Thursday, June 30th, 2011
By Jay Clouse
Manager schedules time to travel and enjoy hobbies
When John Lake received his degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University, he applied for a reporting position at a small town newspaper. He was told no positions were available.
"I was just out of college," Lake said. "I didn't know what I wanted to do."
That's when Lake's neighbor, advertising manager Frank Hagen, made him an offer.
"Frank told me there was a position open in advertising," Lake said. "I said I'd try it."
Forty years and 13 days later, Lake retires today from his position as advertising manager at The Daily Standard.
Lake grew up in Dayton where he attended Colonel White High School. Upon enrolling into BGSU, he was not sure what he wanted to do.
"I started out in business," Lake said. "I quickly found out that wasn't my cup of tea."
After looking through a school catalogue, he decided journalism was a good fit.
He has lived in Celina for the past 40 years, but says the move was an adjustment at first.
"I had never lived full time in a small town," Lake said. "It was different."
Lake's parents owned a cottage in Celina's Highland Park while he was growing up. He became familiar with the paper then. His sister also had worked at the newspaper.
"I knew it was a good paper," he said.
Despite his reporter training, the regular hours' advertising provided appeal to Lake. He learned the job on the fly and became manager after Hagen retired in 1981.
"We've always tried to put out a good quality paper," Lake said. "I think that shows in our ads, too."
Many changes have taken place during his tenure, and he can list nearly all of them.
"He could write a book about this place," said Ellen Klosterman, a fellow employee in the circulation department.
"Well he's gotten to see a lot of the transition of how papers are done in his time here," said The Daily Standard Publisher Frank Snyder. "He's a good guy."
Some of the change includes the transition from a hot letterpress to an offset press in the early 1990s. The Internet also has impacted his workday.
"We used to mail ads and used to have trouble getting them in on time," Lake said. "It has been a tremendous change."
He joked about a time before e-mail when he thought to himself, "I wish there was a way they could send these things (ads) instantly to us."
Lake also has seen changes in clients' tendencies. Merchant stores formerly ran larger and more frequent display ads, but they have shifted toward pre-printed advertisements or inserts, he said.
"It used to be we'd run a half dozen inserts a year," Lake said. "Now we run more than that on a Saturday."
Lake always has a story to tell and and some of the best are about his workplace.
There's the one about the former manager of Chakeres Theater who came to the paper still wearing pajamas, the night a man shot a hole in the ceiling next door or a computer repairman who refused to work on the paper's computers until air conditioning was installed.
In retirement Lake plans to spend more time indulging his outdoor hobbies of hunting and kayaking, as well as traveling with his wife, Taffy, who retired in May from her job at the Mercer County Educational Service Center. They plan to visit their son in Colorado and brother-in-law in Kansas this summer.
Lake said he will miss the excitement of being around the news and the people he has met in his time at the paper.
"I've always tried to get to know people; I've made a lot of good friends here," Lake said. "I'm very fond of everyone here."
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