|The past editors and publishers of The Provost Star and The Provost News (same newspaper with a name change in the early years):
J. O. York, Phil Schumacher, C. Stafford Poulter, G. L. Hamilton, Jas. G. McKay, Frank J. Schumacher, N. A. Kilburn, The Provost Publishing Co., C. A. Smith. A. A. Thoresen, William D. McKay, John R. McLaughlin, Lindsay Meiklejohn, Mr. Fullerton, Ed Holmes & Son, George S. Holmes, Ronald E. Holmes and the current editor Richard C. Holmes.
The first issue of The Provost Star was dated March 18, 1910 and a copy of that paper, though in brittle condition, still exists. In the middle of that front page that was filled with hand-set type was the understatement of the year, a single line with no more explanation other than: "The press came."
Since that time Holmes Publishing had 75 years of the paper microfilmed because of the problems of deterioration of the old pages. Another project was the compilation and printing by Holmes Publishing Co. Ltd. in 1985 of a 640 page hard cover book called "75 Years of Headlines and Halftones - The Provost Star, The Provost News." The book is filled with reproductions of front pages of the newspaper over the years. It was dedicated to the previous operators of the local newspaper and sold to the general public. Inside the front cover of each book is a different numbered Linotype slug for each of the 250 books.
To see a demo of how the Model 8 Linotype works, click here. This video requires QuickTime which can be downloaded here.
George Slon Holmes, who was born at Carlyle, Sask. on April 16, 1914 followed in the footsteps of his father, coming to Provost when the family bought The Provost News in 1929. His formal education included nine different public schools in four provinces, taking his high school at Provost. Although he wanted further education, money was in short supply at the time.
During WWII Acting Sergeant George S. Holmes served at Calgary and Vancouver Island in Canada in the 31st Reconnaissance Regiment. He was transferred to the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corp. (R.C.O.C.) as a wireless operator and then lent to the United States of America forces and sent to the north Pacific Ocean during the invasion of the Aleutian Islands where the Japanese had advanced. He returned to Provost in 1944 on the death of his father Edward. The News office building was re-built farther north on Main Street following a fire in 1946 and he kept his life filled with a variety of activities and interests.
He was busy in the Community Chest, Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts (where he spent 30 years as Cub, Scout and committee chairman), was awarded the Silver Cross for Gallantry at an incident at Dilberry Lake, enjoyed boating expeditions including river trips, served two terms as mayor, was Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association president and with his wife Margaret taught square dancing. He enjoyed playing goal during his high school years and later for the senior hockey club, taking the train with his team-mates to play in places like Macklin, Sask. and Hughenden.
He was very active in track and field in his younger days and in one regional track meet in Vermilion was Provost High School’s only competitoryet he brought home the overall highest points award that other schools with several athletes had competed for. In the 1930s he enjoyed playing drums for a local orchestra with band leader Marshall Lee and one winter filled in on the Pawsey orchestra of Edgerton that was led by Nellie Pawsey who could be heard on radio and was later featured in the film Bye, Bye, Birdie for her singing talents. George was always interested in flight and in the 1930s he was behind the controls of a glider. Many years later he built small radio controlled airplanes (one quarter scale) that were made of balsa wood that he glued together and covered the wings with nylon, taking his wife’s iron to heat the nylon to stretch the fabric. When he was in his 60s he continued his flying interest and earned a private pilot’s licence and bought a Cherokee aircraft followed by a v-tailed Beech Bonanza that he enjoyed.
A life-long love was his ham radio operation with the call letters VE6YN and the handle “Pudge.” He received his operating licence for the amateur radio in 1933 when Morse Code was a requirement to learn and he kept active in both voice and code transmissions throughout his life.
He experimented and produced offset printing in Provost during the early 1960s.
He was a past-master of the Provost Masonic Lodge and eventually served in the Grand Lodge of Alberta.
George Slon Holmes was editor of The Provost News until 1970 when he expanded the family business by purchasing Modern Press in Medicine Hat Later he added Val Marshall Printing (now Holmes Printing) in Medicine Hat and was joined by son Ron.
George became involved with organizations in Medicine Hat, including tourism, taking a turn as president of the South Eastern Alberta Tourist Association and was actively involved in promoting two world class air shows in that city. He also enjoyed Shrine and Masonic Lodge activities there, was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, and became keenly interested in computer programming and took night classes to learn programming at Medicine Hat College. His Holmes Data Docket is being used on a daily basis in the family printing operation and he taught himself lathe metal working and photography, studying all interests with intensity.
Former editor and publisher of The Provost News, George S. Holmes, 72 died on Monday morning, March 2, 1987 after being taken to Medicine Hat hospital with chest pains. He died at approximately 7:30 a.m.
George Holmes was married to Margaret Mae Ferris (see bio here and continued here) on July 30, 1941. They had a daughter Georgia (Symington), and three sons, Ronald, Roger and Richard as well as 13 grandchildren at that time.
His funeral was held on Thursday, March 5, 1987 at 1 p.m. at Pattison Funeral Chapel, Medicine Hat with interment following at Hillside Cemetery. Rev. (Dr.) Larry Anderson officiated.
Ron Holmes took over The News for a couple of years before joining his father in the printing operation in Medicine Hat. Ron served on the AWNA board as director for a term and though still living in Medicine Hat, is publisher of The Oyen Echo and operates Holmes Printing. Richard Holmes then became editor, a position he has held for over 33 years. he is able assisted by his wife Ruth who looks after typesetting and other duties. Other brother Roger, meanwhile has spent his entire career in the printing and newspaper industry and now operates newspapers and a press in Wainwright. Sister Georgia Symington worked part time at The News but is now living on Vancouver Island.
While operating the weekly newspaper George Holmes’ editorials reflected his strong personal convictions on matters of principle.
The News office was destroyed by fire in 1946 and a new building was erected. George was editor of The News until 1970, serving the community also as mayor, scout master, and in various other organizations and fund-raising committees as well as being involved in the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association, of which he was president. He experimented and produced offset printing in the early 1960s. His son Ron took over The News for a couple of years before joining his father in the printing operation in Medicine Hat. Ron served on the AWNA board as director for a term and though still living in Medicine Hat, is publisher of The Oyen Echo and operates Holmes Printing. Richard Holmes then became editor, a position he has held for over 33 years. Other brother Roger, meanwhile has spent his entire career in the printing and newspaper industry. He is in charge of The Wainwright Star Chronicle twice-weekly newspaper where Holmes Publishing Co. Ltd. has its central web press operations to print its own community newspapers among others.
The current editor set type by hand, operated the hot metal Linotype and did his own scanning on metal plates for the letterpress Meihle that produced four tabloid pages at a time. Phototypesetting was introduced in 1979 followed by a computerized mailing list in the early 1980s. More upgrades followed over the years with the operation now producing colour pictures and separations every week using digital cameras and scanners. All pages are paginated entirely on the screen, turned into PDFs and sent to Wainwright via phone lines for automatic imaging on a high resolution imaging device for output to plates. The central plant plant was the first in Canada weekly or dailyto use the cutting edge technology. Editor Rich Holmes has served as president of the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association and has also served as an director of the association for many years. His wife, Ruth, helps out in sales and typesetting.
On July 5, 2000 The Provost News celebrated its 90th anniversary with a special 188 page edition that included reproductions of dozens of front pages from the very first edition in 1910 up until the year 2000.
The newspaper owners feel optimistic about the growth and future of the community and enjoys serving its readers. Of its 99 years, the local newspaper has remained in the Holmes family for the past 80 years.
© The Provost News.
Reproduction or other use is prohibited without permission of The Provost News.