Seth Macon Vining Jr., August 12, 1924 – October 20, 2008

Published 3:33 pm Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The quiet one

by Jim Jackson

Seth Vining was never one to project himself into leadership positions. In fact, quite the contrary. With a group of friends in conversation, Seth may not have said a word until someone finally said, &dquo;What you think about this, Seth?&dquo; When he voiced his opinion, others would listen. He always had the respect of others. But he was always the Quiet One.

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This was true of Seth in his early years at Tryon School. His favorite subject seemed to be recess. He couldn&squo;t wait to get out on the playground and join in some sport or game.

In his high school years, he excelled in football, basketball and baseball. He was the leader of the teams without intending to be. He was the Quiet One. At one important basketball game, Seth had a badly sprained ankle. He could not run up and down the court. He camped himself under the opponents&squo; basket, receiving rebounds and then heaving the ball the distance of the court for someone else to score.

When Seth came back from the Army and college, he joined his family to continue the Tryon Daily Bulletin. In addition to the long hours and hard work, he spent eight years on the Tryon School Board and eight years as county commissioner. He did not seek these positions. These positions sought him. For even though he was the Quiet One, he was seen as one who was completely fair to all people, and he was respected by all.

Seth was the complete family man, following his children and then his grandchildren in all of their activities. Even there, he was the Quiet One, gaining the respect of all of them.

In Seth Vining we have seen an example to all of us.&bsp;Employer, mentor and friend&bsp;by Wanda Cash

Seth M. Vining Jr. became my employer over 35 years ago and quickly became my friend. I was fortunate enough to work with all the Vinings ‐ Seth Sr. (Pop) and Gladys and Seth Jr. and Bos.&bsp; Not many young people nowdays get a chance to work with such history.

Seth Jr. had a lot of patience and taught me anything that I was willing to learn about the newspaper business ‐ and people and life, too. I was often amazed at his ability to remember even the smallest bits of information.

And, he certainly had his own way of doing things. When we put computers in the office he decided he liked his old manual Underwood typewriter better, so he continued to type away while the rest of us struggled to overcome our fear of deleting everything.

Some people who visit my office remark that Seth surely did train me after they see my filing system (papers stacked in piles all over my desk ‐ but I know where everything is just like he did). I learned a lot just from watching him interact with the public.

Seth believed in community service and believed that everyone had a responsibility to do his or her part to keep our quality of life going. He had opinions but tried to keep them out of the paper, only reporting &uot;what&uot; happened.

He once joked with me that I was not nosy enough to be in the newspaper business. I told him I was just following Pop&squo;s advice,&bsp; &dquo;You hear more when you don&squo;t say anything&dquo; and &dquo;Observe, observe.&dquo; (I usually found out more than I wanted to know.)

I will miss Seth. He was a man of integrity who loved his family, his community and the Tryon Daily Bulletin.&bsp;&bsp;Remembering a great American: Seth Jr.&bsp;by Garland GoodwinPolk County has lost another of its favorite sons, a big guy in every way, Seth M. Vining Jr. His father, Seth Sr., was like a father to me, and Seth Jr. thus became a big brother. In his case, the acorn did not fall far from the tree, as he readily filled his father&squo;s big shoes when the Tryon Daily Bulletin was turned over to him.

I always called them &dquo;Mr. Vining&dquo; and &dquo;Seth Jr.&dquo; Mr. Vining took me under his wing at the Bulletin office when I was about ten years old (my father died when I was eight) and taught me a lot more than newspapering and the printing trade. They always made me feel like one of the family, and both happily reported every milestone in my career and family. Long before I retired here, Seth Jr. wrote that &dquo;Mr. Goodwin considers Tryon his home.&dquo; He was right, of course, for I do have a lot of &dquo;family&dquo; here!

Seth Jr. was part of what I like to call Tryon High School&squo;s &dquo;Golden Age.&dquo; I was still in grade school, but I admired the achievers like him who were continuing the standard of excellence set by the previous generation. Even the football team was made up of man-sized players like Seth Jr. and Tryon High was often in the win column against the bigger schools of our region. He went on to play for Duke, and he reminded me in a sidewalk chat one day that the Rose Bowl game was moved to Durham right after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, because the authorities did not want to make such an inviting target on the West coast.

While serving as chief file clerk in the U.S. House of Representatives, he met and later married Marjorie Boswell, to everyone&squo;s delight when he brought her home to Tryon. When I visited them some years later in their new home in Gillette Woods, I found a delightful little girl holding her own among her four very male brothers. Sadly, Marty died not long after that, but I have never forgotten her.

Gladys Vining (Mrs. Seth Sr.) took care of all the paper work and other Bulletin office chores when I worked there, and she even cheerfully made the coffee. I did not drink coffee then, but I loved the aroma of its brewing. Seth Jr. would call out to his mom when it ran out that &dquo;Garland has not smelled any coffee lately!&dquo;

&dquo;Bos&dquo; filled Mrs. Vining&squo;s shoes ably when Seth Jr. took over publishing the Bulletin.

I cannot imagine how they managed to put out a paper every day while bringing up four boys to become the outstanding citizens they are today. Seth Jr. was a scoutmaster as well as a County Commissioner! He did the latter as a public service, commenting that, as for the President of the United States, two terms are enough!

Over the years I have observed that whenever a person excels enough to stand taller than the rest of us, some little people start chipping away at his/her feet as if looking for the clay or trying to cut them down to size.

These critics seem to delight in exposing the sins and faults of people who by their greater deeds have made our world a significantly better place.

If you think this column is too glowing, too bad. I did not do any chipping, for I know that the Vinings really stand as tall as they look.

I never heard them speak ill of anyone, nor anyone speak ill of them. Through their lives and the pages of their Tryon Daily Bulletin, they played a big part in making Tryon the great place to live that it is. Let us all give thanks for the Vinings and their progeny, who are continuing their legacy.