DON WALSWORTH III — Selling Peace of Mind
A Mover and Shaker
Don Walsworth contributed to the family business as early as his elementary school years. The play bills were produced via a photographic method using paper film, and Walsworth would shake 30 one-gallon jugs of hypo and 15 one-gallon jugs of developer every day.
“Man, did I hate doing that,” Walsworth laughs. “But once I got into high school, I worked on making plates and became pretty efficient at that.”
The Walsworths found another outlet for selling advertising in the form of yearbooks. In its nascency, the concept of the yearbook consisted of the printer/publisher selling yearbook advertising in the community, then giving the books to the schools free of charge. After a while, Walsworth Publishing removed itself from the advertising component and focused on selling yearbooks to the schools.
As for Don Walsworth’s future, the printing business was pretty much a foregone conclusion. He was an education major at the University of Missouri, where he played guard/forward for the men’s basketball team. He broke an arm his sophomore year, putting an end to his playing days. He also took courses on printing at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh.
“Printing had always been what I wanted to do and I enjoyed it,” Walsworth recalls. “I focused on it all through my college career. My parents died during my sophomore year. When I came back to work at the company, it was quite small then. It was more of an advertising company, church cookbooks, things of that nature.”
Walsworth joined his uncles in running the family company after he graduated in 1957. By 1965, Walsworth Publishing had ventured into commercial printing.
“Yearbooks are cyclical, and we felt we needed to add commercial printing to supplement it,” Walsworth explains. “We do yearbooks for more than 5,000 schools each year.”
A commercial book division, specializing in high quality, four-color books, was forged in 1974. It also manufactures trade books, military publications, as well as regional government products such as county and city history books.