Dino Valz -- A Man of Letters

Dino Valz

Born in the Italian Alps near the Swiss border in 1903, Dino Valz was the son of a stone mason. As a child, his family immigrated to Barre, Vermont. Dino always treasured his Italian roots making a dozen trips back to his beloved, idyllic Piedicavallo village. He discovered a love for writing at an early age and wrote often of his native culture. His long-running column on fellow Italian immigrants who settled in Barre was published in a Vermont newspaper.

Valz arrived in Andover in 1925 with his Harvard College degree, flat broke, and looking for a job. He found one at the Andover Press. It lasted for more than 20 years.

Seated on the corner of Chestnut and Main streets, the Andover Press was then the largest publisher of college yearbooks in the country. Dino was hired to do two things. First, he helped college kids get their yearbook through the laborious printing process — a process the kids knew nothing of. Dino, on the other hand, knew "a wee bit about printing'' and a whole lot about writing and editing. Secondly, he wrote editorials for the Andover Townsman that expressed the opinions of his boss and newspaper editor, Phillip P. Cole.

Through his work, Dino gained a reputation as a writer and an editor who got it done right. In 1943, he brought his experience to Sutherland Abbott, a Boston-based advertising agency. Dino served as the company's media director, buying and budgeting advertising space in periodicals. Widely known and respected, he was named Boston's Advertising Man of the Year in 1956.

For 31 years beginning in 1937, Dino quietly moonlighted as a part-time instructor in the publications department at Simmons College in Boston. He lectured undergraduates at the women's liberal arts college on the technical aspects of editing and publishing. He created The Valz Project, requiring all program seniors to plan and budget, then develop and deliver their own publication. It was the final test for these graduates before facing the challenges present in the real world. Dino's legacy as an educator lives on in the lives of his students and those they've touched — all more viable and proficient with the written and spoken word.

Dino retired in 1971. He was never one to sit still for long, so his retirement was exhausting. Volunteering at the Andover Historical Society, he suggested to then-president Dorothy Hill that the society have a monthly newsletter mailed directly to each member. Between Dorothy and the board, the newsletter was born. Dino was named editor and given full responsibility for design, content and production. Further, he was appointed to a seat on the board. "It was literally a one-man show, from dreaming up the ideas to proofreading the page proofs — from A to Z,'' Valz recalled. Before he was finished, he'd served 15 years creating and editing 60 issues. In all, the newsletter he lobbied for and created ran for 41 years (1975-2017) and 162 issues.

Dino loved living in Andover. It carried over in his sense of civic duty. He was active in town politics, faithfully attending Town Meeting and even once running for the School Committee — losing to Bill Doherty. He served as president of the Andover Taxpayers Association and as a director of the Andover Co-Op during the 1960s.

Dino G. Valz is remembered fondly wherever he hung his hat. Perhaps Karen Herman, past Andover Historical Society president, said it best: Dino was "a man who knew his business and held everyone to his standards. He will be sadly missed, especially his warm smile and the way he filled a room with his presence.''

 

 

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