August 06, 2014 - Kathy Schantz's name and photo didn't appear every week in the pages of the Oxford Leader, but she was an absolutely integral part of this newspaper's operations for 23 years.
After 23 years of creating and laying out advertisements in the Oxford Leader, Kathy Schantz retired last week. She's shown here holding a book of editions from 1991, the year she started. Enjoy retirement, Kathy, and thank you for all your dedication, hard work and professionalism. We'll miss you very much. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Last week, Schantz retired from the production department where she spent countless hours designing and laying out thousands upon thousands of advertisements.
Her favorite part of the job was "the creativity," turning words, sketches and ideas into visually-appealing advertisements that grabbed readers' attention and enticed them to shop local businesses.
"It kept your mind going," said Schantz, who's lived in Oxford for 25 years. "It was fun. You critique things and see what you need to do differently."
When she started back in 1991, creating ads and placing them on the pages was a very low-tech affair.
It involved lots of cutting and pasting with scissors and hot wax. Artwork was cut out of books, then reduced or enlarged on a copy machine to fit each ad. There was a lot of guesswork, a lot of trial and error, back in those days.
"What we had to work with then was so different," Schantz said. "It took a lot longer."
Now, everything is done on the computer, from start to finish.
"It's so much easier," she said.
Although the use of technology definitely improved the quality of the ads and enabled Schantz to expand her creative boundaries, it didn't lighten her workload as the world of Sherman Publications, Inc., which owns the Leader, was constantly expanding with special sections and new products designed to reach more and more people in northern Oakland County.
Ten-hour days were typical for Schantz, who usually arrived at the office on or before 7 a.m.
All day long, Schantz was the go-to person. Salespeople, fellow production staffers, bosses, reporters and annoying editors all came to Schantz with their never-ending questions and requests for assistance.
To her credit, she never turned anyone away and never failed to give each of them exactly what they needed.
She always did her job with the utmost professionalism and a smile, no matter how frazzled or overwhelmed she might have felt. Her work ethic, her talent and her attitude made her indispensable. She became the company's linchpin.
Prior to coming to the Leader, Schantz did production work for shopper's guides in Caro and Alma.
Schantz plans to spend her well-deserved retirement quilting, enjoying family time, boating and travelling.
"I have all these places I still want to see," she said. "I want to go back to Yellowstone (National Park). I want to go further west and see all the national parks."
When asked what she'll miss most about her days at the Leader, Schantz immediately replied, "The people."
"I've worked with some great people," she said. "I'm going to miss the people."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.