Honoring the memory of Salem One Co-Founder Don Whitaker

While life is precious, and all life brings sadness at its passing, it is with fond memories and a smile, to take a moment and remember an important original within the Salem One story.

I received word that the Co-Founder of Salem Printing, Don “Slim” Whitaker passed away Wednesday evening. Don worked with my father at a large local Printing company in Winston-Salem for as far back as I can remember in the 70’s & 80’s, and they have remained great friends. He was a Pre-press expert back in the day when the camera and film were the tools of the trade. In fact, he taught me how to run the camera at Salem’s original location on Lomond Street. “Slim” was known by most everyone within the printing industry in the area, as he always carried a tremendous smile, was quick with a positive (and often funny) phrase for the moment, enjoyed playing a round of golf with his fellow company team mates and industry friends where he could tee up a provisional as part of his back swing , but most of all he Loved Print. 

I never remember Don having a bad day. He simply loved being in print, he loved all aspects of print, he loved the people around him and the people loved him.
Don Whitaker, Philip & Janette Kelley purchased a bankrupt little copy shop printing company on the steps of the Courthouse in Downtown Winston-Salem in 1987. Don was the President of the company from 1987 to 1995. 

I talk often about the roots of our tree, and how blessed Salem One is to have solid foundations. We are truly fortunate to have Don, at our founding. As we continue to grow, and get larger, with the hills and valleys and pressures that come with that reality, I hope we will maintain a culture that ultimately allows everyone to simply enjoy being here, to enjoy each day that we get to surround ourselves with each other and love what we do. Don set that standard for our company from day one.

God Bless a fine gentleman, a happy soul, and a kind spirit. I am thankful that our lives crossed. The entire Kelley Family is indebted to his friendship and leadership.

Simply the Best. Don “Slim” Whitaker