for him for about 18 months and one day he said I want you to go to the press with me, which was across town, so I got in the car and we drove across town and he said they need an advertising manager at the Lamesa Press Reporter, are you interested?  I said okay I would think about it and I went down and talked to Walter Buckel and one day they called up and said be at Lamesa Press Reporter at 8:30 Monday morning.  So I threw everything I owned in the back of my Chevrolet and drove to Lamesa, Texas, and started there.  I worked two years as advertising manager at which time Speedy called Walter back and said my advertising manager left and I want Lynn back.  So I went back, I worked for about six months and Speedy named me the assistant publisher and advertising of the Hereford Brand which to me was king of the hill.  That’s where I started my whole deal, you know, my career.

Anyway, I worked for another four years, until 1977 and I may be getting my years all mixed up.  In 1977 James Roberts called and said we want you to go to Brownfield, Texas, and publish the newspaper there.  So I went to Brownfield on a Monday morning and started, met Walter Buckel there and we went to the bank and borrowed more money than I thought was ever printed to bail out the paper; it was in a mess.  So that was April the 1st 1977, and I’ve been there ever since.

On January 2nd of 2002, I took over as publisher of the Seminole Sentinel, which is a semi-weekly, as is the Brownfield News a semi-weekly.  I’ve been there ever since.  I work half a day in Brownfield and half a day in Seminole nearly every day.  It’s 40 miles one way.  And I love both places; I’m not smart enough to do anything else so I’m pretty much stuck in the newspaper business.

My mentors were D. Melvin Young, Speedy Nieman, Walter Buckel, James Roberts and my dad who was not a newspaper man but taught me a great deal of stuff.  I never had the opportunity to go to school as a journalist.  I think that it’s kind of amazing and ironic that as we speak my son is now a part owner and publisher of the Hereford Brand.

Ethical dilemmas come up about once a week it’s always more or less shoot the messenger.  So far I’ve stood up to them eyeball to eyeball and tried not to blink.  I’ve told my son and everybody else that’ll listen to me that I consider our business, we have one magic bullet and if we ever shoot it we’ll miss the target and we’ll never get it back.  So we have to use common sense in everything we do and protect the freedom of the press in our communities the best we can.  There’s been several run-ins with sheriffs and county attorneys and district attorneys and state senators and, but you just do the best you can and be as fair as you can and go about your business.

CASH: How would you describe your leadership style?

BRISENDINE:  It’s laid-back and frantic.  [Laughter.]  I try never to holler at anybody or yell at anybody and I tell them when I hire them that nobody’s gonna slap anybody around.  But there is gonna be times when I tell them they need to do something and that’s the way it’s gonna be.  And so I try to be as fair as I can with those people because I worked for people once and I’ve been—  I’ve had good people to work for and I’ve had some bad people I’ve had to work with and you know, the real funny thing about that is that I may have learned as much or more from the bad people than I did from the good because it told me what not to do.

CASH:  Talk a little bit about the changes in newspapering, the physical, logistical changes.

BRISENDINE:  Okay.  Basically I’m a dinosaur.  They’ll never be another me in this business because I started pouring pigs, sweeping the floor, reading type upside down and backwards when a page in the newspaper weighed a hundred and twenty pounds.  We put them together in turtles with chases, locked them up, it was all total lead, Linotypes, intertypes, Ludlows, handset type, I’ve done a little bit of that.  And that is just, I— You’d be hard pressed to even find that equipment in a museum any more.  I wouldn’t give for it.  I loved every minute of it but I would never want to go back to it because it is hard, hard work.  It’s laborious.  Each page was laborious and now— Then we went to what they called cold type which I hated cold type.  I never thought it was a proper way to do it, but because of help, because of equipment issues, offset presses, that’s what we had to do and I never thought we put together a page that was straight.  I don’t care how hard you try and what kind of light table you used or anything.  They came out with a machine called CompuGraphic which was a marvelous machine except it was extremely expensive to operate, had photographic paper.  So when we got the opportunity to go to computers I jumped on it and I went with Macs and I still use Macs.  And most of the other people that I associate with went PC; I don’t regret it for a minute.  I love the Macs.  We have to use PCs in our business on our bookkeeping side and circulation and things like that, but as far as producing the newspaper, the Mac is magic in a box.  And if you came up the way I did, it’s just— I still just am in awe of how we do it now.  Not only that but we have digital photography now which I can take a picture and have it ready to go in the newspaper in 30 seconds if I want to.

