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Remembering a Vermont Cynic layout legend

July 26, 2016
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Susan Mitchum Ball, 1943-2016

At the end of the era in which journalists still pasted their stories onto a physical page to be sent to the printer, few non-students were as essential to The Vermont Cynic as Sue Ball.

Ball was a “Cynic legend” who stayed awake into the wee hours of the morning waiting for the University of Vermont’s student journalists to finish their stories and turn in their photos, said Pat Brown, UVM’s director of Student Life.

“Sue would sit behind this wall of a machine that would amaze current students,” Brown said. “It was massive, with a simple keyboard and a driver the size of an old VW bug. She typed and coded stories, then passed along neat columns of student inspirations to inform the campus.”

Brown said he would encourage Ball to head home if students missed their deadlines, but she refused to do it, saying that she couldn’t let the students down.

“Sue was a trooper, hanging out in Billings with her dog Damien, waiting for the ever-tardy, yet intensely driven story. She’d also help students format their resumes and create a poster or two for student organizations.”

Ball died July 8 at the age of 72, according to the Burlington Free Press. She owned the business Bold Face Type & Design and started the Burlington magazine LOOKOUT, which continued until the late 1980s.

Read her obituary here.

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