GLENWOOD CITY — The matriarch of our publishing family has died and left an enormous emptiness in our office and hearts.
The voice that many callers have heard for four plus decades on the other end of the phone line or that familiar face that greeted them in our Glenwood City headquarters were those of Paula Jean DeWitt, co-owner of Tribune Press Reporter and Colfax Messenger along with her husband Carlton.
Paula Jean, as she was often referred to by family and close friends, succumbed to the effects of her 22-month battle with pancreatic cancer early Monday morning, September 14 having reached the age of 75 years.
During that three-quarters of a century on this beautiful blue planet, Paula Jean’s love and commitment to her family, friends, readers and communities were felt far and wide. She presented a staunch exterior but was gifted with a kind, gentle and warm heart that was undeniable to anyone that had ever met and gotten to know her. She was also unwavering in her moral fortitude.
When Paula Jean and Carlton purchased the Glenwood City Tribune from Carlton’s parents, Ross and Lucille DeWitt, in 1975, she became the newspaper’s proofreader, phone answerer and message taker, billing and payment clerk, subscription manager, comptroller and de facto head cheese (even though she let Carlton believe that was his title).
Essentially, she was the central cog that made the operation of the newspaper not only possible but ensured that it ran smoothly, week after week, for 45 years.
Even with the responsibilities of raising three sons, Paula Jean took on added workloads when the couple purchased and merged the Tribune with the Boyceville Press-Reporter in 1984 and then bought and began publishing the Colfax Messenger in 1997.
She continued to do all these duties and more even through her battle with cancer until just a few weeks prior to passing.
Paula Jean, however, was just not a businesswoman, wife and mother, but a trailblazer, serving in several organizations throughout her life including a calling she was most proud of and performed with an unsurpassed passion – becoming Glenwood City’s first Emergency Medical Technician in 1974. It was a role she loved serving in for 44 years before her illness made her retire in November of 2018.
She leaves behind a husband, sons, brothers, many relatives, friends and communities that will greatly miss her spirit and love.
A visitation for Paula Jean is planned for Thursday, September 17 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Glenwood City United Methodist Church with funeral services the following afternoon at 2 p.m. at the church. Burial will be in the Glenwood City Cemetery. A complete obituary can be found here.
In honor of our matriarch, the offices of the Tribune Press Reporter and the Colfax Messenger will be closed on Thursday and Friday, September 17 and 18.
—by her loving son, Shawn DeWitt
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