A come-and-go gathering at the El Campo Leader-News Monday will honor retiring Lifestyle section editor Quala Matocha.

All are welcome to visit the Leader-News, 203 E. Jackson, from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8 to reminiscence, chat and wish Matocha well before her last day, Friday, Nov. 12.

“Quala’s a huge part of this community and will surely be missed. I doubt there are many lifetime residents here who haven’t either appeared in her section or had a family member or friend’s name listed,” Leader-News Publisher Shannon Crabtree said. “She’s told hundreds, if not thousands of people’s stories. Those stories are a large part of the written history of El Campo, Louise, Hillje, Danevang and West Wharton County, Texas. People can look back at those old editions not just next week, but a hundred or more years to come.”

Matocha joined the Leader-News staff in January of 1993 by former publisher, now city mayor, Chris Barbee. She did not have a background in journalism. Her previous jobs were in teaching home economics and bookkeeping.

“I was impressed with Quala as a person, and her credentials, when I interviewed her. I don’t recall that she had any newspaper experience, but I felt her personality and her background as a high school home economics teacher would serve the Leader-News well as Lifestyle editor. It did,” he said.

“Quala was a valued member of the staff. She was a good writer, quickly learned photography and page layout and design, and was always willing to chip in to do whatever it took to help get the newspaper out. And with her desk being in the front office, she helped cover the front counter. She was polite, friendly and helpful to everyone who came through the front door,” Barbee added.

The Leader-News is in the process of looking for the next Lifestyle Editor.

“Any business is only as good as its employees. I think the Leader-News has had many great team members, but Quala is one of the best. Thank you for everything Quala. Well done. Leader-News readers will miss you,” Barbee said.

Crabtree agreed.

“We need a person just like Quala for this post – someone who loves the community, crafts, clubs, children’s events, plants and life stories. That’s a big order,” she said.


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