Bonnie Kelsch, a member of Communications Workers of America Local 7901, retired Sept. 16 after 44 years in the printing trades.
Her retirement was celebrated with a reception honoring her at Oregon Catholic Press, where she has worked the last 21 years.
Kelsch joined the Multnomah Typographical Union Local 58 (now CWA Local 7901) in 1977 and has been a member for 33 years. She also has served on the bargaining committee for the union.
A graduate of the Advertising Art School in Southwest Portland, Kelsch worked at advertising agencies, as a freelancer, and doing layout and paste-up before landing a job at Paul O. Giesey/Adcrafters.
It was during her time at Giesey, a union shop, that Kelsch says she received her real education, learning from journeymen who had been in the business 30 or more years. She spent the next 12 years dyluxing, burning and rubbing-up color keys, developing plates and doing additional camera work and keylining.
She was hired at Oregon Catholic Press in the pre-press department in 1989.
As her craft has evolved to fit the changing times, so has Kelsch’s skill set. “Our profession has changed so much,” she said. “We used to have sharp knives to cut letters or dots out. Now we have a keyboard and can do the same corrections and layout with a flick of a key.”
“Getting the job done and correct the first time has always been one of Bonnie’s priorities,” said Eddie Osborn, her foreman at OCP. “I have been her co-worker, her manager and her friend for 22 years. She has always been a person that I can depend on 100 percent every day all day and know that she always has our best interest in her heart.”
Kelsch lives in Columbia City west of Portland with her husband John. Her son, Steve, and two grandchildren live in California. She plans to visit them more regularly, in addition to traveling more throughout the United States.
(Editor’s Note: Geri Ethen contributed to this report.)