When Marge became Mrs. Norman Fuellenbach more than 50 years ago, little did she visualize that one day she would get one of the most prestigious awards of the Utah Press Association.
Her getting the award is somewhat unusual, because she has never been an editor or a reporter. But she has had a keen interest in the newspaper world for a half century, beginning with her marriage into her husband's newspaper family. Her ongoing dedication and enthusiasm have brought her the association's prestigious John E. Jones Award.The honor has come to only 15 Utahns during the past 22 years. Fuellenbach's husband received it posthumously.
The award is presented only when the Association's special awards committee deems there to be a worthy recipient.
Fuellenbach occupies a desk in The Richfield Reaper offices, where she is circulation manager. She is reticent about personal publicity and prefers to ponder on the past. In a nearby office is her son, Mark, now publisher of the newspaper. She has relished seeing two sons, a daughter and son-in-law enter the newspaper world.
Regarding the special award she recently received, "I have never thought of myself as a working member of the press," she said. "That's generally for those who write and edit." But Fuellenbach fits well the qualifications, which require that an individual be an active, working newspaper person or someone closely associated with the field. It denotes distinguished service and/or substantial contributions to the press in Utah and, in particular, to the Utah Press Association.
The Richfield Reaper has been a front-runner in receiving Press Association awards through the years, many of them during her husband's tenure as publisher. Numerous awards were also won when her mother-in-law, Rula Fuellenbach, was publisher, as well as during the time Mark has been its publisher.
Another son, Kent, published The Payson Chronicle for several years; a son-in-law, Dick Buys, with his wife and Fuellenbach's daughter, Sue, own and operate The Wasatch Wave and Summit County Bee, in Heber City and Coalville, respectively. Fuellenbach's youngest daughter, Jan, writes a column.
The award recipient has been a strong supporter of the Utah Press Association for more than a half-century and has attended all but one of its winter conventions during those years. Utah's daily newspapers have not always been members of the Utah Press Association, but that has changed, she said. She recalls Deseret News Publisher James Mortimer as an outstanding association president.
Fuellenbach hasn't confined her world to her newspaper interests. Far from it. She loves outdoor recreation and grows more than 100 rose varieties.
Fuellenbach is proud of the words written on the award she received from the Utah Press Association: "The John E. Jones Award of Utah Press Association, presented to Margorie (Marge) Fuellenbach with appreciation for her long record of participation in the programs of the organization, her contributions to the newspaper industry and her remarkable record of having been in attendance at annual Winter Conventions for more than half-a-century . . . ."
The Reaper was founded well over a century ago, in the late 1800s.
It was bought in 1933 by her husband's father and "that's when it became a family newspaper," she proudly states. Following his death, Marge's mother-in-law was publisher for many years. The responsibility then went to her husband, Norman, and following his death some 20 years ago to their son Mark. Its ownership shifted to California interests several years ago but the Fuellenbach family has remained involved.