Remembering Minnie Alberts

May 9, 2019

By Julie Traynor

Marion’s Minnie Alberts, 92, at home last year.  

We lost a valuable part of the fabric of Marion with the passing of Minnie Alberts last month. She was a child of Marion who spent most of her 92 years in the village. She is someone who loved Marion and cared greatly about her people and her future. Minnie Hall Alberts is someone to remember.

Minnie Hall and Fred Alberts, 1945.

Minnie Hall was born in Middle Branch Township during the Great Depression to Clarence Hall and Martha Koegler Hall (Blackledge). She graduated from Marion High School in the spring of 1945 and wed her high school sweetheart, Fred Alberts on August 8, when he returned from WWII. The couple built a home on the Mill Pond and settled down to enjoy a good life in Marion, Michigan, and they did.

Minnie Alberts joined the staff of the Marion Press in 1953 under Bob Sharp’s editorship, 1950-1982, and just as the paper was poised to move into a new building on the south side of Main Street.

It was through her work at the Press that she became acquainted with several generations of Marionites. She knew many now retired Press readers when we were small children. She may have even typed the copy for our birth announcements. Minnie knew our parents and grandparents, our aunts and uncles and cousins. Her career at the Press gave her a unique perspective and understanding of our little town. She knew us well warts and all. Minnie Alberts probably knew us better than we knew ourselves.
The long columns of neighborhood social interactions were the core and meat of most small town newspapers, well into the 1980’s. For many years, in weekly installments, we followed each other’s comings and goings. We knew who was related to whom, and who had dinner where and with whom, and who married, divorced, had babies and lost loved ones.

The ‘Locals by Minnie Alberts’ column kept us up on the social doings in the village. The Locals noted addresses for those in the military and those in the hospital. She reported on bridal and baby showers, birthdays and family reunions, and told us who came home to visit for the holidays or went on vacation where.

Members of Fred›s Barber Shop bowling team 1960-61. Left to right, Mona Wooten, unknown, Barb Tower, Gladys Richardson and Minnie Alberts. Mona and Minnie were lifelong friends. This photo was taken in the Press Office and we apologize for the quality.

When Minnie went to work at the Marion Press, she unwittingly began a career in the local news and all that involved. For many years, before the advent of computers at the Press office, everything was done on the typewriter. Minnie Alberts could type like the wind. Part of her job was to type up the often handwritten ‘neighborhood news’. Harder still was to type as she balanced the receiver on her shoulder while a correspondent read her copy over the telephone. She did it all and did it well.

“When I bought the Press in 1982 Minnie was running the front office. She had daily operations well under control. She knew almost everyone in Marion and was a very positive person. She typically had something nice to say about everyone who called or stopped by the office,” says Jim Blevins, former Marion Press owner, editor and publisher, 1982-2009. 

“I grew up in Marion and knew a lot of the people that Minnie knew. The difference was that she knew instinctively how all the pieces of our little hometown fit together and why some people acted or reacted the way they did. Her insight was priceless.”

Jim also added, “Minnie was the same steady, reliable person day after day. That set a very positive tone for all of us to work with and really set the standard for how we did business. I am forever grateful for her leadership style.”

 “My mom always saw the best in other people and believed that we are all good at heart,” echoes Minnie’s son Doug Alberts. “She didn’t care about race, color, sexual orientation or any of the other things by which people are judged. She taught me that character matters the most.”

“The most important thing about my mom was her commitment to her values. I’ve yet to meet another person who more exemplified good Christian values than my mom did. She didn’t judge others. She believed strongly in seeing the silver lining rather than the dark cloud. Mom always felt it was our duty to help others and to be good stewards of the planet God gave us. Mom demonstrated these beliefs in part by helping wherever she could.”

Both Doug and Jim recalled her great dedication to the many community groups to which she belonged. She felt that the volunteering of her time made a real difference and was a supporter of many causes and a member of many organizations through her long life. Among them were the VFW Auxiliary, the Methodist Church, the Marion Area Historical Society and the MHS Band and Sports Boosters, where she particularly enjoyed volunteering. She was a founding member of the Marion Eagles #4077.

People knew they could count on Minnie. She got things done.

Son Doug remembers, “As she taught me growing up, we can do great things and take care of one another when we work together. My mom was loving, kind, generous and positive and if we were all a little more like her there would be no wars, no discrimination and no questions about helping those in need. I know I am biased, but she is to date the kindest person I have ever known. It is because of her that I went into social work.”

Minnie Alberts worked for the Marion Press for 41.5 years. According to Doug, she was always precise with that half year and very proud of her career. She worked with Bob Sharp and Jim Blevins, retiring, as Jim put it “over several years” and was never truly ready to call it quits. She loved to be involved in Marion’s daily life as much as she loved her family.

There will be a celebration of Minnie’s Good Life on June 8, 2019. Details will be forthcoming in the Marion Press.  

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