I canít express how odd and unreal it feels to be sitting in front of the computer on a Friday, like nearly a thousand others except that KC Saxon, who worked with us here at the Post for the last 17 years, is gone. She left us, literally, in the night last Wednesday, and so I am writing a eulogy for her. I have this feeling that sheíll pop into my office at any moment to interrupt me but, of course, she wonít.
KC came to us back in 1995 from California. She had no midwestern roots, but moved with her two young daughters to Rushford on the advice of a friend. She was sick of the California rat race and wanted to leave it behind for a lifestyle less hectic and crowded. Out west she had had media sales experience, so she answered an ad for a sales position with the Post.
KC surely found a quieter and less crowded existence in Rushford, but I doubt if her life at the Post was any great deal more peaceful than what she was used to, since she always brought a great deal of commotion with her wherever she went. Those were tough days for the Post, a bad economy not helped by a stretch during which we had lost our experienced sales people. From her first day she was a driving force in whipping our sales effort back into shape. KC was everything you could ask for in a sales rep, extremely valuable for her energy, high standards, creativity, and dedication to her clients as well as the Post, always a tricky line to walk.
In truth, there was also much more to the Saxon package, and it made dealing with her, especially in the early years, always an...adventure. Like many highly creative people, KC could be temperamental. Moody. Quick to anger, suspicious, 100% for you or against, all in an instant. In fact, she could be hard to get along with. In those first few years KC often tried to quit, and we tried to fire her more than once.
But that never happened, and somehow the blowups always got papered over or patched up. As time went by, they civilized themselves into disagreements, creative ones arising from conflicting strategies for moving towards a common vision, which was always a better newspaper. KC was a fountain of ideas and projects, many of which had to do with sales only tangentially. I donít think she was ever more proud of a successful sales project than her photography (she had an exceptionally good eye) or story ideas that were executed. We learned before very long to never dismiss any idea she had out of hand, no matter how far-fetched it might seem at first blush.
Like in a marriage, common loyalty gradually overrode personal differences, and created trust, and from that and shared experience over time came friendship and a deep affection, you could say love. A small business that functions well becomes a family environment, and we are often enriched by that more than the money anyone makes, (particularly since the recession hit).
Over the past few years, KC was increasingly unwell. She had a condition which her doctors could not diagnose that made her joints swell up, and the medicine she took for the pain and inflammation had side effects that were debilitating, hard on her general health.
This past few weeks she was often weepy, which I found ominous. She was known to cry buckets when angry or upset, but now she just seemed sad. She blamed it on a change in medication. Nevertheless, last Tuesday, a deadline day, she seemed great, her old self. She had brought a big project involving the realtors and banks in for a landing. She fixed the malfunctioning FAX machine, just the sort of odd job that she liked to take on. She was able, at the end of the day, to adroitly shepherd a late ad through the graphics department and into the Wednesday edition. As she left the office, she shouted, ďI love this art department. The Winona Post rocks!Ē
Her last words for us.