Veteran advertising manager at Smithfield Times dies

Lona M. Ellis, who after graduating high school began a nearly 40-year career in advertising at The Smithfield Times, died Nov. 11 at the age of 60.

She served as the newspaper's advertising manager for more than 20 years and "earned numerous awards for her creative work on behalf of area businesses," according to her obituary.

"She had an IQ that was through the roof and a work ethic that would be the envy of employers all across this country today," Smithfield Times Publisher John Edwards wrote in a column.

Ellis was hired at the newspaper in 1971 as a typesetter and receptionist, but within a few years of joining the publication, she began selling ads where she earned the reputation for "impeccable business ethics," Edwards wrote.

"Lona was determined that this newspaper was going to do the best it possibly could for its clients -- her clients -- and the product that came off the press each week had to be the best she could make it," he continued.

Edwards noted that community newspapers often "take on the personalities of their staff members, and The Smithfield Times was shaped in important ways during the past four decades by the integrity and care that Lona Ellis brought to the office."

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