by Becky GINOS
BOUNTIFUL—The Clipper staff is mourning the loss of one of their own. Paul Challis, who was an editor, writer and did layout for the paper for many years before taking a job at the Standard Examiner, passed away last week after battling multiple health problems. He was 67.
Everyone who knew Challis said he was a man of few words who loved his job and did it well.
“Paul was always quiet and reserved,” said Melinda Williams, who has now retired from the Clipper. “So much so, that you would sometimes forget he had a great sense of humor. He would sometimes come out with these hilarious zingers that would take you completely off guard because he would deliver them with such a deadpan expression. It would take as much as 20 or 30 seconds for his comment to register, then there would be uproarious laughter.”
“He had a dry sense of humor,” said Rebecca Jamieson, who works in graphics. “When he did talk it was funny. He was really good at layout and making everything fit. He would take a sheet of paper and draw it all out. I was learning to do layout at the time so he really helped me.”
Brad Roghaar worked with Challis when they were both at The Spectrum in St. George. Challis also worked at The Spectrum in Cedar City. “He was committed to the newspaper business,” said Roghaar. “He was a steady Eddy. Paul was a craftsman at writing headlines that fit. It was an art and he did it all day long.”
Clipper Publisher R. Gail Stahle also owned The Spectrum and when he sold it in 1984 Challis moved up to work at the Clipper. “Paul worked hard to get stories for Cedar City,” said Stahle. “He was the salt of the Earth as a journalist and editor. He would just do his thing.”
Challis was also a skilled photographer and loved sports. “I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to work with Paul for three years at the Clipper,” said Dirk Facer who was the Clipper sports editor at the time. “He was a pro’s pro when it came to journalism. I’ve always admired his professionalism as an editor and writer.”
Although he was fully committed to journalism, he was even more committed to his family. “When he came home he left work behind and focused all his efforts on his wife and children,” said his son Paul Challis Jr. “I was rarely told, ‘I don’t have time for that.’ He was always there for us and our biggest fan.”
Challis’ wife Toni struggled with major health issues for 25 years. She passed away 15 years ago. “He was a devoted husband to my mother who suffered with Multiple Sclerosis,” said Paul Jr. “I was there and watched him exercise patience and wisdom as he had to deal with all the burdens associated with her suffering. He used his position as a journalist to spread the word about MS to the community to help people who were in similar circumstances.”
He also adored his grandchildren, said Paul Jr. “The biggest smiles on his face the past few years were when he was holding his grandchildren.”
Challis may not have been a man of many words but he leaves behind a legacy that won’t be forgotten. “He was a humble, quiet giant who loved his God, his family and his community,” Paul Jr. said. “I will definitely miss him because he is my hero, my biggest fan – one of my best friends.”