The fact that I can't recall how Clyde Phillips became a food columnist for The Carthage Press during my watch would indicate the likelihood the idea came from the lifestyles editor at that time, Amy Lamb.
Cooking with Clyde was different from cooking columns in other state newspapers in two senses. It was one of the few cooking columns written by a man and it was geared toward healthy recipes long before other newspapers began heading in that direction.
Take those two ingredients and combine them with a personality known favorably to the Carthage community from his time as The Press' circulation director and it did not take long for Cooking with Clyde to become one of the favorite features of Press readership, something which was borne out by our surveys, as well as by word of mouth.
I was sad Friday when I learned that Clyde died at age 75 . It was not surprising. He had a history of health issues, something which led him to using the recipes that he offered readers each week, but it deprived the world of one of its most genial, likable gentleman.
Clyde was one of those who made my move to The Carthage Press in 1990 a smooth one and he was always helpful to me. He was a bit surprised at the beginning when I regularly asked him questions about Press circulation. As the area reporter, I wanted to know the effect, if any, my reporting in Webb City, Carterville, Sarcoxie, and Jasper, was having on the readership in those communities. I also let Clyde know days when we were having a big story and needed to increase the number of newspapers left at retail outlets in area towns.
And no matter how many times I asked Clyde the same types of questions about circulation, I don't recall one time when he lost his patience. He was always pleasant and always a gentleman, both with the public and with those who worked with him at The Press.
Sadly, the passing of Clyde Phillips marks yet another death of one of the people who provided the solid foundation which made The Carthage Press a highly respected newspaper during the 1980s and 1990s, following longtime newsroom fixtures Marvin VanGilder and Jack Harshaw and composing room foreman Jennifer Martin.
They were among the people who helped make the early years of my experience at The Press so rewarding. And sadly, with the environment of today's newspaper business, it is unlikely we will ever have the chance to see so many quality people at one small-town newspaper again.