News Column

Recalling 'Red,' a gentleman and longtime newspaper ad manager

June 5, 2014

By Amanda May Metzger, The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y.

June 05--The grid sheets, overlay papers, scalpels and wax adhesives are long gone.

But before publishing software replaced the time-consuming "paste-up" page design process, and before free online advertising websites appeared, the classified section at The Post-Star was driven by a man whose contagious smile and brand of customer service continued to influence other employees over the more than two decades since he retired in 1991.

Dick Mulcahy, called "Red" by many of his friends and clients for his red hair, was classified advertising manager for two decades at The Post-Star. Mulcahy died Sunday in his family's care in Florida. He was 85.

He started his 41-year career at the newspaper in the 1950s as a classified advertising clerk, quickly rising to an assistant manager position and then manager in 1972.

Originally from Glens Falls, he joined the paper after serving in the U.S. Air Force.

He oversaw a staff of eight people (there are six in classified now), but he was a "working manager," out making sales and designing ads and letting the people who worked for him shine.

His way of doing business was "old school," and he was "always a gentleman" said Michael Della Bella, president of Della Auto Group.

"That's a good professional. They're in it. They're not just leading from afar. They're in the middle of it and they know how it works. That's how he made people who wanted to advertise do it successfully," Della Bella said.

He remembered that, in 1983 when he bought a Pontiac dealership in Queensbury on Quaker Road, Mulcahy came to see him in the first week.

"He showed up at the store and said, 'I'm the rep for the newspaper and I do all the advertising,' and I said, 'Great, you and me are going to get along terrific,' and we developed a great relationship. He was very helpful. ... He'd come in once a week and come by any time you needed anything. He was really a great guy," Della Bella said.

Mulcahy drove the newspaper's automotive ad sales and kept its classified section healthy.

When he retired, Tom Frawley, automotive sales manager, took over, carrying on what Mulcahy taught him about customer service.

"He was a great guy to work for, always willing to work with the customers and really listen to them," Frawley said. "He always took care of the customer first and made sure we filled their needs."

Frawley, hired by Mulcahy, is rounding out 40 years at the newspaper this August.

Technology has changed, but Mulcahy's kindness and respectful management style -- he reportedly never lost his temper at work -- were timeless, according to those who worked with him.

"He was a great guy, always had a smile on his face. He was very pleasant to everyone, and everyone respected Dick a lot and would always want to know his thoughts," said Kathy Hamell, The Post-Star's obituary clerk who worked for many years in classified advertising.

"There were times you could tell he was upset, but he never raised his voice. He was a great person to work for," Frawley said.

Mulcahy was in and out of the office, selling accounts himself and designing ads.

"He knew how to do the job and he trusted you to do your job," said Hamell, who started working at the newspaper in 1968, when it was still located downtown.

She remembered they used to take ads on manual typewriter flip-top desks before moving to The Post-Star's location on the corner of Lawrence and Cooper streets in Glens Falls in 1971.

Then they made the switch to computers.

"They were great big old gray things," Hamell said.

She remembered Mulcahy had parties at his home twice a year to show appreciation for his employees.

Always friendly, always showing gratitude, he never left without wishing everyone a good night.

"He will be missed by anyone who knew him," Hamell said.

Hamell's comments were echoed by a former colleague, Barb Adams, who retired from The Post-Star after 49 years, most of that time working in the classified advertising department.

"You couldn't have asked for a nicer boss," Adams said. "It was just a wonderful time."


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Source: Post-Star (Glen Falls, NY)

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