Newspaper family starts Clearwater Times 50 years ago

Dave Berryman’s family had run a newspaper in Saskatchewan for most of the early 1900s and then started the Oliver Chronicle.

Members of the Berryman clan gather for a photograph shortly after the Times began publication. Pictured are (l-r) Jeff

Members of the Berryman clan gather for a photograph shortly after the Times began publication. Pictured are (l-r) Jeff

The Clearwater-North Thompson Times will turn 50 years old this week. The newspaper’s first issue (Vol. 1, No. 1) came out on Sept. 23, 1964.

The Times’ first owners were Dave Berryman and family.

“Dad’s DNA was newspaper,” recalled Chris Berryman, one of Dave Berryman’s children.

Dave Berryman’s family had run a newspaper in Saskatchewan for most of the early 1900s. When he was 16 his parents moved to Oliver, B.C., where they started the Oliver Chronicle.

Berryman worked on the Chronicle until going to UBC to study engineering (metallurgy). After a few years as a metallurgist, he and his new wife returned to the Chronicle when his mother died in the 1950s. They got the Chronicle into the black and then sold it.

Berrymans work“After not really enjoying his career in metallurgy, Dad and Mom figured newspapering was what my Dad did best and started the Times in 1964,” said Chris.

Memories of those early years are still vivid with Chris. At the time, the only road to Kamloops was a dirt track.

“Boy, I sure remember the printing presses,” he added. “I think the big one was called the ‘Gordon’, and was so large it needed a separate shed behind the gas station at the bottom of hospital hill.

“And there was the ‘Pony’, the smaller one, which they used for slower jobs like ribbons and raffle tickets, etc.” he said.

He remembered his mother would often pack up a picnic dinner in the laundry basket and bring it up to the print shop because of the long hours being worked.

“Apparently, they used to call me Dennis the Menace,” Chris recalled.

“Also, the Printer’s Devil. Though I gather I wasn’t that bad … things like getting my tricycle stuck in large mud puddles, and probably eating things I shouldn’t have (at least when I was three years old), which there are a lot of in a print shop.”

One of his clearest memories is that his father’s hands were almost permanently stained black with printer’s ink.

“It seemed so much cooler in the old days, with the big linotype machines and mechanical printing presses,” Chris said. “And the molten lead in the linotype machines, which when I was a kid I thought was really cool.

“They would type on a keyboard, and the molten lead would shape thin metal strips like a short ruler, with letters/words on the edge. These metal strips of type would be put together into paragraphs and stories, within a large metal frame. Installed inside the printing press, this frame of linotype sentences and paragraphs would be repeatedly covered with ink and pressed up against paper sheets to make the final printed newspaper page.

“Man, what a miracle age of Victorian age technology.”

He speculated that his older brothers, Jeff and Rick, who had just turned teenagers, probably found it a horribly stressful time, as they had to help out pretty much all the time.

“Often, to earn my allowance, I would be given the task of filling the wooden spacers that were used to pack out the typesetting to the edge of the frame. Man, talk about tedious … but it had to be done,” he said.

After five years in Clearwater, Dave and Mary Berryman separated. She and the children moved to the Coast where she continued working as a teacher. Dave took on Frank Tonge as a partner.

Len Sonneson, today still a resident of Clearwater, took over Berryman’s share of the business in 1974. Berryman passed away in 1975.

The Tonges acquired Sonneson’s share in 1988 and in 1993, they sold the Times to Nancy and Bruce Chappell.

Caribou Press, which today is known as Black Press, acquired the newspaper in 1997.