Piece of Press history changes hands in auction
by Glenn Moore
Apr 19, 2013 | 1639 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bette A. Grande looks over a set of newsroom clocks she bought in an auction on Wednesday, April 17, in the old Tracy Press building at 145 W. 10th St.. Grande bid $500, which will be given to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tracy.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Bette A. Grande looks over a set of newsroom clocks she bought in an auction on Wednesday, April 17, in the old Tracy Press building at 145 W. 10th St.. Grande bid $500, which will be given to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tracy. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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A set of five Bulova clocks that have counted down deadlines in the Tracy Press newsroom for more than 35 years has been sold to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Tracy.

Bette A. Grande’s bid of $500 won her the clocks, which have hung most recently in the second-floor newsroom of the old Tracy Press building at 145 W. 10th St.

“A very important reason I stayed in the bidding for the clock was that the Boys and Girls Club was the real winner in this fun adventure for me,” she said.

Press co-publisher Will Fleet decided to auction the clocks when the newspaper recently moved next door to 131 W. 10th St.

The clocks are set in a wooden case nearly six feet long, with the clock faces set to the times of Tracy, Paris, New York, Honolulu and Tokyo.

The auction lasted four weeks, with ads in the Press and postings on Facebook detailing the bidding.

Grande, 71, learned she had the winning bid on Wednesday, April 17, and stopped by the newsroom that afternoon to examine her prize.

“Wow, it’s so big,” she said. “I don’t remember it being so big.”

Grande said she befriended the Matthews family after moving to Tracy in 1968 and had seen the clocks many times on visits to the newsroom.

When she learned about the auction, she jumped at the chance to own a piece of the newspaper’s history.

“My instant response was I wanted it,” Grande said. “I wanted it for the history of the Press.”

Fleet said he was “very grateful to her for her community spirit.”

“We thought this would be a nice way to preserve a piece of Tracy history, and at the same time have a little fun and raise some money for the Boys and Girls Club of Tracy,” he said. “Thanks to Bette Grande, we were able to accomplish all three goals.”

Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus said a news company from Southern California gave the set to the Press as a gift sometime in the early 1970s.

The wooden case was built by Fred Marriott, a Press employee who worked in the composing room, according to Matthews.

After his retirement from the paper, Marriott worked as a handyman, often doing jobs around the Press that included changing the batteries and maintaining the clocks.

“Whenever we had a Cub Scout or school come through on a tour, the clock was one of the favorite parts,” Matthews said.

The clocks will continue to keep time. Grande said they will be mounted on a wall in her property management company, Grande Properties.

“I plan to be here forever, so the clock will be here in Tracy for a long time,” Grande said.

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830 4252 or gmoore@tracypress.com

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