EPHRAIM—In memory of Max Call, former Sanpete Messenger publisher who died in 2013, his family donated a book containing his popular “Trivia” columns to the Snow College Library on March 21.
Lloyd and Judy (Brewer) Call, two of Max’s children, brought in the large bound tome of “Trivia” columns written by Max Call over many years. As they set it on the library counter, students crowded around. “This is why history buffs are awesome,” said Snow student Jack Moses. “It’s always wise to keep history around, so we don’t make the same mistakes twice.”
Snow College Chief of Staff Marci Larsen told the Calls, “Thank you so much for this kind gift. It is a treasure for our students and community – a link to the past to help us create the future.”
Judy was moved to tears. “This is what we wanted, to have Sanpete history remembered and appreciated, and Max Call’s love of his county.”
Ephraim librarian Jon Ostler thanked the family for their donation. “We will treasure this,” he said.
The Calls thanked Snow College for their willingness to preserve the documents, stating that Max captured a lot of Sanpete history in the years he owned the newspaper and wrote his columns.
As reported in the April 6, 2013 issue of the Messenger after publisher Max Call died, after owning the paper from 1972 to 2000, it was clear Call dearly loved his Sanpete communities. After buying the Manti Messenger and Ephraim Enterprise in 1972, Call quickly became a noted figure in Sanpete.
“He became part of us,” said former Manti Mayor Mae Peterson. “We liked him very much. He was on the ball, and he did his research. And he had the local community at heart. [The newspaper] was a part of us. He was our voice.”
Call took strong stands on issues he felt really impacted Sanpete. Other times, he softened his point—while still making it—by using humor. Thus came about his weekly column, “Trivia,” which Call wrote every week over many years.
“Sometimes the columns [seemed] trivial, but mostly it was a disguise,” says Lloyd Call, Max’s son who has worked at the Messenger nearly his whole adult life, and who still works at the Sanpete Messenger, now owned by Suzanne Dean. “Dad could say something is trivial when it really wasn’t trivial. When he wanted to say something serious, he could talk about it in ‘Trivia’ and get away with it. To have his column be trivial, but have it maintain the interest that it did for years, was quite a feat,” Lloyd says.
Its popularity went far beyond Manti and Ephraim. “I always used to like to read his column,” said Davis County Clipper Publisher Gail Stahle in 2013. “His column had great depth to it. Along with that, it had some funny things in it. I always read it and looked forward to it every week in the Messenger.”
The column won numerous state awards from the Utah Press Association and national awards from the National Newspaper Association. Its name became a type of moniker for Max, part of his identity. One couldn’t spend much time in Manti without seeing his little Subaru with the license plate “TRIVIA” traveling down Main Street.