William C. Aldridge, a printer whose professional career saw the rise and fall of many New York publications, died Sunday at age 81.
Aldridge, who had worked at Newsday, The Suffolk Sun, The New York Herald Tribune and the special section of that newspaper that became New York magazine, began his career in the 1940s while still in high school.
His career spanned the days when printers used hot metal type that was cast and recycled each day, to the days of cold type and composition on computers, his family said.
Born in Brooklyn, Aldridge moved with his family to Franklin Square at age 12, and grew up there, attending Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park in the 1940s.
"In those days, you [could] choose your career path in high school, and he chose printing," his son, Glen Aldridge said. "He went to high school half a day, and went half a day to Doubleday," a book publishing company in Garden City.
After high school, Aldridge worked briefly for a printing company in Cornwall, N.Y., before starting his first daily newspaper job. He became a journeyman printer at the New York Herald Tribune, where he worked until that paper closed 16 years later. Aldridge then worked for The Suffolk Sun, until that daily newspaper closed four years later.
After The Suffolk Sun, Aldridge worked for Newsday, first in Garden City and then at its current headquarters in Melville.
In 1996, Aldridge retired from Newsday after 22 years, and concentrated on his longtime hobby of growing Dahlias at his home in Westbury.
"My grandfather had always been a gardener," Glen Aldridge said. "Maybe from that he caught an interest. That was definitely his main thing. He grew them in the backyard."
Aldridge was a member of the Mid-Island Dahlia Society for 20 years, and at one time served as its president. He grew award-winning flowers, and in 2002 was awarded the "Best in Show" prize at the Dahlia society's annual competition, a prominent event that regularly draws entries from several states.
In addition to his son, Glen, of Garden City, Aldridge is survived by his wife, Doris of East Meadow; another son, William R. of Springfield, Va.; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Visiting hours were scheduled at the Dalton Funeral Home, 2786 Hempstead Tpke., Levittown, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday. Church services were scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the Parkway Community Church, Stewart Ave., Hicksville.