Getting together and reminiscing with an old friend
November 22, 2009
What’s more fun than spending a few hours reminiscing with a longtime friend and former co-worker? It’s when that person has returned to Carson City after an absence of 14 years and a distance of about 3,000 miles.
Georgie Ruff Kellogg and I worked at the Nevada Appeal together when she was the secretary to the publishers – four in all during her 22 years on the job – and I was in the news department. Georgie wasn’t just a secretary, she was a conduit to getting things done and a sort of mother confessor to our young reporters. Everyone loved her because of her good nature, graciousness and accessibility.
Her husband, Bill Ruff, with whom she had five children, died of a stroke in 1988 at age 61. Last April her second husband, Lynn Kellogg, died in New York where the couple had been living since 1995, and Georgie returned to Carson City a few months ago.
During our recent reunion we traded stories of past events and got giddy with laughter when Georgie recalled an incident involving then-U.S. Senate candidate Chic Hecht who was appearing before the Appeal’s editorial board.
Georgie was bringing mugs of coffee to the assemblage, and when Hecht grasped the handle of his mug it broke, spilling coffee down the front of his pants. Georgie said she was “absolutely mortified,” but Nevada’s future senator laughed and said he hoped no one would think “I’d been grilled so hard I wet my pants.”
Much of our recollections involved media mogul Donald W. Reynolds, whose Donrey Media Group included 52 dailies, including at the time the Nevada Appeal, a bunch of weeklies and TV and radio stations. It would be fair to say the man evoked more than a little fear on the infrequent occasions when we employees were told he would be coming to the Appeal.
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On the occasions of his visits, Georgie was tasked with taking his correspondence. She confessed to me that her shorthand left a lot to be desired so when Reynolds failed to bring a Dictaphone with him “I just faked it.”
I had my own Reynolds story to tell. It was when the Appeal was located in the Brewery, and the newsroom was upstairs. I was going downstairs to get my editor fresh coffee and I opened the newsroom window to toss the lukewarm remains out of his mug. I was horrified when I saw a portly man emerge from an Alpha Romeo and begin to step onto the sidewalk. Just then there was this splat noise as the coffee hit the pavement. My editor looked out the window and told me the man I had almost dumped his coffee on was none other than the big boss, Donald W. Reynolds.
In addition to her four children who all live in the area (one died of cancer in 1995), Georgie has 14 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. At 80, she said she is perfectly happy being retired but she does dream about her job at the Appeal.
In her dreams she wonders who is sitting at her old desk.
• Sue Morrow is a longtime journalist and member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame. She may be contacted at soozymorrow@