last day

Rick Twigg, a copy editor at the Cumberland Times-News, looks over a proof of the front page of the weekly real estate guide at his desk Friday, his last day on the job.

John A. Bone
Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — As a young school teacher in Frederick looking for a way to supplement his income to help raise his family, Rick Twigg would moonlight at a newspaper, never expecting it would change his career path and lead him on a 45-year journey ended by his retirement from the Cumberland Times-News on Friday.

“I went to the Frederick News-Post thinking maybe I could be a nighttime driver, anything,” Twigg said. “They had a job reading copy and I took it.” Eventually, Twigg was offered and accepted the job of sports editor.

“I taught during the day and worked at the paper six nights a week,” he said.

In 1967, a sports reporting job opened at Cumberland’s morning paper, The Cumberland News, bringing Twigg back to his hometown and putting him to work for C.V. “Jiggs” Burns, the workaholic sports editor. It was the first of Twigg’s 41 years at the company on the corner of Baltimore and Mechanic.

“Jiggs was married to his job,” Twigg recalled this week. “I’d come to work at 5:30 (p.m.) and he would already be there. I’d leave at midnight and he would still be working. The cleaning lady would tell me she would see him working at 3 a.m. Then Suter Kegg would come in at 5 or 6 a.m. to work on the (Cumberland) Evening Times and Jiggs would still be there. Jiggs even took vacation to put together the year-end wrap-up of sports that we ran in those days. He never took a coffee break. Every once in a while he would lean back and light a cigar.”

Twigg said his nightshift job and wife Sandy’s day job allowed them about an hour a day together. “But I wouldn’t trade the time it gave me with my kids during the day,” he said of Rick, now a music teacher in Howard County, and Judy, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.

With Burns’ retirement, Twigg became the sports editor for the morning paper. In 1984 he became a copy editor, a job he held until retirement.

With the exception of a couple of months, Jan Alderton, managing editor, has worked with Twigg for the duration of his Times-News career.

“As people like Rick retire, the impact of old-school journalists is diminished,” Alderton said. “He started when we used linotype, then moved to cold type and now to computers and pagination. Throughout, he handled a tremendous behind-the-scenes workload. We’ll miss him because of that, and I’ll miss him personally.”

Twigg said because of his newspaper work, he had experiences that he would have otherwise missed. “I went for a ride in the Goodyear blimp, in a glider and in a P-51 Mustang, which is a World War II fighter plane. I went to Atlanta to report on a Baltimore Colts game. I saw the last game at Forbes Field and the second game at Three Rivers Stadium,” said the Pittsburgh Pirates fan.

An avid reader, Twigg said he has plenty of books to read in retirement. “It will probably take me longer to read all the Civil War books than it did to fight the Civil War,” he said. His community involvement in-cludes membership on a YMCA selection committee that will choose the next director of that facility. And he plans to travel, not only to see his children and grandchild, but also to London and New York City. Recently, along with his daughter, he traveled to Africa.

Jim Goldsworthy has been a copy editor working alongside Twigg.

“Rick Twigg is one of the finest people I know, and I’ve known him for 39 years,” Goldsworthy said.

“He was involved mostly in page production and wrote only on rare occasions, which is too bad because he has a warmth and humanity that only those who know him get to see. After his mom died a number of years ago, he wrote a column about her that moved me deeply, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about his adventures in Africa. He loves his family and is justifiably proud of it.

“There were times he’d get an assignment and look at it and tell me he didn’t know how he was ever going to manage it. I usually knew what it involved, and didn’t know either. Regardless of what it was, he always got it done, and on time, and probably did it better than I could have.

“When he did have a free moment, he usually asked me and the other guys who work in our section if there was anything he could do to help us. Then he would thank us for what we did. Rick is my friend, and I respect him and have great affection for him. I’m going to miss having him here for a lot of reasons.”

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

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