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Sunday, December 30, 2012, 3:00am

Remembrances of Timothy M. Warren Sr.

From Vincent M. Valvo, former group publisher and editor at The Warren Group:

I’ve worked for the Warren Family on and off since 1984. I’ve cherished the values that Tim Sr. instilled in this company, and that Tim Jr. keeps alive. At too many businesses, employees are simply commodities, to be brought in or discarded without further thought. But that’s not the Warren way.

I left the company for seven years, starting in 2000. At the end of 2000, my mother died. Although I hadn’t been an employee for nearly a year, I received a wonderful handwritten note from Tim Sr. I have kept it and cherished its short, but poignant message:

“Dear Vince,

Tim [Jr.] has told me you have lost your mom. I am so sorry. When I lost mine, a friend wrote that no matter how old you are, you are always your mother’s baby, and that makes it hard.

My sincere sympathy, Tim”

A decade later, I had rejoined the company. My father died on a Sunday, and his service was set for that Thursday. But on Tuesday, there was a meeting of The Warren Group board of directors, which I attended. There were eight or nine of us gathered around a table, when Tim Sr. arrived. He waved hello to everyone, then made a beeline for me. “This,” he said to me and to everyone there, “is a man who needs a hug.” And then he gave me one.

I only wish, right now, that I could hug him back.

 

From David Lovins, president of The Warren Group:

This is a family business, so it was a big leap when they decided to bring in a non-family member to run the company. That could have been difficult and awkward. But Tim Sr. made me feel welcome. As a non-Warren taking over the helm of the organization, he made sure that I was treated like one of the family. He gave me the support, nurturing, praise and respect as he would to one of his family members. It made all the difference.

 

From The Warren Family:

Throughout Tim’s life, whether he was working on town, church or college committees, or in his role as a business leader, Tim was a facilitator, bringing people together in calm, rational, and at times humorous, discourse. He said it himself at age 11 when he editorialized on “Cooperation” in The Lovell News. He wrote: “Cooperation is not only two people working together, but they must be willing and cheerful about it. Each person must lift his corner in the great game of life. We would not have any great football teams if it were not for cooperation. We would not have any well-organized clubs or towns either.”

Little did Tim know at the age of 11 that he would lift more than his share of a corner in this great game of life, and that so many people would be the beneficiaries of his efforts. He always put family first and relished wearing the many hats of father, son, grandfather and great-grandfather, and was perhaps happiest when his extended family joined him on vacations in exciting locales.

 

From Steve Sousa, president of the Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers, and former vice president of The Warren Group:

I always envision Tim Sr. as a man of great character, warmth and charm – a gentleman whose smile brightened the office and his sincere interest in people around him set an example for me.

 

From Alan Pasnik, long-time family friend and Warren Group employee:

Before the dawn of the computer age at The Warren Group (pre–1986), we had a group of middle (and beyond) -aged women who staffed the “typing pool” and the production group that prepared the page boards for the weekly production of the newspapers. Per Tim Sr.’s view of the world, there was no “retirement age.” Tim Sr. was extremely popular with this group; he knew everything about each and every one of them – their birthdays, their children’s and grandchildren’s names – because he made a point to genuinely “chat them up” every day that he was here, regardless of any other pressing business matters.  

Many of the people in this group died with their boots on, or didn’t retire until they physically couldn’t perform the work anymore, I’m sure out of a sense of loyalty and a sense of “specialness” that Tim bestowed on them. One woman who worked in this group, Virginia Coulter, was responsible for the “paste-up” of the records section in Banker & Tradesman. She worked here for 72 years, from the time she was 16 until she was 89, maybe a year or two before she died. She was hired by Tim Sr.’s grandfather, the founder of the company, at which time Tim Sr. was an infant.

Long after Tim Sr. turned over the presidency reigns to Tim Jr., he would still come to the office, particularly on Friday and Tuesday, the days that Virginia was doing her paste-up work, and he inevitably would perform his “rounds.” Sometimes, he would  good-naturedly critique Virginia on how she was performing her duties, always with that loving glint in his eyes.

Virginia was strong-willed and feisty and certainly knew how to do her job. On more than one occasion, I heard her reply, “Tim, despite your lofty title of chairman of the board, I want to remind you that when you first came to this company, I was the one enlisted to change your diapers.  I didn’t accept any crap from you then and I won’t now.”  All this to the complete delight of anyone within hearing range, particularly Mr. Sr. himself.

 

From Duncan Todd, publisher of The Horn Book:

Tim Warren Sr. was always the gentleman – sage and generous with his advice and good humor. In all our interactions, whether considering the challenges and opportunities of The Horn Book or crafting a publication for print, his intellect, insight, and respectfulness were examples to me that had a much greater effect on my own development than he could ever have realized. I thank him greatly for the example he set for all of us.

 

From Nena Groskind, former editor at The Warren Group:

I think about the ease and grace he demonstrated as he edged himself out to let Tim Jr. take over. Transitions like that can be difficult, but he made it seem effortless and natural. It was a lot of little things. At staff meetings, Tim Jr. would run the meeting. Over time, it just became clearer and clearer that Tim Jr. was in charge. For someone who’s run a company for so long, he was just so elegant in how he handed over the company.

 

From Linnea Blair, Warren Group human resources manager:

To me, he was, simply, the best man.

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