Judith Phillips started work with the North Wales Weekly News in 1961 and stayed there for the vast majority of her career.
This week she was ceremonially “banged out” of the Llandudno Junction offices, which the paper shares with the North Wales Daily Post.
Editor Linda Roberts led a cascade of tributes to a journalist she described as a “true professional.”
Said Linda: “In a 53 year career in journalism, Judith interviewed the Beatles, and countless other celebrities, but the people that meant the most to her were our readers and the North Wales Weekly News.
“Over the years, she has been a mentor and guide to numerous young journalists who all have the greatest of respect for her. She has always been a true professional throughout her career, well respected on her patch and never missing the big stories.
“It will be very tough to replace Judith, she’s been a part of the fabric and ethos of the Weekly News, but knowing her she’ll still be phoning in and offering us exclusives!
“I and my fellow staff members wish her a long and happy retirement, she will be greatly missed.”
Mark Thomas, editor of the Daily Post, said: “Judith is a hugely experienced journalist with a contact book that is the envy of all of her colleagues – and is also one of the nicest people you could wish to meet.
“She will be hugely missed both as a colleague and a friend, and I suspect our reporters will be staying in fairly regular contact with her to tap into her wealth of local knowledge.
“The banging out ceremony in our Llandudno Junction newsroom yesterday was very emotional. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”
In a first person piece to mark her retirement, Judith wrote about her early training, her times as a copy runner and fondly recalled the “smell of hot newsprint.”
Assigned Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr as her patch,, she would catch the bus on Thursdays and Fridays to visit the two villages, gathering news from “vicars and church ministers, publicans, shopkeepers, and local characters.”
She wrote: “A highlight of the week for me was going to the printing works late on a Wednesday afternoon where” I acted as a runner transferring edited copy to the Linotype operators who would then set the words ready for printing.”
“And when the huge presses were rolling,” she wrote, “the smell of hot newsprint was one which is forever imprinted on my senses.”
Judith described how she left and returned to the News twice – once to work in public relations in London, and when her children were small, to freelance for national newspapers and magazines.
She said: “Now that I’m retiring there is so much I’m going to miss, but I’m fortunate to have so many lasting memories made of stories I’ve covered, people I’ve met, but first and foremost of the wonderful colleagues I’ve been privileged to work with over so many years.”