Sheri and Bill Gladding

A Brief History
(Posted August 13, 2013)

Birth of a Newspaper

July 1, 2009 marked the 40th anniversary of the Gladding family in the newspaper business in Tavistock creating the longest succession of ownership in the history of the Gazette. Bob (1924-2012) and Doris took over the paper on July 1, 1969 from Hart and Edna Brown. The Browns had operated the business for 30 years with Hart’s father George owning it for the previous 10 years. Their ownership spanned just 4 months short of 40 years - October 1929 to June 30, 1969.

The Gladdings have taken on a legacy that began in 1895 when the Tavistock Gazette won the battle for Tavistock’s news. The Tavistock Mail started publishing a few weeks before in September of 1895 and produced two editions. N.H. Boden printed the sheet out of Drumbo, but J.W. Green was assured support by villagers and set up shop and printed the first edition of The Tavistock Gazette on September 25, 1895.

In 1900, Frank H. Leslie bought the Gazette and in 1904 sold to Charles Fraser. Norman E. Dopp bought the business in 1908 and in 1910, Frank Leslie re-purchased the paper with George Shibley serving as editor. In 1912, the printing office was moved from Woodstock Street South to the Opera Hall block where it flourished for 50 years.

Wm. Appel, then Reeve of the village, purchased Tavistock’s weekly newspaper in 1914 and turned the business over to his son, Lorne W. “Chick” Appel in 1916. Chick continued to run the paper until 1929 when the Browns took over.

The Browns moved the printing office to the former Strahm’s Garage on Woodstock Street South, it’s present location, in December of 1962.

The Gladding Legacy

Bob Gladding was born in Stratford and his family moved to Lakeview (now part of Toronto) for a time. He loved model airplanes as a child and continued to fly remote control planes. At age 18, he became a printer’s apprentice at the Stratford Beacon Herald. He swept floors and cleaned Linotype machines for $10 a week. Later, he joined Spitzer and Mills Advertising Agency in Toronto as a salesman, but decided the city life was not for him. He and a buddy rode their motorcycles out west and Bob gained experience building new homes in Trail, British Columbia.

He returned to Stratford and the Beacon Herald printing division, but heard the country’s call and joined the air force in 1942. Bob was shipped to Montreal for basic training and on to Ottawa for ground school pilot training, then to Virden, Manitoba for flight training and then Brandon, Manitoba to air gunnery school.

After the war, he returned to Stratford and the Beacon Herald. He married Doris Taylor in 1949. They moved to Wingham where Bob was employed with the Wingham Advance Times newspaper and printing office. But when the business was sold, he moved back to Stratford and joined International Artcrafts, a custom printing company, becoming plant manager in 1966. The Gladdings moved to Tavistock in 1952 and Bob started working for Hart Brown at The Gazette part-time. In March of 1969 he started full-time and purchased the business July 1, 1969.

Doris was his partner in the business and worked part-time after their son and his wife took over the business in 1988.

Bob and Doris’s second son, Bill, worked after school for some years and upon graduation, worked at International Artcrafts where he operated a Monotype machine for a year and a half. He joined the Gazette full-time in 1974. That same year, the Gazette converted their printing operation from the old hand set and hot metal production that had been used since the newspaper was established, to offset printing. The production process evolved from an IBM Selectric typewriter to a Compugraphic imagesetting machine, to desktop publishing with a Macintosh computer.

Bill took over as editor of The Gazette in 1980 and he and his wife, Sheri, purchased the company on March 3, 1988. Bill became editor/publisher and Sheri is secretary/treasurer.

Bob retired in 1990 when Dave Vere became the company's pressman. Dave left in 1995 and Bob came out of retirement to once again run the newspaper.

A Linotype-Hell digital imagesetting machine was put into production in 1992 and in 1998, photographic film was replaced by digital photography.

On June 5, 2006, the Toronto Star ran a feature story on the Gazette.

March 17, 2010 was the last publication of the Gazette to be printed in-house by Bob Gladding who retired from the production team due to failing health. He passed away March 6, 2012. (see obituary)

A New Era

The publication of March 24, 2010 began a stint of publishing through Oxford Web Publications in Woodstock. They closed in 2012 and Ricter Web in Brantford printed the newspaper beginning February 22, 2012. The Guelph Mercury took over printing duties on June 6, 2012. At this time the Gazette reduced its page size from 17" to 15" tabloid depth. With the change, colour was made available in 2012 and the first colour pages were printed on June 20, 2012.

Over the years, Macintosh computer systems have been upgraded regularly as well as a wide array of Canon digital cameras. Currently the Gazette uses a 27" iMac computer running Adobe Creative Suite (Version 4). The newspaper is paginated in Adobe InDesign and photographs are manipulated in Adobe Photoshop. The pages are then converted to pdf documents and uploaded to a print server where the contracted publishing house prints 1,350 copies of the newspaper. Pages are sent Monday evening and the finished newspaper is delivered Tuesday morning. Subscriber mailing addresses are added manually with a wing mailer, bundled and taken to the local Canada Post office for distribution. A number of newspapers are also delivered to local retail outlets for re-sale.

The Tavistock Gazette is located at 119 Woodstock Street South, Tavistock
Telephone 519-655-2341 or e-mail

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