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Island newspapers say goodbye to long-time publisher
For the staff at The Islands' Sounder, the news was met with tears, smiles, and hugs all around the room.
Long-time publisher Elyse Van den Bosch has stepped down from her position at the Sounder, Journal of the San Juans, and Islands' Weekly. While it is the end of an era, she is looking ahead at a future of much-needed rest. Van den Bosch and her husband Fred Munder are just now getting back on their feet after a semi-truck hit their car in January.
“Both my husband and I need a little more time to recuperate than we had thought,” she said. “We need to get our lives back in order. My job needs more of me than I am able to give at this time. It's been a very difficult decision because this has been an extremely important part of my life.”
Van den Bosch is still recovering from a broken hip and Munder is scheduled to undergo two more surgeries this summer.
“Although both of us have come a long way towards being totally recovered, my husband's ongoing medical needs – as well as my recently acquired ones – mean we need more time to rest,” she said.
Van den Bosch has worked for Sound Publishing for more than 17 years. She was hired as advertising director in the San Juans in 1994 and was promoted to publisher of the Sounder, Journal and Weekly in August 2002.
She moved to Orcas 22 years ago with Munder, after living in New York for most of her adult life. After earning a master's degree in psychology from New York University, Van den Bosch was a psychiatric researcher before switching to a career as a senior advertising executive.
“Who knows, I may have a fourth career in me yet,” she said.
For now, Van den Bosch will be taking care of her husband, cleaning her house, and teaching manners to her terrier chihuahua mix, Coco.
Van den Bosch's last day at the island newspapers is June 3.
“The Sounder has continued to grow, both in terms of quality – we took home second place last year for general excellence from the WNPA – and expansion,” she said. “We have a dynamite Web site. In the face of a changing newspaper climate, the paper has maintained it's small-town integrity.”
Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce president Michell Marshall, who served on the Chamber board with Van den Bosch, says she will miss her “great energy, wit, and sense of humor.”
“I love Elyse. I think she is amazing,” she said. “On the chamber board, she always had a slightly different opinion, so she made you think in a different way. Because of her years here, she also had history that was very helpful for us. I will miss her at the Sounder. I think she is a lovely person with a big, big heart.”
Kathy Everett, office manager for the Sounder, has worked with Van den Bosch for the past 10 years.
“While I am profoundly sad to think of being at the Islands' Sounder without Elyse, I also admire her so much for being able to make the 'tough decision' to leave Sound Publishing, Inc.,” she said. “Elyse she has been my mentor, teacher, and guide from one day to the next. In the beginning it was hard for me to 'get' the news room lingo. Elyse saw what was going on with me and took to handing me examples when she needed something, so I wasn't completely in the dark and didn't have to ask 20 questions every time. I have been with Elyse in good times and bad times. There have been so many changes during our time together, she has always showed the strength and resolve to carry through with whatever needed to be done. No one, and I do mean NO ONE, has worked harder, worried more, or given more of herself to her job and to the employees under her supervision than Elyse has. She will be a very tough act to follow.”
Lori Maxim, Vice President of Sound Publishing, West Sound Operation, says Van den Bosch has “set the bar high.”
“Elyse’s passion for the San Juans has provided a voice for local readers and business owners; for many, she’s been the face of Sound Publishing for over 17 years,” she said. “Under her leadership, the Journal and Sounder won numerous state and national awards. Her community involvement and understanding of local business needs has made her an integral part of the community. Under Elyse, The Islands' Sounder, Journal of the San Juans and Islands' Weekly entered the digital age and are now available to more readers than ever before, on and off the islands. Elyse has set the bar high and we will miss her energy and enthusiasm. We wish her all the best in her new endeavors.”