A difficult goodbye

Robert Maharry
The Grundy Register

In May of 2013, when I arrived at the offices of The Grundy Register for an interview to become the editor of The Conrad Record, I had no idea whether I’d ever set foot in this town or this county again. I was fresh out of college, after all, and I almost certainly gave the wrong answer to at least one of the questions Clint and John asked me—on top of that, John later informed me, I didn’t sit up straight enough. For the record, I still don’t. 


As I prepare to leave this office for the last time and take the next step in my career as the managing editor of a newspaper not too far down the road, the Times-Republican in Marshalltown, I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t taken a chance on this place. I haven’t loved every last minute of it, but the experience has undoubtedly shaped me into the journalist and the person I am today. And it doesn’t hurt that I met my wife here, either. 


It hit me especially hard as I thought about covering the fair a few months ago and remembered how lost and clueless I felt during my first year. By 2021, it had become second nature, and I was explaining to Rhonda which photos to get, what to look out for and who to talk to if you have a question. 


I loved getting to know the people of Beaman, Conrad, Liscomb, Union and Whitten at my first post, and after we merged into The Grundy Register, I relished the opportunity to spread my wings even further and tell stories across this beautiful county along with duties in southern Butler County and Eldora. I’m afraid that if I start recounting too many personal anecdotes, I’ll leave someone out and hurt their feelings, but everyone who has loved or hated the things I’ve written over the years (if I’m betting, the latter outnumber the former) will stick with me long after I’m gone. 


Because of all of the wonderful people I’ve worked with at the Register, I have no doubt that it will remain in great hands for hundreds and thousands of issues to come. I could not ask for better colleagues than Rhonda, Amy, Jake, Ed and Diane, and I of course owe big thanks to people like John, Clint, Lisa, Michaela, Seth, Matt and Toni who have helped me greatly when I desperately needed it. 


To all of the elected officials both local and statewide, thank you for putting up with me and serving these municipalities, these school districts and this county with the utmost integrity. And since I’ll still be a Grundy County resident, I may still see some of you on a regular basis. 


To the team at Mid-America Publishing, thank you for the encouragement and the resources to do the kind of reporting and writing that isn’t always possible inside of a small newsroom, and for allowing me to rant about movies with my friend and co-worker Bridget Shileny from The Wright County Monitor. It is my sincere hope that the column will continue in some form, and that whoever succeeds me will be a lot smarter than I am. 


Last, and most importantly, thank you to the people who read this newspaper. A common refrain I’m sure we’ve all heard is that print journalism is dying, although accounts differ on whether it’s slow and painful or a swift coup de grace. Well, that doesn’t have to be the case. Sure, it’s on the consumer to realize the value of having a local scribe around to document “the first draft of history,” as it’s often called, but it’s also on the reporters themselves to write stories that people care enough to read. 


I’ve done my best to perform that service during my tenure, and if I’m lucky, a researcher attempting to compile a recap of the 2010s in Grundy County someday will look at one of my articles and conclude, “Holy cow, that opening sentence is way too long!” 


It has truly and unequivocally been a joy to work at this publication and work for these communities, and I can’t wait to see what my successor does to carry on the legacy of this newspaper. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping a watchful eye on what’s happening in Grundy County from my perch just to the south, and I’d love to hear from any of you in the future. 


But if you’re really mad, tell it to the next editor. 



The Grundy Register

601 G. Avenue - P.O. Box 245
Grundy Center, IA 50638
Telephone: 1-319-824-6958
Fax: 1-800-340-0805

Mid-America Publishing

This newspaper is part of the Mid-America Publishing Family. Please visit www.midampublishing.com for more information.