Celebrating Life’s Stories

Former Publisher & Editor Featured During
National Skilled Nursing Care Week

When you look back on your life story – how would you want it written? Would it feature success in business? Maybe it would be about the friends you’ve made along the way. Perhaps it is a family that cares for you.
 Former publisher and longtime resident of Stapleton, Audrey French, can say yes to all three.
Audrey built a very successful printing business with her husband, Art, and helped publish four weekly newspapers along the way. She raised four children and was active in organizations in the Stapleton and Tryon communities.
Audrey was destined to work in a newspaper. Her parents, Hugh and Louelva Priest, owned and published The Tryon Graphic. Some of her earliest recollections of working in a newspaper were going around town with a paper and pencil in hand writing down local news items.
Art and Audrey purchased The Tryon Graphic from Audrey’s parents in 1957. They used lead type to publish the weekly paper in the basement of her parent’s house.
When the opportunity came to purchase The Stapleton Enterprise in 1960, they moved to Stapleton and sold The Graphic to Gordon and Alice Bassett. During the 1960’s they also published the Thomas County Herald at Thedford for Miss Eleanor T. Miller.
The Frenches purchased Burnham Printing in North Platte in 1968 and the offset equipment in that location was moved to The Stapleton Enterprise office.
Art and Audrey purchased  The Tryon Graphic back in 1978, and again published it along with The Enterprise.
Art and Audrey worked countless hours to build up the job printing business and make improvements. Creative Printers was one of the first offset job printing shops in the state of Nebraska. They had hundreds of customers, not only in the area, but throughout the United States.
With the help of their daughter, Karla Janecek, they re-instated the Thomas County Herald in 1981, after being approached to start up a newspaper in Thedford to serve the residents of that county. Legals were published in The Enterprise for a year until the official newspaper status was obtained.
The Arnold Sentinel was purchased from Bill and Helen Crosland in July of 1987 and Creative Printers was incorporated, bringing together the job printing shop, and the four newspapers – The Stapleton Enterprise, The Tryon Graphic, Thomas County Herald, and The Arnold Sentinel, into one ownership.
Audrey continued as publisher of all four newspaper publications after the death of her husband, Art, in November of 2008. She continued to oversee daily operations and was the number one proof reader.
The Nebraska Press Association honored the Frenches with Golden Pica Pole Club awards in 2007, in recognition of 50 years of faithful service to the newspaper profession in Nebraska.
The Enterprise and Graphic merged into one paper on April 16, 2009. The Enterprise now includes the McPherson County News, the first official newspaper in McPherson County. The McPherson County News began publication before the post office in Tryon was established. The name The Tryon Graphic was given it soon after it was moved to the county seat after the town of Tryon was founded.
Audrey is a graduate of McPherson County High School and she has “deep roots,” in and around Tryon, as many of her relatives still live and work there.
Audrey has always been very proud, not only of her work in the printing and publishing business, but of her children and grandchildren, and all of their accomplishments. Her children are Judy Kramer of North Platte, Brian French of Brady, Karla Janecek of North Platte, and Darwin French of Alliance.
Audrey contributed to her communities in many ways. She served as an officer in the American Legion Auxiliary Unit #324,  Tryon Rebekah Lodge #413, and the Stapleton Area Chamber of Commerce.  She taught Sunday School classes at the Ringgold Free Methodist Church.
She moved to Highland Park Care Center in Alliance in January of 2015 and she has made many new friends there.
In celebration of National Skills Facility Home Week, May 13-18, Audrey is one of the residents being saluted for their accomplishments through “Celebrating Life’s Stories.”
Highland Park Care Center is pleased to celebrate the narratives of each individual’s most significant life events, relationships and experiences to cultivate a shared sense of purpose at the center and in the community.
This year unique stories are being told about residents through storytelling, art, food, entertainment, and music, to honor the contribution each person has made.
Established by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) in 1967 and always beginning on Mother’s Day, National Skilled Nursing Care Week, provides an opportunity to recognize the role of skilled nursing care centers in caring for America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities.
How does one measure success in life? For Audrey French it has been dedicating herself to family, the printing and publishing industry, and her community. And her many friends here in the Stapleton and Tryon area…they still stop in at the office in Stapleton to see how she is doing. A tribute to a woman who, although is no longer living here among us, has not been forgotten.