This is not a hockey story, but it is an important one to me, and to you in an odd way. Joe Sheibley, long-time managing editor at The News-Sentinel passed away today. He was also a long-time Blake Sebring guru.
Joe retired in 2001 after 30 years in Fort Wayne but before that he had a huge impact on The News-Sentinel and my life and career. He was one of my mentors and had a big influence in my having this job today. It started when I was working part-time for the paper in high school. I could always go to Joe for advice and he had a large part in my starting at the paper full-time in 1988. He, along with Kerry Hubartt and Joe Weiler, basically created a full-time position for me. Talk about having high expectations to live up to!
Two years later, when Bud Gallmeier retired I took over the Komets' beat and more high expectations. I remember right after Kerry talked to me about taking over the Komets I went right to Joe who was a huge Komets' fan. Along with Ken Ullyot, Colin Lister and Bob Chase, Joe was where I would go looking for Komets memories after Bud died in 1992. A lot of times he'd have to kick me out of his office or neither of us would have gotten any work done.
Joe was a major factor in the success of The News-Sentinel Sports Department over the years as well. He was one of the major backers of The Komets Book of Records we published in 1997, and was always willing to push for any Komets' or other projects we wanted to do, including naming Northeast Indiana's 50 Greatest Athletes of the Century in 1999. I believe it was Joe's idea to present the Komets with the Gallmeier Cup as a way to honor Bud as well.
Joe was old-school in that he started as a copy editor, then a business reporter, managing editor and assistant to the executive editor. He had a hand in every part of the business and knew were the bodies were buried, so to speak.
He was a fanstastic man to learn from. He taught me more than he ever knew, though I tried to tell him a few times. A lot of us oldtimers at the paper feel that way today. It's sort of like the father figure of our family at the paper has passed away.
The shame of it is he had only five years of a retirement he certainly seemed to be enjoying. He deserved 50 years. He's already missed.