Ellis, Sarah Emily 1977

When Sarah Ellis finally retired in 1973, it was from two twenty-year careers. But considering her prodigious energy and enthusiasm, they might as well have been three. Her first career was as newspaperwoman—“I didn’t know what it meant to say, ‘I don’t have time for this story.’” She started working at the Chickasha Daily Express while still in high school, proofreading and filling in for the women’s editor. She gradually took over as women’s editor—and news editor, and sports editor, city editor, feature editor, and managing editor as well. Covering the local military installations (W & B Flying School and Borden General Hospital) during World War II, she said, “I knew things that were happening overseas before they were released to the general public.” A photo of Sarah at work showed her desk buried in notes, papers, envelopes, and typewriter—on which, although she never learned to type, her fingers flew hunt-and-peck-style faster than most others. In her second profession, as public relations director at Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts, she handled publicity, taught journalism, and sponsored the Trend newspaper. She mailed out “a minimum of 300 stories a week about students to their hometown papers.” Despite her absolutely tireless devotion to work, she always took time to stop and talk with students, offer advice when asked, listen to a wild scheme, or share something fun. She was appointed honorary lieutenant governor by the real Lieutenant Governor George Nigh for her years of public relations service to the Girls’ State organization. The honors she received would fill pages, and the articles she wrote fill over fifty volumes in the USAO archives. Her total written output in forty years of journalism would constitute a small library in itself.

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