Somewhere there is a comic in that headline. And perhaps before Marc Stopeck takes his leave from Growing Community Media this summer, he will fold it into one of his Shrubtown comics in Wednesday Journal.
Thirty-two years ago we hired Marc to sell ads for the Journal and he was good at it. It was plain, though, that neither of us thought it would be his life’s work. He was writing plays on the side, several of which were produced at the old Circle Theatre in Forest Park. And he turned one of those plays, Shrubtown, into a weekly comic for the paper. Or maybe he turned the comic in the paper into a play at Circle. Either way is funny.
When he told us a few weeks ago that he was decamping for the classroom by mid-summer he recalled that a couple of years in at the Journal we were all gathered on a colleague’s deck for a party. And he said that I told him then that he was doing good work but that I felt we were holding him back from teaching.
That prescient comment I do not recall. But a decade ago when Marc began taking classes at Spertus Institute toward a master’s degree in Jewish Studies I know I said to colleagues, “The only way we’ll ever lose Marc is when he gets a job teaching Jewish Studies.”
And now it has happened. By fall he will be teaching at the Rochelle Zell Jewish High School in Deerfield. They are lucky to have him.
Marc will be a wonderful teacher. He knows, and is passionate about, Judaism and its history and culture and he communicates with young people in an easy way that is filled with love and humor.
We, of course, will really miss him. Not only does Marc remember the date of every milestone in the history of our quirky little enterprise but he has been central to most of the accomplishments that we now see as our milestones.
His wit is quick but always kind. He is wise but goes out of his way to pretend he is only funny.
All of this is a long way of saying, we really need a new marketing and salesperson. You don’t need to be Jewish or witty, but we are looking for someone kind and smart and who has a passion for growing community through neighborhood journalism.
We offer a genuine opportunity, decent benefits, and the opportunity to work alongside Lourdes Nicholls and Kamil Brady, two wonderful people with deep roots in our many neighborhoods, warmth, and a work ethic based on making abiding connections with local business people who want to grow their business.
Lourdes is out of town, but she told me I needed to find her a new wingman before she gets back from her trip in a week. Don’t make me disappoint Lourdes.