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It’s time to say goodbye

Last issue of the Leader will be July 28
Thursday, July 21, 2022
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It is with a heavy heart that the Iowa Park Leader announces it will cease operations with the final issue to be printed Thursday, July 28.

The Leader has been in business for the past 52 years. The first issue was published Sept. 18, 1969 and the staff included co-publishers Bob and Dolores Hamilton and reporter Annetta Reusch. Through all these years, it has been an honor and a privilege to chronicle the history of Iowa Park, its people and the students attending the local schools.

The Leader enjoyed much success through the years, growing the paper with the support of subscribers, coupled with local retail and classified advertisers. The paper won several awards in general excellence, news and sports reporting, photography and advertising from the National Newspaper Association, Texas Press Association, West Texas Press Association, and the

North and East Texas Press Association.

The newspaper industry in general has been in a slow decline for the past 20 years for varying reasons including internet access, competition for classified and advertising dollars (Google and Facebook), and the growth of social media. The recent pandemic also made doing business problematic.

Younger audiences especially have migrated to digital platforms as their source of news and information, and new subscriptions to the paper have slowed. The Leader explored options including a digital-only product, but as for now advertising on weekly newspaper websites has failed to justify going that route.

Ultimately, the cost of running a newspaper (printing and mailing costs, increases in prices for supplies, utilities, licenses, etc.) has surged far beyond revenue brought in to support it.

Anyone with comments or questions can contact the following:

Dolores Hamilton, dhamilton@iowaparkleader;

Kari Collins, kcollins @;

Sherrie Williams,; and,

Kevin Hamilton,


Dolores Hamilton

Naturally, I’m sad. The Iowa Park Leader and print media has been a large part of m life for over 60 years, and it has been quite a ride! But I recognize that things are changing in the communication field and I need to adapt.

The subscribers, advertisers, and people of Iowa Park have been very good to the Hamilton family and I want to thank you.

Over the years we’ve written stories about how the people of Iowa Park take care of each other and work together for a commong cause, and I am proud to live in a town like this.

When we moved here in 1969, the Hawk football team was on its way to winning the state championship. I have bled green ever since whether it’s sports, band, FFA or academics. All five of my children are Iowa Park High School graduates. I’m so proud of our school system and the progress it continues to make.

I’m going to miss putting out a newspaper telling about the progress being made here, but I will be on the sidelines cheering.

Kari Collins

The relationships I’ve built during my 38-year career at the Leader are the first thing I think about, because it defines for me what it means to be a part of a community newspaper.

The relationships I’ve built with the Iowa Park community through working with businesses on advertising, news gathering, civic work and raising my children here have been the cornerstone of the past four decades of my life. I will miss all these things.

Don’t get me wrong, the number of times I’ve been threatened with lawsuits is formidable, and there was one time a man told me he was on his way to firebomb the office with me in it. We’ve had tragedies that no journalist looks forward to reporting. But the fact that Iowa Park took our family in as their own when we opened the newspaper in 1969 outshines the worst parts of the job. Although I wasn’t born here, Iowa Park is truly my hometown.

Sherrie Williams

It’s time to say farewell.

For the past 24 years, nine months, and one week I have had the pleasure of working with the Hamilton Family - Bob, Dolores, Kari and Kevin - at the Iowa Park Leader. It became a way of life, not just a job.

Over the years I have had people comment how it must be difficult to be the only staff member, not family. When they treat you like family it isn’t difficult.

There have been many happy times and some sad times through the years.

This is one of the sadder times, the closing of the office.

When I started this job, the article Bob wrote about me joining the Leader team quoted me as saying, “I look forward to meeting every resident of Iowa Park.” I have tried to do just that. I know there are many I did not have the pleasure of meeting, but there are more that I have met.

One of the best duties of this career is meeting people, covering events, and writing/telling people’s stories.

The various people I have had the pleasure of meeting, and yes even the displeasure of a few, ranges from everyday people, business owners, law enforcement officers from local police to FBI agents, artists, authors, skilled builders, animal lovers, educators, politicians including city, county, state and federal leaders, and so many more.

I learned early on not everyone likes their name being published in the community newspaper. Those who do, expect it to be spelled correctly.

I have written the names listed on honor rolls and Santa letters of a couple of generations. When you write the name of a student and recall writing that child’s parent’s name it reminds you how long you have been in this career field.

On Oct. 13, 1997, I was covering an Iowa Park City Council meeting for an area newspaper where I was a correspondent when Bob Hamilton asked me to stop by the Iowa Park Leader the following Friday.

Hamilton was a city council member and just a couple of weeks before I had quoted him in an article I wrote for the newspaper I worked for at that time. All kinds of thoughts went through my mind, as I had learned early on Hamilton was not one to cross. It was a long few days.

Just after 8 a.m. that Friday I was at the Iowa Park Leader ready or not to hear what he had to say.

He offered me a job. I accepted and the following Monday, Oct. 20, 1997, I reported to work a bit nervous/scared.

A career in the community newspaper business is not a 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday job.

When Bob retired, Dolores took the reins like a pro and the Leader never skipped a beat.

Of all the relationships I have made over the years in this business, the most special is that of the Hamilton family.

Saying farewell is not easy and changing my way of life will not be easy either. It has been a pleasure

It has been a pleasure to be allowed this opportunity.

Kevin Hamilton

Even before we came to Iowa Park, the Hamilton family was deeply immersed in the field of journalism. Specifically, weekly newspapers.

In my earliest days in Plainview, Dad had two papers – the Panhandle Plains Farmer, and the Kress News.

When we moved to Littlefield, he worked at the Lamb County Leader, while Mom kept up the Kress News.

The opportunity arose for my parents to start a new weekly in Iowa Park. I myself went to school here from the fifth grade through graduation. All of my sisters graduated here as well.

A few years after graduating, I went to work at the Leader. That lasted about six years, until I left for Fort Worth. I worked at about three newspapers before I found myself in the world of advertising. I learned a lot and made some money, but I missed the newspaper.

I returned to Iowa Park in 2004 and got right back into the thick of things. It was a joy working for three pretty, independent women at the office. It wasn’t hard coming to work each day.

In all the years covering (mostly sports and school news) for Iowa Park, I’ve made several friends. For all the superintendents, principals, band directors, coaches and teachers I came to know, it made me feel like Iowa Park was still indeed a very special place, with extraordinary people. That didn’t stop with the grownups. I covered 18 years of sports, music and academia in that span, and it was a treasure working with the youth in our community, showcasing their efforts and successes and yes, sometimes even failures.

But all of these kids are golden, and they made my life a joy.

Thanks again, Iowa Park, for all the years of your support for the Leader, and the Hamilton family.