We bid a sad farewell this week to Dick Pearce, former owner of The Northern Miner, who died on Dec. 7 at age 93 (see his obituary as an attached pdf document, as it appears on Page 3 of our Dec. 15 issue). In this age of faceless media conglomerates, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the Miner was a family business during its first 75 years, with Dick being the last of six Pearce family members to own and run the Miner, until he sold it to Southam Inc. in 1989.
A measure of the man can be gleaned from a passage he wrote in a book he produced to celebrate The Northern Miner’s 75th anniversary in 1989:
“In 1978, Canadian Business magazine wrote a rather sneering article about us, especially on the Miner, and made remarks about things like shoeshine stools, the pool table and other ‘patronizing’ forms of our management.
“Well, perhaps we do things that aren’t necessary — like turkeys at Christmas — but I think there’s much more to a job than operating a piece of equipment or working at a desk. I’ve always been interested in trying to provide decent surroundings and facilities as far as our budget will allow. I want Bill Edwards to test lighting levels everywhere, I’m annoyed if I find no soap in a washroom, a chair that should be repaired, peeling paint, dirty machinery, poorly stored skids of paper, typo errors, an unwashed truck. Petty perhaps, but how else do you explain the unusually high average number of years’ service of our staff, the long list of people who went elsewhere for awhile and then returned? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must get to the eyeglass-cleaning unit, which is near the billiard table in the cafeteria. If this sort of thing is ‘patronizing,’ I make no apologies.”