The Brady Herald
28 November 1967
Harry F. Schwenker, former publisher of The Brady Standard and civic leader
here for more than half a century, died in Brady Hospital at 7 a.m. Tuesday
after a brief illness. He was 82.
Funeral services will be held at Wilkerson Memorial Chapel at 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Rev. Ben Verbrugge, O.M.I. pastor of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, conducting, and burial will be in Live Oak Cemetery.
Mr. Schweker suffered a stroke at his home Thursday night about 10:30. He was rushed to Brady Hospital and a few hours later, suffered a massive brain hemorrhage. Thereafter, he was in a coma until his death.
A past president of the Texas Press Association, Mr. Schwenker was one of the most prominent newspapermen in the state from the time he cane to Brady in 1909 until his retirement on Dec. 31, 1945, when he sold his interest in The Brady Standard. He was active in the various regional associations, as well as the state organization.
As evidence of the numerous friends he made as a publisher was the time so many came to his aid during a disaster in 1938. The Brady Creek overflowed and its muddy waters backed up three feet into The Standard's plant, then on the north side of the plaza, putting all the equipment out of commission.
The late H. H. Jackson, then publisher of the Democrat-Voice in Coleman, set all the type and printed the semi-weekly Standard during the next three weeks while the office was being re-established.
Ed Blanton of the Holcomb-Blanton Printing Company in San Antonio, took care of all job printing orders. "Others of our neighbors graciously volunteered their services and assistance," he recalled in later years.
Mr. Schwenker was born in Burlington, Iowa, April 29, 1885. In 1906 he cast his lot with the foreman of the Burlington printing shop and ventured west. They ended up in the Texas Panhandle, which in those flush days was teaming with newcomers, adventurers and homeseekers. Mr. Schwenker and the foreman worked on the newly established Amarillo Daily Panhandle, the first regulation daily in that thriving area.
The next year, Mr. Schwenker purchased the Tolar, Texas Standard which he operated until 1909. That year he became publisher of the Brady Enterprise.
When he bought the Enterprise, Brady possessed four newspapers. It was a young, rich boom town. The previous year (1908) 40,000 bales of cotton had been marketed on the public square, setting a record. But in 1910, business took a tumble and Mr. Schwenker consolidated the Enterprise with The Standard, which had been founded by John E. Cooke the year before. Mr. Cooke and Mr. Schwenker also purchased the subscription list of the McCulloch County Star, thus cutting the field to two newspapers in Brady. In 1912 Mr. Cooke sold his interest to Mr. Schwenker.
After the devastating flood, Mr. Schjwenker re-established the plant and took into partnership, L. B. Smih and C. Dhelas Reed. He and Reed sold it to Smith in 1945 when he retired. Reed four years later rejoined Smith in a partnership that still exists.
Since retirement, Mr. Schwenker devoted his time to supervising various business interests. "What spare time I have is given over to growing flowers, shrubs and trees," he recalled. He was particularly fond of growing pecans.
Mr. Schwenker reminisced of several never-to-be-forgotten experiences of his early newspaper days. He recalled while operating the Brady Enterprise plant, receiving an order to print some four-page town-lot sales circulars in red ink. The type was set and proof read on the coldest day of the year. The first sheet fed in the press wrapped around the rollers, necessitating a wash-up.
The second sheet did the same. The customer asked the cause of the trouble and Mr. Schwenker told him the building was too cold-the ink was like glue and the rollers like ice.
"I'll fix that," the customer said. He stoked the old potbellied coal heater until it was red hot. The rollers began to soften, the ink melted and the circulars rolled without further incident, although Mr. Schwenkeer feared the building would catch fire from the glazing heat.
Early in The Standard's life, Mr. Schwenker tired of setting type by hand, so he bought a linotype, among the first weeklies in this section to acquire one. He set it up near the plant’s front show window and created quite a stir among all the passers-by. It was a mechanical marvel, he said.
Mr. Schwenker, who attendee schools at Burlington, said he accepted an apprenticeship in the town's job printing plant after high school graduation. He received a "pretty thorough grounding in Graphic Arts."
He liked personal interest stories, both because of the pleasure it give the leading figures and the many interesting facts that can be and are developed in the recounting of experiences, adventures and undertaking.”
Gray and stately in appearance, Mr. Schwenker once laughed about his attempt to collect a bill owed him by the fair association at Brady back in 1911. When he learned they had collected some money, he went to the president in hopes of receiving his share. "Harry," said the president, "we put all the bills in a sack, shake 'em and drag 'em out one at a time, paying as long as our money lasts. When the money is all gone, we put the unpaid bills back in the sack. Next month we add the new bills and repeat the process. Now, if that arrangement is all right, very good; if not, we won't even put your bill back in the sack."
Until recent years Mr. Schwenker played golf whenever he had a chance and enjoyed watching all sports. He traveled out of this country only once, and that was South of the border to Mexico City on a vacation with the late H. H. Jackson.
Mr. Schwenker married the former Loudie M. Bushey in Dallas in 1916.
Survivors include his wife, three daughters, Mrs. Hugh Lee Gober of Brady; Mrs. Murray Moffatt of Austin; Mrs. Robert E. O'Brien of Shreveport, La; and one son, Capt. Harry F. Schwenker, Jr., United States Navy, of Bremerton, Wash.
Pall bearers are Mason Crocker, George Carrithers, Harold Keim, Clinton Newlin, Dr. Harry Priess, Joe Barekman, Fred Wulff and Wesley Isenhower.