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Opinion: Celebrating a life well lived

On Tuesday friends and colleagues of The Madera Tribune held a celebration of life for our late owner/publisher Charles Packard Doud at the Madera United Methodist Church. Pastor Bert Roper officiated at the service.

Chuck and his late wife Annette worshipped at this church for many years. Pastor Roper fondly recalled weekly visits where Chuck would bring donuts and they would converse about the issues of the day. Pastor said he greatly misses those exchanges.

Flower and photos decorated the lobby of the church, arranged by Nancy Simpson and Corrie Valdez. Video montages created by Tyler Takeda and Nancy were shown throughout the service. These photos of Chuck and Annette, Tribune Staff and community events elicited smiles, laughter and tears from those assembled. The video showed some of the many good times we shared as the Tribune family.

Bonnie Mazzoni, Chuck’s lady friend and sweetheart shared her memories of their courtship during the last two years of Chuck’s life.

I have been with The Madera Tribune for 26 years. Only Shirley James, our graphic artist, has been with the Tribune longer.

During that time, we have employed a number of publishers. Chuck Doud was by far the best, most community-invested boss we have seen.

I also spoke at the service, reading one of the Gravy by the Slice columns I wrote right after his death. These are the words I shared:

The Sun managed to come up again today even though Madera Printing and Publishing company founder and this publication’s steward’s light is still gone. Every day we wake up and it dawns on us the company patriarch is still dead. And we ache because of it.

We look to the newspapers of the world to give us their best collection of facts no matter how brutal they are to read.

In the grown-up world of news, people don’t pass away or even go on to glory, they die. It hurts to write or read the statement “he died,” so baldly put. It may not be pleasant but it is correct.

We find we are facing another day without the rudder to the behemoth project known as The Madera Tribune.

Many have told heart touching anecdotes about our fearless leader and I am just one more of the many recipients of his kindness and patience.

His handling of emergencies in the industry and our building show how strong he and his commitment to the record and history of Madera remained until the day he died.

He took great pleasure in letting his employees, his beloved children, to spread their wings grasping for new heights they never knew they could reach.

Rarely did we find resistance to our view or presentation of the world around us. He encouraged us and trusted us to give the process our best efforts.

I have a very specific memory of this exact concept. I made Chuck and the Tribune a solemn vow to give the work everything I had every day.

The caveat remains, someday I will give you 110 percent. Some days I only have about 87 percent, but everything I got to give, will go to you.

He was fine with that. He may have occasionally believed we were wrong but he never accused us of giving it less than the best we had to offer.

We worked with many up-and-coming professionals in our employ and in the community throughout his rein at the Tribune.

He approached those fledglings to navigate, by providing a welcoming manner and a safe environment to explore. Our archives have been long available at the Madera County Library for those who need background research. When he bought the paper, he continued this practice at his own expense.

When the subjects of our work, especially in the sports, features and news department requested to reprint as long as we were given source acknowledgement and photo credit, he gave permission to share generously.

He saw the best in those around him, his ego never threatened, comfortable in his own skin. He was not saint, nobody in this business is. He strived to live by the Rotary four-way test and the Golden Rule.

His Toastmaster training in his younger days made him a popular and fascinating speaker when called upon to introduce individuals or subjects even in arenas not his own.

Working for him, through my personal challenges be they my health, my husband’s, pet’s or other calamities his understanding nature and embrace never wavered. His staff’s welfare was paramount. It paid dividends in loyalty from those he employed.

He always looked to find another solution when face with a less than best case scenario.

All walks of life were on even footing with him. He was color blind even if those around him were not.

I once referred to the men in a political landscape as “the skinny old white guys.” He saw the intended humor and didn’t take it personally. He enjoyed other’s attempt at levity and read a person’s good intention. He may not have had a cynical bone in his body. Yet he didn’t get on his high horse when those around him turned sarcastic.

These much-loved clichés were made for the actions of this man’s nature, without becoming a cliché himself.

I will miss him the rest of my days. Be at peace in Annette and our Lord’s loving arms dear Chuck.

Long days and pleasant nights dear readers, have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.


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