Retiring pressman’s printing career spans five decades

Jan 6th, 2016 | By | Category: On the Move
Photo courtesy Bear River Publishing Retiring pressman Terry Weatherston, second from right, poses with co-workers at Bear River Publishing in Preston.

Photo courtesy Bear River Publishing
Retiring pressman Terry Weatherston, second from right, poses with co-workers at Bear River Publishing in Preston.

By Dan Sparhawk
For The Herald Journal

After more than five decades of printing newspapers, veteran printer Terry Weatherston is getting ready to retire.

The the Logan resident and Rexburg, Idaho, native never realized that a summer job back in 1962 would be the start of a lifelong career. The then-high-school student was hired as a “printer’s devil,” a term used to describe an apprentice who was learning the trade.

At the time John C. Porter was the publisher of the two Rexburg weekly newspapers — the Rexburg Standard and the Rexburg Journal.

Newspaper pages were still being made using Linotype machines and hot lead for the type. “I’d take pages apart, and we would melt the lead down and reuse it,” he said.

In the late ’60s, the newspaper made the switch to an offset press. Linotype machines soon became obsolete and printing began to rely on photographic processes instead. Computers would soon come along that would speed up the process even more.

“I did everything but write it,” Terry said of his long career at the newspaper.

After graduating from Madison High School in Rexburg in 1965, Terry attended Ricks College for a year while continuing to work at the newspaper. The faithful Latter-day Saint took a two-year break from work and school to serve as a missionary in the Central States Mission.

After returning home, he immediately went back to work at the newspaper. He also met his future wife, Irene, at Ricks College the day after arriving home. She was a freshman, having just arrived in Rexburg from her home in Vermont. They were married six months later.

Terry and Irene settled in Rexburg, where they raised a family of four children.

They never dreamed that his newspaper career would one day require them to leave. But times changed and the printing of newspapers was becoming more centralized.

With the purchase of the local newspaper by the Pioneer News Group, a decision was made to print the newspaper at a newly built, modern facility located in Preston. Bear River Publishing, owned by the newspaper group, was already printing The Herald Journal and the Idaho State Journal in Pocatello.

About 13 years ago, Terry was offered the job as a pressman at the new printing facility, which required the Weatherstons to move.

“We thought this would be great — and it was,” Terry said of the change. They soon settled in Logan, where Irene found a good job and Terry commuted north to Preston for work.

Looking back on their move, Terry said, “The move is the best thing that has happened to us.”

Terry was soon promoted to night production manager, which required him to work through the night. “I would go to work about five and stay until we were done, normally about 3 a.m. and occasionally much, much later,” he said.

Besides the two daily newspapers and the Standard Journal, the facility also prints about 50 other publications, including weekly newspapers and monthly publications. The newspaper press can print 24 pages at a time in full color.

“When I started, the newspapers were all sheet fed. We would print one side, then turn the pages over and print the other side,” he said. “Today we can print 10 papers a second.”

Terry expects that he will probably work until New Year’s Day. He will not officially retire for a month or so, but he has knee surgery scheduled for Jan. 5.

As for their future plans, the Weatherstons plan to stay in Logan, take some time to visit family members back in Vermont, spend time with their grandchildren and serve a mission for their church.

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