The Internet has come along.  It’s a tool we use.  We couldn’t get along without it.  It amazes me that I can be writing a column, that I can click a button, go to Google, research something in a split second whereas used to you had to go to a library or even if you could find it there.  But nowadays it’s just, it really is magic in a box and I love it.

CASH:  So how did you make these transitions, these technological transitions?  Did you seek training, did you teach yourself?  Was it seat of your pants?

BRISENDINE:  Well for me most of it’s really been, I guess, seat of your pants.  I just kinda decided that’s the way we were gonna go and did my best to learn as much about it as I could.  That was one of the reasons that I really looked forward to walking in that door and getting into that back shop was to learn something, you know.  To be able to use my hands and do something and then all of a sudden it turned in to using your hands and using your mind and I probably don’t do a very good job of either, but I love it.  I can’t imagine life without being in the newspaper; I really can’t.  It just— There just wouldn’t be for me.

CASH:  What do you see as the big challenge that’s facing newspapering in 2008?

BRISENDINE:  Right now I think that, I honestly think a major challenge is the lack of readership, the lack of kids growing up the way I did.  I mean when I grew up my Dad took two daily papers and a semi-weekly newspaper.  We got those all the time and I grew up reading a newspaper, I grew up reading.  I mean I read, I try to read two books a month if I can.  And right now I’m in the process of trying to read a novel off of the best selling fiction and I try to read a book off the best selling non-fiction.  And I try to stagger them so I don’t get too caught up one way or the other.  But reading is the challenge and I don’t think our kids are reading and it scares me.  Not just because it’s going to affect my business but I think it’s going to affect the way we live.

CASH:  Has the Internet threatened you?  Do you feel intimidated by it?

BRISENDINE:  You know—

CASH:  You said you embraced it.

BRISENDINE:   Yes.  I really think it’s a two-edged sword and I think that right now both my newspapers have, I consider excellent websites that we utilize everything we can.  As a matter of fact we’ve turned two semi-weeklies into 24-7 dailies.  I mean if something happens we have the ability to get on the Internet and put it on there instantly.  Pictures, news— Whatever.  And we do it quite a bit.  But I never want that to supersede or override my print product because when you take some time and you sit down with a newspaper then you’re gonna do yourself some good.  If, it might sound egotistical but I truly believe that.  You’re feeding your mind.  You’re taking a respite from the rest of the world, you are able to take from that newspaper what you want from that newspaper and nobody’s forcing you to do anything with it.  You can read every word and every ad in it; you can read the headlines, whatever you want.  But I think once you’ve picked up that paper and looked at it, I think you’re the better person for it.

CASH: What would you tell aspiring journalists, would you encourage a career in journalism?  Would you discourage them?  And if you’d encourage them what advice would you give them from your perspective?

BRISENDINE:  I think my first response to that would be I do something every day that I love and I get paid for it.  And I don’t know how many other occupations, avocations, careers, that you can say that you could do that.  To me the news business, I love every bit of it.  I love selling ads, I love writing a column, all, you know.  It’s— The whole process, I love being able to sit down and design a page.  And it’s just all like a big game except it’s a very serious game and I just used the word very and I don’t do that.

As far as advice, I think there’s a whole world out there that isn’t centered around New York City or Chicago or Dallas.  It’s in the small town and if you want to make a big frog in a small pond then that’s where you need to go and you can do so much good.  Sure, there are times when you’ve got to stand up to the bad guys, even in a small town.  But you try to do it as tastefully as you can.  You always depend on the truth, you never tell a lie.  I’m not kidding about that.  On the telephone with a customer, in the building with an employee or in your column, you never tell a lie.  And you know that’s, when you get right down to it, it’s pretty exciting, pretty wonderful.

– Transcribed by Shannon Barclay Morris

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