Fix-it guy helped keep Sentinel running

Retired pressroom manager Langford dies; worked at paper 40 years

Longtime Sentinel pressman Duke Langford

Duke Langford was a do-it-yourself kind of guy.

When the lawn mower was broken or the electricity wasn’t working, he didn’t like to call for help, his wife said.

When something needed fixing in The Daily Sentinel pressroom — or employees at the Sentinel needed feeding — Langford wanted take care of things on his own, even after he retired from the newspaper in 2005.

On Saturday, Langford, a former pressroom manager and 40-year employee of the newspaper, died from complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

He was 66.

“He was one of the guys you work with that you will always remember,” said Bud Winslow, operations manager at The Daily Sentinel, who worked with Langford for a decade.

Vernon “Duke” Langford began working for The Daily Sentinel on Feb. 1, 1965, and retired on the 40th anniversary of his employment in 2005. He was the pressroom manager at the time of his retirement.

In the years since, Langford popped into The Daily Sentinel every so often with enough salsa, chili or tacos to feed dozens.

“He loved to cook,” said Ethel Langford, Duke’s wife of 41 years. “Sometimes it wouldn’t come out like he wanted, but he loved to cook. He liked his salsa and loved to bring in tacos for everybody. He loved to come in and talk to everybody.”

Winslow said Langford was a great manager who “really got to know” the people who worked for him.

Ethel Langford said her husband enjoyed working in the printing industry, which is why he stayed involved with The Daily Sentinel for four decades.

“He liked working with the big press and what it could do and was very proud of the product he got out,” Ethel Langford said. “He just enjoyed doing his work.”

Langford was born in Canon City and went to high school in Nucla but never graduated.

He got his nickname, Duke, from his father, who used to smoke Duke’s Mixture tobacco.

Before working for The Daily Sentinel, Langford worked on oil rigs and in uranium mines near Naturita. He served in the U.S. Navy in the early 1960s.

Ethel Langford said her husband did not want a funeral, so the family plans to cremate his body and spread his ashes on the
Uncompahgre Plateau, where he hunted for 20 years.

“He loved to go hunting and fishing,” Ethel Langford said.


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