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Kimsey closing in on half-century mark

Don Kimsey has been working at The Albany Herald since he was 14 years old.

Don Kimsey has been working at The Albany Herald since he was 14 years old.

ALBANY -- In 1966, when Don Kimsey got a job as a copy boy with The Albany Herald, he was just 14 years old. Little did he know that once he entered the building, he would never leave.

But Kimsey, now 59 and the Herald's senior active employee, wouldn't have it any other way.

In a way it's not surprising. His father, Don Sr., was The Herald's managing editor for more than 25 years, and gave his son his first job.

"Once the ink gets into your blood, it stays there and never goes away," said Kimsey, who is now The Herald's composing director. "I was a copy boy for five years. I'd take the stuff from the AP and UPI machines and would cut up the stories and take them to sports and news. I also made a lot of trips to the Quickie for coffee."

After five years as a copy boy, Kimsey married his wife, Becky, and moved into the composing room.

"I was getting married and needed to make more money," he recalled. "I worked on the rack proof reading the pages. Because we were still using hot type then you had to learn how to read upside down and backwards.

"It was interesting back then just building the pages. The newsroom decided what went on page one and maybe the second page, but we put together the rest of the pages. It was fun."

In his 45 years with the paper, Kimsey has seen the evolution of publishing from hot type, to paste up to digital imaging.

"Oh, things are much different today," said Kimsey. "But we are actually producing the same product, we're just going about it a completely different fashion. But the biggest change over the past 45 years is when we went from an afternoon to a morning paper.

"That changed everything. We were still doing the same work, but what changed was when we did it."

Kimsey used to blow off steam by teaching Karate for more than 25 years. He's held a black belt all that time.

"I taught (karate) for nearly 30 years, and it really helped be relive stress." said Kimsey. "I love it. It was lots of fun, but it took a lot of time and Becky told me that she was going to start traveling and I was welcome to come along. There went karate."

Now Kimsey gardens and works in the yard and plays golf -- with Becky.

After 45 years, he says he still enjoys his work at the paper.

"I like the people and the newspaper business," Kimsey said. "I've always liked the work and the people I work with. I don't know if I would really do anything differently. I kind of regret not going back and finishing college, but I don't regret that I have worked here all of my life.

"I turn 60 in December, and I plan on being here for awhile. I've done OK."