Carl E. Meynardie – the legend who created the legend

  • Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Carl E. Meynardie, Sr. hard at work at the Hanahan News. PHOTOS PROVIDED

Photos

The man who started this news engine was a genius. Well at least those of us at the Moultrie News think so.

Carl Edwin Meynardie, Sr. of Hanahan was founder of our dearly loved weekly newspaper and several other community papers such as the Hanahan and Goose Creek News. The Moultrie News was started in 1964 as a tabloid shopper.

Back in 1959, Meynardie joined a dozen or so fellow residents each week to talk politics.

In those days, he felt that there was a level of corruption among local politicians. These concerned citizens shared what news they could obtain amongst each other and it was while sitting around those living rooms that the idea of a community newspaper was born.

He was born June 13, 1918 in Charleston and was a graduate of Murray Vocational School where he later taught. According to his son J.R., you could say his taste for journalism began in the pre-war years. He regularly performed with the Coral Islanders string band, playing mandolin on a popular weekly radio show.

As with any good newspaper man, he was active for many years in the Hanahan Civic and Exchange Clubs, promoting and modeling civic responsibility. He also held a seat on the Water Commission.

Meynardie was a building contractor at the time as the owner of Universal Contracting Company.

The Hanahan News began in a two-story building behind their home where Meynardie also kept his contracting equipment. The newspaper was printed in downtown Charleston until it became evident that the printing couldn't be done consistently and on time each week.

Meynardie then bought a Davidson Offset Press and put his family members to work each week printing, collating and splining with glue, each and every newspaper.

As the years went on, his son J.R. said his father moved away from contracting to focus on politics and the newspaper. He was out selling ads and those friends who brought the news home to their living rooms were acting as reporters.

And as a teenager, J.R. spent many a night helping with the paper. To his dismay, he missed his prom because of the family business. He could hear the music and watched his girlfriend walk by and wave as she made her way to the dance.

“I began to hate the paper,” J.R. said, “but dad was determined to keep it going.”

The paper grew big enough and made enough money for Meynardie to lease a building and bought his first real press, eventually buying a second as well.

They outgrew the leased building and another building was purchased on Montague Avenue where three huge offset presses were installed.

In the 80s, J.R. worked with the paper full time for two years. His job, in addition to doing most of the photography for the paper and getting it ready to put to bed and deliver it, was writing up to five columns a week. Some of which were “People Behind The Badge," about the men and women of the local police departments.

His weekly op-ed piece was called "From J.R.'s Desk," hence the nickname J.R. But the newspaper business was not his passion like it was his father's.

J.R. was in the car business, was (is) a professional photographer, worked at ABC News Channel 4, was (is) a gunsmith, has raced cars and worked for almost 14 years at Royall Ace Hardware.

His father on the other hand owned a newspaper right up until he retired at the ripe young age of 83 years old.

“I loved to write, but being in the family business, as in most cases, doesn't work, and didn't here” said J.R.

“Dad put the community and the newspaper ahead of his family at times to ensure the community stayed informed,” he said.

The slogan for the Hanahan News at the time was "The Newspaper with the Community Spirit." That same slogan was slotted for the Moultrie News as well when he brought it to life in 1964.

“Those papers were his life,” said J.R. “He wouldn't back down from a fight and was threatened many times for exposing someone or something. He did it all and it was one hell of a ride.”

He ran the Moultrie News for eight years. In 1972, the Moultrie News was bought by Charles Diggle and J.C. Long. At the time, Diggle was publisher of several community papers.

When Long died in 1987, Charles Diggle bought the Beach Company's interest in the Moultrie News, and the Diggle family ran the paper for 11 years before selling it to the Evening Post Community Publications Group.

Meynardie hung on to the Hanahan News, which was his baby until he retired.

J.R. describes community papers as vitally important to any community. “I think it's a great tribute to dad that the Moultrie News is still here."

Carl Meynardie, Sr. died Friday, Sept. 2, 2011 at 93 years old.

He was the father of Carl “J.R.," Paul and Stephanie.

He was a member of Advent Lutheran Church, North Charleston, where he served in many areas including leadership in the Lutheran Men's organization, teaching Confirmation Ministry, leading Bible Studies and for many years teaching the Adult Men's Sunday School Class.

He also served on the Boy Scout board at Advent and as a leader of Explorer Post 466 through which he received the Order of the Arrow. Sharing the vision and calling of his friends the Rev. W.D. and Celia Shealy to reach out to young people in need of family stability, he served as vice chairman, chairman and member of the board of directors of Boys Farm, Inc. of Newberry until his death.

As a member of the Civil Air Patrol, he combined his love of flying with his sense of serving the community through search-and-rescue missions.

We feel certain he was proud of the paper he started.

The focus was always to give readers a glimpse of their community, a play-by-play account of what government officials were up to and provide a place to celebrate and recognize East Cooper and the people who call it home.

The paper has grown and flourished since those early days, continuing to prosper under the initial vision created by Carl Meynardie.

As said at his funeral by longtime friend Francis X. Archibald, “If a man is measured by his generosity of spirit toward others, then Carl E. Meynardie was truly a great man who has shared his life with his fellow man and his community.”

Have you joined the Moultrie News Love Club?

We continue to feel the love! We are up to $3,927 in voluntary payments.

People tell us all the time they love the Moultrie News, but we really did not know how the voluntary pay would go. Well, now we can tell you it is going well.

To date we have received 71 donations for a total of $3,927. We thank you all.

The newest members of the Love Club include Hugh Gwyn with a donation of $50 and Barbara D. Rowland with $30.

If we have not printed your name it may be because we did not think we had permission. Please call Vickey Boyd at 843-729-4741 if you would like us to print your name, 729-4741.

Goal: $8,000

Donations: $3,927

Amount needed to reach our goal: $4,073

Let's keep the love bus running!

You will find an ad on page 10A which tells you how to donate and show your love.

For more updates from the desk of the Moultrie News editor, Sully Witte, please follow Sully's Scoop on Twitter @SullysScoop and like Sully's Scoop Facebook page.

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