He was there when I went to work for The Lancaster News in 1988. And he was there when I retired Dec. 31, 2015.
Now, Robert Howey, “Mr. Lancaster News,” is retiring after working there for 45 years.
I dubbed Robert “Mr. Lancaster News” years ago. That’s because no matter where I went on assignments, meetings, etc., in the community or throughout the state, people would ask me if I knew Robert Howey.
If we went to an event together, he was the center of attention. And for good reason. His rapport, camaraderie and infectious personality endear him to people.
Robert has documented the accomplishments of so many in his stories, photos and columns he’s written in the past four and a half decades. He’s a team player and willing to help wherever needed.
Robert is a highly skilled sports editor. His sports stories are objective, packed with stats and play-by-play action. He’s covered athletes from the time they were youngsters, through college and even into the pros. His beloved columns spew accolades for those involved in sports, as well those in his family and the community.
Robert has a great memory. I often went to him to ask about events or people from years ago. He had the answer immediately and would add what game was being played, when it was played and who was the top scorer. I was always amazed.
He’s patient. When I went to work at the paper, I was trained in each department of the newsroom. As a trainee, I was learning the sports desk with Robert and his assistant, Dave McCallum. They had written four stories on the schools’ Friday night football games. Twenty minutes before deadline I inadvertently overwrote two of the stories. When I told Robert, he remained calm, looked at Dave and said, “Start writing.”
Robert’s wife, Anne, as well as their two children, Caroline and Jackson, have adapted to Robert’s passion for sports. Even at Robert and Anne’s wedding, after saying “I do,” he followed up quickly with “Go Buford.”
Robert has been a true asset to The Lancaster News. While he has garnered numerous awards for his work over the years, he’s remained humble. His loves are his family, friends and career.
Over the years, Robert and I have laughed, cried and faced some challenges together. He’s much more than my former co-worker, he is a beloved friend.
And I wish Robert and his family a happy retirement.
Barbara Rutledge is former editor of The Lancaster News.