Athens Review, Athens, Texas

November 19, 2012

Of those I’ve met during my career, one always comes to mind

Kathi Nailling
The Athens Review

Athens — When I think about all the people who have come in and out of my life during my time with newspapers, one person always comes to mind, Ann Rounsvall.

If you have been around Henderson County very long, you knew Ann Rounsvall. Ann was the General Manager of the Cedar Creek Pilot back in the middle 1990s. If my memory serves me right, it must have been ‘94 or ‘95.

To say Ann is memorable is an understatement. Ann was not only a great General Manager, she was a hoot to hang around with.

Ann made working a fun experience. I always showed up at work not knowing what the day would bring.

I heard through the grapevine that Ann will be celebrating a birthday on Nov. 21. I won't say which birthday, but it will be somewhat of a milestone. When I was thinking about Ann's birthday, I thought about the years I spent with Ann at the Pilot.

Dan Dwelle named Ann the General Manager of the Pilot. Who was this woman? It didn't take me long to find out – everyone in Henderson County knew Ann. She,  at one time, had been the Editor of the Malakoff News.

Ann, raised in Trinidad, loved her little town.  She could sit for hours, and tell you stories about Trinidad and Henderson County. Now that I think about it, I did sit for hours listening to Ann reminisce about her childhood in Trinidad. 

I have a couple of my own stories about working with Ann. My favorite was when the Pilot was giving away little radios as a promotion for new subscribers. These were small yellow jam-box-looking radios with  the Cedar Creek Pilot printed on top of the music boxes. The idea was to give the radios to new subscribers. The subscriber would come into the Pilot office to pickup their radio.

Not everyone could make it into the office. We had one lady who was disabled, who wanted a radio, but  there was no way she could get to our office.

Ann, as always, the boss who believed in great customer service, wanted to take the lady a radio. Ann asked where she lived.

This woman lived in a part of Cedar Creek Lake that was known for it's drug activity. Ann said “Kathi, get in the car. Let's go.” Since I was such a good employee, I got in the car, and off we went.

Ann and I finally located this woman. I was right – The neighborhood  was not one of the better ones at Cedar Creek Lake.  Best I can remember, it was a pretty scary. 

Ann stops in the driveway, but does not shut her car off.  She turns  to me, and as serious as she could, she says, “Kathi, you go give her the radio. I will stay here with the car running, and if anyone grabs you, I will go for help.” That was Ann – always had my back.

By the way, the lady grabs the radio, and slams the door in my face. All Ann would say is, “Kathi, we did the right thing.” She was absolutely right.

My other favorite story about Ann was when she and I worked the Chamber of Commerce booth at the Dallas Boat Show. We worked in the evening. I think we left the Boat Show around 7 or 8 p.m. Ann wanted to go to the Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Dallas for dinner. Great, let's go.

Ann again was driving when she pulled out of Market Center where the Boat show was being held, and  I thought she turned the wrong direction.

I said “Ann I think downtown is behind us.” She says to me, “Kathi this is my old-stumping grounds. I know exactly where we are.”

Okay. As we continued driving we started passing businesses that didn't look familiar to Ann. I don't think this was Ann's stomping grounds. 

All we could see were topless bars. I think it might have been hard on her, but she finally admitted she had turned the wrong direction when we left the Boat Show.

I kept my mouth shut, even though I could see the downtown skyline behind us.

To make this night worse, when we left Spaghetti Warehouse, we found  Ann's car okay, but could not figure out how to get out the parking lot. Ann must have driven in circles for about 10 minutes before we found an exit.

I still laugh when I think about us lost in a parking lot. We just thought we were smart, intelligent women.

Like Ann can talk about her little town of Trinidad, I could go on and on with Ann Rounsvall stories.   She made working a fun experience. Everyone who was lucky enough to have worked and played with Ann can laugh at the adventures she took us all on.

I miss Ann, but I know I will always have my memories of the years at the Pilot when Ann Rounsvall was at the helm.

Ann, I hope your birthday brings all the happiness and fun you deserve. It's never too late to have more adventures. Have a great birthday.

Kathi Nailling is a Staff Writer for the Athens Daily Review.