Ron Semple is a fifth generation Jersey City native descended from Irish, Scottish and Italian immigrants. He was educated by the Jesuits at St. Peter's Preparatory School and St. Peter's College in Jersey City and Loyola University in New Orleans. He enlisted in the Marines at 18 during the Korean Conflict. He served as a drill instructor at Parris Island and as a rifle squad leader with the 4th Marines in the Pacific. Semple was discharged as a sergeant in 1956 and then served eight years in the Marine reserves. After working as a rigger in a Hoboken shipyard with his Italian stepfather, Semple got his first job as a cub reporter on New Year's Eve 1956 with the now defunct Hudson Dispatch in Union City, NJ. He took a fifty percent pay cut to become a newspaperman. He covered police and politics in Jersey City and worked as a deskman before he joined The Jersey Journal in Jersey City in 1959 as a general assignment reporter. He was city editor when he left in 1965 to travel and write. Travel he did. He worked as a merchant seaman on a freighter touching a dozen ports in West Africa, He also supported himself as a mate on a small charter fishing boat, construction laborer, truck driver, carpenter's helper and as the legislative secretary to a New Jersey state senator.He returned to newspapers in 1967 joining the Billings (MT) Gazette as swing editor. He became managing editor nine months later. Semple was subsequently named business manager and later general manager. In 1973, he went to Lee Enterprises' corporate offices in Davenport, IA, as assistant to the vice president of newspaper operations and later became assistant to the president. Semple was named publisher of the Helena (MT) Independent Record in 1976 and publisher of the Winona (MN) Daily News in 1981. Semple left Lee Enterprises in 1985 as joined B.F. Shaw Publishing in Crystal Lake, IL, where he helped establish a new daily newspaper, The Northwest Herald. Semple struck out on his own as a consultant two years later and ultimately worked with more than 200 newspapers, state press associations, corporations and colleges. He was a discussion leader at the American Press Institute at Reston, VA, for twenty years. When Semple retired the grind from daily newspapers, he began a new career as a volunteer in the emergency services. He joined the Galena Territory (IL) Fire Department at 53 and worked as a firefighter, an emergency medical technician and chief's aide. He is a life member of that department. Semple was certified as a paramedic in 1991 and served four years with the Galena Area Ambulance Service. Moving South in 1995, Semple joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary at 61. He qualified as Coast Guard boat crew a year later at Station Oak Island at Cape Fear, NC, on the Atlantic Ocean. He sailed on numerous search and rescue operations and manned the station's radio, and was an instructor in first aid, navigation and small boat operations. He also worked as an assistant planner with the Coast Guard's Marine Safety office in Wilmington, NC, and helped in the aftermath of five hurricanes. Semple also worked with the Coast Guard on Lake Ontario and on the St. Lawrence River in New York. Semple holds a number of Coast Guard decorations. He was a division vice captain in the Auxiliary before he retired in 2010 at 76. Semple joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2004 and was deployed to a half-dozen hurricanes before his resignation in 2015. In 2006, his old friend, the celebrated author Warren Murphy, suggested they write a book together. Semple wrote the first draft of "Miss Bidwell's Spirit" which was published in 2006 by Ballybunion Books, Virginia Beach, VA. He moved to Advance, NC, in 2010 with his wife, the former Jane Guarascio who was marketing director of the Winona (MN) Daily News when they wed. They have two grown daughters, a foster son and two grandchildren. Semple now does press releases for the Advance Fire Depatment.
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