By Joyce Glynn
“I am not looking for a full or part-time job,” Tim Huether says with his signature humor, as he nears the end of a 34-year career in the newspaper publishing business.
“But,” he adds with a grin, “I am looking for a second job for my wife to help pay for my health insurance.”
This will mark Huether’s last week of owning a business, where the demands of daily and weekly deadlines have given him few opportunities to ‘leave work at the office.’
“After 34 years, my gas tank is about empty,” he explains. “Emotionally, I put so much into the papers, that now I’m just tired. I’ve only missed three Tuesdays (press day) in the past 17 years. I want time for myself while I can still enjoy life. I have many hobbies, and I’ve neglected them.”
It’s easy to understand this statement, when you look at where he’s been the past 34 years.
After growing up on a ranch near Wall, SD, Huether graduated with a BS degree in Journalism/Advertising from South Dakota State University. Following a semester as a graduate teaching assistant in the journalism department, he took a job at the daily Aberdeen American News.
A year later, he moved to Billings, Mont., where his future wife, Marie, was finishing her degree in nursing. A sales position at the Klamath Falls Herald and News led to a management position within the company at the Wyoming State Journal, and a move with his new bride to Lander, Wyo.
Another promotion in the company took them to Elko, Nev. at the Elko Daily News. A few years later, once again due to a promotion earned by hard work and dedication, he took over as the General Manager at the Record Courier in Gardnerville, Nev.
Five years later, the opportunity arose for the Huether family to move closer to home when Tim was offered a position as General Manager over several newspapers in North Dakota and the Tri-State Livestock News, based in Sturgis, S.D.
In May 2001, another opportunity presented, which brought the Huethers to Martin, S.D., their final move, with the purchase of the Bennett County Booster.
“Because of promotions in other jobs,” Huether said, “we moved every few years. Purchasing the Booster gave our family stability, and the community has been awesome for my family. From the first day when we got here, it’s been easy to give back to the community.”
Starting and organizing the annual Parade of Lights, as well as time spent as a volunteer coach for youth baseball and youth flag football, The Huethers are committed to the community and its growing citizens.
“Marie and I started and funded the Martin Flag Football League in 2004,” he shares solemnly, “in honor of our son Jacob, who passed away in 2003. The league is still going strong today.”
Grounded with the stability of owning the Booster, Tim and Marie, along with his brother Mike and his wife Marilyn, partnered to purchase the Todd County Tribune in Mission, S.D. and the Mellette County News in White River, S.D. Mike has since passed away, and Tim and Marie purchased the shares then owned by Marilyn.
In 2011, Tim and Marie again grew their publishing reach, with the purchase of the Sheridan County Journal Star newspaper in Gordon, Neb. Recently, their son Jordan and his wife Rachael, took over ownership and management of the Journal Star.
The final addition to Huether Publishing took place in 2012 with the purchase of the Edgemont Herald Tribune. In 2017 they expanded it to cover all of Fall River County and changed the name to the Fall River County Herald.
Intertwined, are the boards and committees Huether has served on, in each of the communities in which they have lived. From being named Citizen of the Decade by the Carson Valley Lions Club as well as Business Person of the Year by the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, to Business Person of the Year by the Martin Area Chamber of Commerce, and serving as board member and president of the Chamber of Commerce in three different communities, Huether has shown his commitment to local community.
On a statewide level, he spent four years as a Board of Director for the South Dakota Newspaper Association, serving as the president from 2006-07. Most recently, he has served SDNA as their representative to the South Dakota High School Activities Association media advisory committee.
“I have covered school sports extensively since 2001 and will greatly miss working with and around the kids and coaches,” Huether said. “Getting to know most of those young athletes and watch them move up from junior high to their senior year has been a wonderful experience. I like to follow the path of the athletes at all the schools we have covered.”
Huether is sure that newspapers have a good future.
“There is a need to have the real news,” he explains, “the news you can trust. Our newspapers have done real well, and I’m very happy Mandy and Bob Scherer have decided to purchase our newspapers and take over. Mandy has been an awesome employee and will continue the tradition of putting out a solid community newspaper.”
He is confident the Scherers have the key elements for a good business.
“They care about the community, and care about putting out a good product,” he explained.
What does October 2, 2018, look like for Tim Huether, the day after the purchase of his newspapers to the Scherers becomes official?
“When I have time, I’d like to write a non-fiction book,” Huether shares, “about life growing up on a ranch and the path of going from a poor young cowboy to owning my own newspapers - stories about Shetland ponies, rattlesnakes, and having a car break down in the Badlands and walking home in the pitch dark.”
An avid gardener, Huether plans to spend more time working in it, as well as expanding his grape vineyard, where he is experimenting with making his own homemade wine. With the purchase of a small portable saw mill, he hopes to spend more time on the woodworking projects he envisions.
“My saving grace in all of this,” Tim says with sincerity, “is having a wife so understanding and supportive.”
“Of course, Marie has a long list of things for me to do,” he adds, once again with a grin. “I have a fishing pole that hasn’t seen water in 15 years, and I think I’ll dust off my guitar.”
But no doubt, he will stay involved in the community he loves and calls home.