Artwork by Donna Reibslager

The raven that inspired the logo for the Patagonia Regional Times died on August 2, 2022, after living for 17 years. (Ravens commonly live between 10 and 15 years.)

Judith Hinton Andrew, widow of Walter Andrew, the founder of the PRT, grieved the loss of this raven. “I thought the raven was my friend. I’ve never had a relationship before with a bird like that – a wild bird,” she said. “I heard it ‘talking’ to me, and many other people also stopped to listen to it.” She created a special burial site in the exact spot of her back yard where the raven used to drop whole hamburger buns that it took from the hotel’s garbage dumpster.

It was this same raven that brought Walter Andrew and Donna Reibslager together to discuss his idea of publishing a local newspaper, the PRT. They were next door neighbors, watching the raven every day as it perched on the same power pole on Smelter Ave. behind the Stage Stop Inn. 

Walter asked Donna, an artist, to draw a picture of the raven, which appeared on the first page of the PRT from its beginning in 2009. He also asked her to become the paper’s first editor. She took on this job, as well as design, layout and illustration.

Judith described what led Walter to publish a newspaper. As a lawyer in Westport, CT. he was the first in his legal group to purchase a computer and write his own reports about cases instead of dictating to a secretary. He discovered that he enjoyed the process of writing. 

When he retired to Patagonia in 2003, he walked around town daily, meeting and talking to its residents, finding people and topics to write about. “But,” she emphasized, “his primary motivation and purpose of establishing a newspaper was to find a means to bring together the Anglo and Latino people in the town. He hoped it would help bridge the gap between cultures.” 

In 2014 Walter wrote a letter of gratitude, dedicated to Judith, his family, and the community of Patagonia and its outlying areas. He wrote: “I love the social mix, the variety of personalities, cultures and cultural stews that is Patagonia. As a town we are unpretentious, we care about everyone, we have multitudinous deficiencies which we enjoy living with, we have our political and economic differences, but this town has character, something that is being homogenized in the greater world. In short, I love this town. I’ll miss seeing it grow (slowly) into an even more reflective, compassionate, peaceful, appreciative, and culturally diverse locale where ‘we’ continue to value and respect ourselves, respect fellow townspeople (and their ideas) and take responsibility for our own actions.”

The raven on the front page of the PRT can be seen not only as an image, but as a symbol of connection. For Judith, it is a personal connection with a unique bird. It could represent Walter’s dream of connecting people with different cultures and views. The raven could also be a symbol of the connection between two people, Walter and Donna, in the formation of a newspaper, a creative process that continues in the present PRT.