Donald "Don" Reese has ended a career that spanned 44 continuous years with the TIMES NEWS.

Reese, who began that career as an advertising salesman, retired as advertising director Friday.

He and his staff have achieved dozens of advertising awards on the state and national level.

Just recently, Reese was interviewed for two articles appearing in a national trade publication on advertising concepts.

"The neat thing about this is we're a small paper," Reese said regarding the articles. "Usually they interview representatives of papers from Chicago, Boston, and other larger papers."

A graduate of the McCann School of Business, Reese said he initially "wasn't sure what direction I was going to go."

Robert Rybarczyk, who was the general manager of advertising for the former Tamaqua Courier newspaper, told him he would be a good candidate for sales.

"Rybarczyk was my mentor," Reese said. "He was very helpful."

When the Courier merged with the TIMES NEWS, Reese came aboard as an advertising salesman.

He quickly climbed the promotion ladder and soon was named advertising director.

Of his retirement, he said, "It seems like the years just went fast, especially when I got involved on the management side."

He led the staff to their numerous awards, but stressed, "Technically I was the ad director. The staff did it."

As ad director, he was also the trainer for the advertising staff.

Reese mentioned the numerous, drastic changes that have occurred in the newspaper business since he had his start.

The Tamaqua Courier was a letter press, in which lead galleys of type were used for creating newspaper pages. Newspaper adswere created on "mats," which were applied to the hot lead.

When he came to the TIMES NEWS, he was introduced to an offset photo process.

This eventually became offset digital.

Besides selling advertising, he played with various oldies bands he formed, including GTO (which stood for Good Time Oldies), the Fabulous Dynamics, and then The Dynamics.

That music career has taken him all over the mid-Atlantic states. He did performances in New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, and Delaware. From 1992, many of those venues were casinos.

Reese said he and his wife, who is a school teacher, plan to do some traveling during his retirement.

"We like the West Coast Vegas, Laughlin, Palm Springs," he said.

"I don't have any desires for international travel," Reese added. "I like traveling in the United States."

His successor as advertising director is Kevin Hardy, who comes to the TIMES NEWS from Berkshire Hathaway Media Group in Virginia.