Su Lum: Slumming
September 14, 2011
People stop and ask me all the time if there’s going to be some kind of memorial get-together for Bil Dunaway, and I’m glad to report that there will be a community gathering Monday, Sept. 19, from 5 – 7 p.m., at the Aspen Historical Society.
William R. Dunaway bought The Aspen Times in 1956 and was, for the next (give or take) four decades: owner, publisher, editor, reporter, ad manager and salesman, plumber, janitor, painter, electrician, general handyman and leader of a gaggle of diverse but devoted employees.
He took the paper from linotype to offset printing to computerization, always wanting to keep up with technology while not entirely embracing it. “Why would we want a FAX machine?” he asked. When we got one, he would turn it off every night, mindful of the electric bill.
There are a lot of stories about how tight he was with the purse, and just as many about how generous he was, quietly helping out members of his flock when they were in a pinch and handing out astounding profit-sharing bonuses in good times.
He was one of the first to provide employee housing and some of our crew still lives in those apartments.
He was teased for still wearing his striped bell-bottom pants from the ’60s but could, a couple of decades later, laugh and say, “See? They came back!” He didn’t care about trivial things.
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Everyone who knew Bil Dunaway has a story to tell, and I hope to hear a lot of them on Monday evening.
This is NOT a fully baked, organized gala event and, speaking of “baked,” you should consider eating ahead or bringing some finger food to share. The Aspen Historical Society is providing the space, and the Times will provide Andy Stone – who worked for Bil starting in the ’70s – as moderator/announcer and teller of good tales.
There will be some amount of refreshments, but I don’t know what or how much and no one knows how many people might show up and these are still hard times.
I think Dunaway would have approved the modesty of the event. He wasn’t into gala. I missed his induction into Aspen’s Hall of Fame, due to being flown back to the hospital in Grand Junction, but I can’t help but believe that he was squirming. I’m sorry I missed it.
Anyway, come one, come all. Bring your stories, your hearing aids and your sense of humor.