Edmonds, man behind the type, dies

Chan Edmonds

Longtime newspaper man Chan Edmonds, known for working quietly behind the scenes running several papers in Western Colorado, has died.

He was 61.

Edmonds grew up in a newspaper family, and before he was teenager he was writing columns with his brother, Ted, for their father’s newspaper, The Pagosa Springs Sun. Edmonds’ career included working as general manager of The Daily Sentinel in the 1970s   and as manager of the former Valley Journal in Carbondale. Edmonds was one of four founders of the Grand Junction Free Press. His latest venture was working with computers for Swift Communications.

“He was the engine that made everything go,” said John Duffy, a Free Press business partner and friend. “There are a lot of little details that make a newspaper go. He made sure that everyone was doing everything right, and he did it without any fanfare. He would not make noise about it, and he would not want you to brag about him.”

Edmonds is remembered for embracing new technology. Although his career started with the Linotype, a machine that used hot metal to set a line of type, he helped usher in new technology called cold type, which used computers and word processors.

When The Daily Sentinel building burned down in 1974 during his tenure, Edmonds worked with employees to bring on the new changes, his son Chance Edmonds said.

“When the building burned down they fired up the presses within 45 days,” Chance Edmonds said. “That was unheard of at the time. I’m sure he had a lot to do with how it all happened.”

Chan Edmonds, along with Ken Johnson, Duffy and Bob Wilson, launched the Free Press on May 19, 2003, and sold to Swift Communications in 2005. During the paper’s startup, Chance Edmonds learned from his father how to create a computer network for the newspaper.

Chan Edmonds continued to work for Swift, coordinating its technical aspects. He also loved river running and had hiked all of the West’s national parks, citing Zion National Park as his favorite, business partner and friend Johnson said.

Chance Edmonds remembers his father as a “workaholic,” though he never missed one of Chance’s football games. For years, while Chance was in middle school and high school, his father commuted to Carbondale to run the Valley Journal, opting to make the drive instead of displacing his family. Chance Edmonds recalls his father often going to bed early but waking up at 2 to 3 a.m. each morning to get started on a day’s work.

“All he’s ever known since he was a kid was newspaper,” Edmonds said.

His father so loved new gadgets and technology that one Christmas he purchased iPods for presents, not getting one for himself.

“He was a very selfless person,” Edmonds said.

Chan Edmonds had stomach surgery about a year ago, his son said, when doctors determined his stomach had turned upside down. He was ill during the past year and had good and bad days, but he never complained about being in pain, Chance said.

Johnson recalled Chan Edmonds during his time at The Sentinel as humble and quiet, and “you would never know he was the No. 2 guy.”

“He cared about people and didn’t worry about being a hotshot,” said Johnson, who was then publisher.

Edmonds also is survived by son Val Gallegos; one brother, Ted Edmonds; two grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. A memorial celebration of his life will be June 19 at Grande River Vineyards, 787 Elberta Ave.


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