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Longtime Albuquerque Publishing Co. employee dies at 73

Fred B. Wyche was a creative soul.

He could fix nearly anything that was broken and build anything that he could envision.

Wyche retired from the Albuquerque Publishing Co. after more than 40 years, where he worked in various press, production and purchasing capacities, and he was involved in the planning and construction of the Journal’s printing plant when the newspaper moved from Downtown to its current location on Jefferson NE.

Wyche, 73, died on July 8 after a brief illness.

Born in Albuquerque, Wyche graduated from Rio Grande High School in 1962. His father, Jay Wyche, who also worked for the Journal Publishing Co. for nearly 40 years, got him a job in the pressroom. He took time off to serve in the U.S. Army, where he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War and was awarded the Purple Heart medal.

After the war, he returned to Albuquerque and his job at the newspaper, and became his father’s supervisor 20 years later, causing Jay Wyche to later joke, “That’s when I knew it was gettin’ time to retire.”

Fred himself finally retired from the publishing company in 2009.

Roy McCallister, Albuquerque Publishing Co. production director, knew Wyche since 1983. “As a manager, Fred saw the best in people and was able to get that out of them,” he recalled.

“Most of the time, he was quiet, but he could engage anybody in conversation. While he wasn’t boisterous or loud, he had a strong presence and you knew he was the boss. But he cared about people and because of that he was able to get them to accomplish a lot.”

Reno Vigil, a publishing company machinist, said he and Wyche shared a lot of common interests, particularly their love of building things.

“He worked on the drawings for the new site, where we are now, and he taught me how to do building drawings, so we both worked on that,” he said. “We saw the technology change rapidly and we did a lot of growing up together.”

Wyche’s daughter, Jessica, said her father “could make anything he wanted and did it really well.” Her father was best known for making ornate writing pens and pencils, and musical instruments, particularly string instruments like guitars and violins.

“But he loved playing instruments, too,” she said. “He played guitar, but I think his favorite was the mandolin. And he loved listening to all kinds of music, but mostly he liked blues and country.”

She also remembers her father as “hilarious, just the funniest guy I knew,” she said. “Even people he just met he could make them laugh.”

In addition to his daughter Jessica, Wyche is survived by his wife, Monica, and his sister and brother-in-law, Martha and Dennis Sullins. He was preceded in death by his father, Jay and mother Nelline.

Fred Wyche was buried at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.