Thursday, January 31, 2013

John Impola (1906-1989)

Né Eino Impola
Journalist, Editor, Author
Born January 22, 1906, Crystal Falls, Michigan
Died March 26, 1989, Seattle, Washington

John Impola was born Eino Impola, son of Finnish immigrants, on January 22, 1906, in Crystal Falls, Michigan. As a boy he lived in Cathlamet, a small town located in Wahkiakum County, Washington. Impola was a lifelong journalist, educated at the University of Washington (Class of 1928), and soon after on the staff of the Waterville Empire-Press (ca. 1930). That's about the time he contributed his lone story to Weird Tales: "Whispering Death" (Nov. 1929). Impola worked for the Seattle Times from 1933 to 1946, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries from 1946 to 1949, and the Daily Journal of Commerce, a businessman's newspaper, until retiring as managing editor in 1973.

Impola's first wife, Eileen I. Impola, passed away in 1967. He remarried in 1971. John Impola died on March 26, 1989, at age eighty-three. His widow, Marion Janet Thornton (1907-1992), endowed a scholarship in his name. Here is the complete text describing it from the website of the University of Washington: 
University of Washington Department of Communication
Impola Scholarship
Awarded to a Communication major with an interest in advertising or journalism. The John Impola Endowment for Journalism Education was established in 1990 by John Impola’s widow, Marion, with an initial contribution of $10,000. His interest in journalism began in Cathlamet, where, as a schoolboy, he would drop by a print shop after class to handset type. Level-headed, objective and responsible reporting was almost a religion to him. It was hoped that the proceeds of this scholarship would be used to improve and enhance business and financial information dissemination.
I wonder what an old-school journalist would have made of the use of the passive voice or the phrase "financial information dissemination" in the last sentence. In any case, I'm happy to report that John Impola's name lives on at his alma mater.

John Impola's Story in Weird Tales
"Whispering Death" (Nov. 1929)

Further Reading
I suspect there is more information on John Impola in the holdings of libraries in Washington or in Seattle itself.

Despite the fact that John Impola contributed just one story to Weird Tales, his name landed on the cover in November 1929. The cover artist was C.C. Senf. I wonder how many covers of Weird Tales show the villain threatening the supine love interest as the hero attempts intervention.
Here's a photograph of a rather rakish John Impola provided by Randal Everts. It dates from about the time Impola contributed his story to Weird Tales.
Thanks to Randal A. Everts for further information and for the photograph.
Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley

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