After 23 years

After 23 years

Peace Arch News publisher prepares to turn the page

After 23 years, Peace Arch News publisher Rita Walters is retiring

Nov. 29 will mark the end of an era for Peace Arch News, and the start of a new “special section” for Rita Walters.

After 23 years with the newspaper – climbing the ranks from sales rep to ad manager to publisher – Walters is retiring.

And she is the first to admit that the adjustment to a slower-paced lifestyle from the long days of her busy career will take some getting used to.

“Quite honestly, I’m worried,” she said, laughing. “I’m going to miss my busy life.”

Walters started with PAN in 1991, and took over leadership of its sales department  in ’99.

Over the years, she has helped the paper grow and evolve, and watched it succeed through myriad changes and challenges, including a still-struggling economy.

The second oldest of four children – and the last one still in the working world – Walters said she only started giving serious thought to retirement in February, when she turned 65.

“It’s probably been the most difficult decision I’ve made, to leave this community and this newspaper,” Walters said. “I’ve always felt it’s the community and the newspaper that I care so much about that has always inspired me to do the best job I possibly could.”

Walters said her strong belief in the community made getting – and staying – involved “hugely satisfying.”

Her roles have ranged from vice-president of the South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce and a director with the Peninsula Community Foundation, to 15 years on both the Peace Arch Hospital and Centre for Child Development’s gala committees. Walters has also been involved with the Sea Festival, the White Rock Museum & Archives, community policing and anything else she was asked to take on.

One of the many proud moments of Walters’ career came in July 2009, when she was named the Suburban Newspapers of America Advertising Director of the Year. Nominated by then-publisher Linda Klitch, Walters still treasures the glowing testimonials from PAN staffers that helped her clinch the win.

“What they wrote about me made me realize that I was doing a good job,” she said. “I read them every once in a while for inspiration.”

Professional challenges came along the way in the transition from sales rep to team leader and, more personally, in the move to publisher. The latter followed Klitch’s unexpected death in September 2011, and Walters remembers it took her “forever” to move into the office of her mentor and friend.

Now, “I think she’d be proud of me… happy that I took over the role.”

Walters describes herself as hard-working, determined, honest and loyal. She is also a strong believer in making sure people know their efforts are appreciated.

“I don’t think you can tell people enough that they’ve done a good job.”

She is retiring satisfied that she has done her best, and excited for what lies ahead – which includes travel with her husband of 38 years, Bob, and a new home in Harrison.

“It’s just time,” Walters said of her decision. “It’s time for me.”

PAN will welcome new publisher Mary Kemmis, currently of the Richmond Review, in December.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of April 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Most Read