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Let me tell me you a Chuck Kelly Story

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

November 7, 2018

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Charles W. “Chuck” Kelly.

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a newspaper person over age 30 in St. Lawrence or northern Franklin counties who doesn’t have story to tell about Chuck.

I worked for “the big man,” as I referred to him, for nearly seven years. I could tell stories about Chuck all day, but one stands out. It was the time he taught me the most important lesson in my professional career.
I walked into the newsroom to hear a not entirely unfamiliar sound: Chuck yelling at top volume.

It didn’t take long for me to figure out Chuck was yelling at my editor for a mistake in that day’s paper – a mistake I made.

I went to my desk, feeling horrible about the mistake and dreading having to answer for it.

After about an hour of yelling, the editor left Chuck’s office.

I got up from my desk, walked into Chuck’s office and blurted out in one rapid, unending sentence my explanation for why the mistake was made, what I planned to do to fix it and how I was going to prevent it from happening again. I concluded with a version of, “I’m now prepared for you to yell.”

Chuck’s response: “I’m not going to yell at you.”

I noted that he bellowed at the editor for an hour.

“(Editor) is your supervisor. Your supervisor shares responsibility for your mistakes. (Editor) just kept blaming you and denying any role in it. You walked in, admitted your mistake and said how you were going to make it right. I can’t ask for any more than that. Get back to work.”

Chuck taught me to admit my mistakes and try to fix them. It’s a lesson that has served me well in many aspects of my life.

He was a mentor and a friend, and he helped launch my career and many others.

Chuck was also a great friend to this newspaper. He provided the NCC with office space, technical assistance and resources for years.

He will be missed.

May God have mercy on his soul.

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