Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dick Wallace retiring from Freedom Communications

I didn't blog last night because I was at the surprise retirement party for Dick Wallace, who is sort of retiring after almost 47 years at Freedom. He married into the Hoiles family and has devoted most of his life to working for the company -- at everything from learning at low-level jobs to being general manager of the Register to some sort of executive vice president at corporate.

I got to know Dick reasonably well when he was at the Register, and liked him instantly. He is genuinely devoted to libertarian ideas -- he has donated a huge library of libertarian books to Chapman University and has been the prime mover behind Freedom School, where publishers and editors and editorial writers go to spend several days "thinking about big ideas," as Jonathan Rauch, one of the speakers at the most recent one, put it. Jonathan told me he knows of no other company that does anything remotely similar.

Dick and Pat have three sons, two of whom are very active with the company and the moving force behind the desire to keep the company in the family and keeping it devoted to libertarian principles.

Anyway, it was a great party, at the Balboa Bay Club, and it was a genuine surprise. Tom Palmer sent a video and David Nott of Reason Foundation came. And Scott Flanders, Terry Horne, Dave Threshie, Tibor Machan, Tom Grochow and about 75 others came. It was a well-deserved tribute and sendoff to one of the really good guys.

Dick won't be completely gone. He told me one of the reasons he's "retiring" is so the company can have his salary for other purposes, but he plans to remain active, especially in organizing the Freedom Schools.

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