The Legacy of The Country Caller

By Abraham Kline

The daily news is an ongoing stream of information. Every day, there are current stories that affect our lives in one way or another. As curious individuals, we have a keen desire to know what’s going on across town and around the world. That information is delivered through journalists and reporters, whose job is to gather information and facts and notify the public through printed publications, live broadcasts, and online outlets. Whether it be the latest in global events or an upcoming local fundraising bake sale, it is responsible journalism that brings us these communications in the form of investigative reporting, news, reviews, columns, and feature-writing.

For nearly 20 years, that’s what Joyce Ronian and her assistants at The Country Caller did for folks in Indiana and Westmoreland Counties, specifically the Upper Kiskiminetas Valley. The paper published its first edition on September 9, 1975, and ran every other Wednesday until its final edition on March 6, 1994. The paper ceased following the death of Joyce Ronian, the founder, writer, and editor. It’s now been gone for over 25 years, yet many still miss it for the stories and personality that shone through Joyce’s writing.

Joyce was born May 7, 1929, in Avonmore, Pennsylvania. At age 17, she married Joseph William Ronian Jr. As mentioned, Joyce started The Country Caller in 1975 after a period where she pondered the possibility of taking on such a venture.  In a phone call with one of their four sons, she stated it was God that gave her assurance to start the paper.  From there, the journey began.

In time, The Country Caller gained in popularity. Readers were able to purchase the paper at local businesses or have the paper delivered. The Country Caller even had out of state subscribers.

According to those who knew Joyce, she always had a strong desire to fairly report good news from her region. Much of the news included local events, weddings, graduations, birthdays, honor rolls, and other positive topics.

The articles were all written by Joyce, and her associates, namely Jim and Pam Gould, contributed in other ways. Putting together a newspaper was much different at that time, and it was evident through the laborious work required.  Pam spent much of her time putting together headlines and ads, and Jim cut and arranged the paper so everything fit. 

The final edition on March 6, 1994, featured a front-page tribute to Joyce’s life that was written by her son Brad.

While The Country Caller is no longer in print, many fondly remember the newspaper. The legacy of the publication and its founder, Joyce Ronian, stands as a reminder of the positive impact a person’s words and actions can have on a community.


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