For­mer cir­cu­la­tion di­rec­tor Wohl­farth dies af­ter lengthy ill­ness

Memo­rial ser vices Satur­day in Char­lotte Hall

Maryland Independent - - News - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com Twitter: @JamieACIndyNews

The Mary­land In­de­pen­dent has lost one of its own, with the death of a man who for 15 years was in charge of mak­ing sure the news­pa­per was de­liv­ered.

Richard “Rick” Wohl­farth, 72, died July 20 af­ter a lengthy ill­ness.

A visi­ta­tion for Wohl­farth will be held be­gin­ning at 11 a.m. Satur­day, with a memo­rial ser­vice to be­gin at noon, at Brins­field-Echols Fu­neral Home, 30195 Three Notch Road in Char­lotte Hall.

Af­ter serv­ing four years in the U.S. Air Force, Wohl­farth en­tered the news­pa­per busi­ness. He served as cir­cu­la­tion di­rec­tor of the Hawaii Tri­bune Her­ald in Hilo, Hawaii, and the Vallejo Times Her­ald in Vallejo, Calif., be­fore be­ing named cir­cu­la­tion di­rec­tor for Ch­e­sa­peake Publishing in Fe­bru­ary 1993.

In 2001, part of Ch­e­sa­peake Publishing, which in­cludes the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent, The En­ter­prise in St. Mary’s County, The Calvert Recorder in Calvert County and the Prince Ge­orge’s County Enquirer-Gazette, was pur­chased by The Wash­ing­ton Post.

Karen Ac­ton, who served as chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of the Post’s com­mu­nity news­pa­pers, said Wohl­farth built a su­perb cir­cu­la­tion op­er­a­tion dur­ing his ten­ure.

“He was in­cred­i­bly hard­work­ing. He was al­ways ready and will­ing to help out even when it wasn’t his re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Ac­ton said.

Angela Breck, who served as edi­tor of the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent for more than 17 years, said in an email that Wohl­farth was not afraid to speak his mind and share his ex­pe­ri­ence with ed­i­tors.

“Rick’s job might have been di­rect­ing cir­cu­la­tion of the news­pa­per, but he was so much more in­vested than that. He had strong opin­ions about what should be placed on the front page and how that would trans­late into sales. He didn’t hes­i­tate to tell me how the paper should look or of­fer an opin­ion on the place­ment of sto­ries and pho­tographs,” Breck said. “I val­ued his opin­ion … He cared deeply about the In­de­pen­dent’s rep­u­ta­tion in the com­mu­nity, just as I did. We would have thought­ful dis­cus­sions about news cov­er­age, what the paper cov­ered and why we cov­ered it.”

Breck said Wohl­farth would hold an an­nual din­ner at a lo­cal restau­rant to honor news­pa­per de­liv­ery work­ers, and al­ways in­vited her to at­tend so she could meet the peo­ple who de­liv­ered the paper.

“It was al­ways en­joy­able to meet those folks who were up at the crack of dawn, what­ever the weather, de­liv­er­ing our pa­pers,” Breck said. “He wanted to make sure the car­ri­ers re­ceived recog­ni­tion for their hard work. He val­ued their con­tri­bu­tion.” Wohl­farth re­tired in 2008 due to health is­sues.

“Even af­ter he re­tired, I could al­ways call him up with any ques­tions or con­cerns,” Ac­ton said. “He was a great guy, and on a per­sonal level, I al­ways con­sid­ered him a friend. There is no doubt at all in my mind that he will be greatly missed by ev­ery­one who knew him.”

Bon­nie Rainey, cir­cu­la­tion dis­trict man­ager for The En­ter­prise, said Wohl­farth was a very good cir­cu­la­tion di­rec­tor, but knew how to get un­der her skin.

“I was told later he did it be­cause he knew he could,” Rainey said. “I learned a lot from him, but I never re­al­ized how much I’d learned un­til he was gone.”

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