Joe Old, the long-time faculty adviser of the Tejano Tribune student newspaper, passed away last weekend at the age of 72.
Old, who was a faculty member at EPCC since 1991, served as adviser to the El Conquistador, then the Tejano Tribune, until 2013.
His tenure at the college and as adviser touched many young lives. Here are some thoughts from just a few students who worked under him at the EPCC newspaper over the years.
“I walked into the office of the EPCC student newspaper as a lost 20-year-old, and Joe Old essentially gave me a career. He taught me the fundamentals of journalism -- one of the first things he always taught was the old City News Bureau of Chicago adage, ‘If your mother says she loves you, check it out.’ That phrase hung on the wall in the office. He was the quintessential city editor. He could spot a hole in a story, teach a grammar lesson and offer an encouraging word all in the same breath. In 2002, he helped me get a job at the El Paso Times, where I started my career and met my wife.”
- Matt Johnson, former El Paso Times sportswriter
“I'm heartbroken. Just found out my journalism mentor and friend Joe Old passed away. He saw something in me that I didn't and pushed me to make something of myself. He taught me to be strong, he taught me to never take no for an answer and he made me believe in myself. He toughened me up, thickened my skin and prepared me for a career in journalism. I graduated college and pursued my dreams because of his constant support and encouragement. I owe him so much and hope he realized what a difference he not only made in my life but in the lives of so many others. I'll miss you Mr. Old. I'm forever grateful to you for changing my life.”
- Rosanna Martinez, former Tribune Editor
"I'll always remember Joe as someone who was tough yet had a heart of gold in his willingness to teach. His high competency in the English language and great love of journalism made him an excellent adviser to the paper. It's a shame that a person so willing to impart his knowledge onto others is gone. Joe always carried such a great, positive presence whenever he walked into a room with briefcase in hand, a humble smile, and a quick readiness to start helping."
- Anoushka Valodya Duron Former news producer at KTSM and KDBC
"Mr. Old was always someone who led by example. I remember having to stay up late to finish laying out the Tejano Tribune and he’d be right there helping out as well. He was such a charismatic man and he’ll truly be missed.”
- Monica Cortez, morning weather forecaster for NC9 Today
"The number of influential educators I’ve had in my life are few and far between. So I was extremely saddened when I heard that Mr. Old, my journalism adviser at EPCC, had passed away. Thank you for being a major influence in my life, Mr. Old. R.I.P. "
- Gabriel Acuna, Account executive, CultureSpan Marketing
“I hope tomorrow is a better day. I got bad news that one of the best mentors/instructors a student can have, passed away today. Joe Old, you will never be forgotten and your quirky self will always be in my heart. I will never forget the best mantra you taught me in journalism and life, if your mother tells you something, you should still check it out. You taught me the concept of asking the same question ten different ways, just to get a statement. You taught me how to write journalistic style and recognized my true talent more than I did and encouraged me to keep it up. More than anything, you taught me persistence and how to work under pressure with tight deadlines. Even over the miles and years, it was like time never separated us and we picked up where we last left off. You also wrote me the most kick ass reference letters that got me the job or scholarship or internships. I'll never forget all you did to help me with my career as well as my personal life. I would have never done what I did with you nudging me to try and do it. You made EPCC THE best place to start in my eyes and I will never forget your character. It was one in a billion. You will be truly missed by me. RIP Mr. Old.”
-Aimee Saldivar, EP Electric
Services for Joe Old will be held Friday, Aug. 5 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Sunset Funeral Home at 480 N. Resler.