Stacy G. Lanphier, 71, of Brooks and Belfast, died August 2, 2018 following several years of struggle with COPD and cancer. He is best known as the production manager of the Waldo Independent, a Belfast-based weekly newspaper that challenged the Republican Journal for more than two decades, beginning in1985.
Stacy George Lanphier was born July 16, 1947, the eldest child of Edgar S. and Harriet L. (Noyes) Lanphier of Brooks. Stacy grew up in Brooks village and walked to his classes at Morse Memorial School, and is remembered by classmates as a sharp-dressed, smooth dancer at the frequent record hops held in Grant Memorial Gym.
Following his junior year, Stacy became a bus commuter to the newly-built Mount View High School in Thorndike, and was a member of its first graduating class in 1965. At school, Stacy was most often seen with a sketch pad under one arm and a pencil behind his ear. He studied at the Maine College of Art in Portland for a year before entering the Class of 1970 at the University of Maine at Orono, where he earned his B.A. degree.
Stacy then served four years as a dental technician in the U.S. Navy, stationed at the Charlestown Navy Shipyard in Boston, where, during his off-duty hours, he volunteered his artistic skills by designing a commemorative medallion for the shipyard, and painting a set of murals which were eventually put on display at the USS Constitution Museum.
Following his enlistment, Stacy returned to Brooks in 1975, where he took on odd jobs painting houses and hanging wallpaper while contemplating a return to school to become certified as a teacher. Before that happened, however, Stacy was recruited by the Republican Journal to work in the newspaper’s production department, which launched his 33-year career in journalism.
By1985, Stacy was well steeped in all aspects of newspaper design and production. His talent had helped the Journal team win many accolades from the Maine and New England Press Associations, and moreover, the respect and appreciation of its loyal readership.
In the fall of that year, Stacy joined with six other Journal employees to form the Waldo Independent. He was a key person in the paper's success, a talented and dedicated paste-up expert and an artist who helped design the new paper and adopt new technology. He was a genial face to the public, treating all who came to the Independent with respect. He also had a wonderful sense of humor that helped make the long days of producing the paper bearable for his coworkers. He became an “uncle” to many of his coworkers’ children, and later, grandchildren, who would hang out after school in the close quarters that housed the fledgling newspaper.
As production manager in the days before desktop publishing, he received news copy and photos, ads and columns, and placed them on pages in a creative way. He worked closely with a talented crew and in consultation with the editors. He oversaw typesetting operations, and was the paper’s liaison with the post office. And much more. He was a loyal friend to the staff members he worked with. And he was the artist whose pen-and-ink drawings jazzed up many Independent stories. Fueled by an endless stream of black coffee, Stacy often worked from Tuesday morning until Wednesday evening without stop, ending by delivering the hot-off the-presses paper to stores around Brooks. He was in the office on weekends and was the unofficial janitor.
In 2004, the Independent was purchased by Rockland-based Courier Publications. That company had previously purchased the rival Republican Journal, and thus ended the battle between the two weeklies, which oddly enough came to share the same building and some staffers, while competing with yet another new paper, the Waldo County Citizen. In 2008, Citizen owner Village Net Media purchased Courier Publications and ceased publication of both the Citizen and the Independent.
The final issue of the Independent rolled off the press with a Saturday, June 28, 2008 dateline. In it was an editorial titled “Good Bye”, written by Stacy, which began, “It is perhaps fitting and somewhat ironic that I write this editorial while still employed at The Waldo Independent, since I edited nearly all of the obituaries that appeared over the years in its pages, and I am the only remaining member of the original staff still with the newspaper.”
There followed a mixture of thank-you's, credits, memories, and observations, in which Stacy remarked: “The Independent’s ending is bittersweet. We’re sad to see it go, but, like a terminal patient, the time has come.”
The editorial concluded with these words: “A favorite feature... was the annual Thanksgiving story about someone who was particularly thankful that year. One year the story we printed provided a reader who was battling cancer with the spunk and spirit to keep up ‘the good fight,’ she said, and she did. It was a story that made a difference, as did so many others, and it is my hope, that even though The Waldo Independent will cease to exist, that while it was alive it did make a difference.”
It was time for Stacy to move on, and he soon found a new “home” at the foot of Main Street in the offices of County Copy Center, where his congeniality and talent quickly endeared him to his new coworkers and customers. There he dedicated himself to his work with the same energy he had exerted while he was with the newspapers, even while later on wheeling an oxygen tank around with him as he performed his duties. The ravages of his COPD eventually prohibited Stacy from working regularly, and for the past few years he rarely ventured from his apartment. He stayed connected with the rest of the world via emails and telephone calls, and enjoyed regular visits and assistance from friends and neighbors. He continued to read newspapers daily, and enjoyed reading a broad range of books. Stacy was particularly grateful to his land lady Lisa Light and her son, Nick Light, for their friendship and help in coping with his declining health.
Stacy was predeceased by his parents, and a sister, Louise Lanphier Tibbetts. He is survived by his sister Brenda Lanphier Orvis, and husband Jay Orvis, of Maryland; nephews Dana Tibbetts, Josh Orvis, and Michael Orvis; niece Danielle Fewox; several grand-nieces and grand-nephews, as well as many cousins.
Interment will be at the family plot in Rose Cemetery in Brooks on Wednesday, August 22, at 4 p.m. Arrangements are being made by Young Funeral Home of Searsport. Those who knew and loved Stacy are invited to gather in a celebration of his life at the Waldo County Shrine Club from 4-6 p.m. on Friday, August 24.
Stacy was thankful for the wise guidance and exceptional care provided by his doctors and the staff at Waldo County General Hospital. His family suggests that anyone wishing to make a donation in Stacy’s memory consider WCGH as the recipient.