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Evelyn Short, a fixture at the The Advocate for more than a half century and longtime executive secretary to two of its publishers, died Thursday morning after a prolonged illness.

She was 87.

Short started at the newspaper in 1946 and worked her way up to the publisher’s office. She retired in 1999.

“If she didn’t want you to see the boss, you didn’t see the boss,” said former publisher David Manship.

She worked first as executive secretary to Manship’s uncle, Charles Manship Jr., and in 1970 did the same job for David’s father, Douglas Manship Sr., and stayed in that role until he handed on the top job to his son in 1991.

“Dad was traveling a lot,” said David Manship. “When he was gone, she ran the place.”

Short, the former Evelyn Fanguy, was a native of Morgan City. Her niece Dee Dee Culotta recalls her aunt as an impeccably dressed, professional woman.

“She always took beautiful care of herself,” Culotta said. “She would never dream of not being appropriately dressed.”

Linda Lightfoot, a former Advocate executive editor, remembers Short as a highly efficient person who ran a tight ship.

“She was just devoted to the newspaper and devoted to the Manship family,” Lightfoot said. “If something needed to be done, it was done.”

Cathy Manship, who served as executive secretary herself at the paper for years, said Short was a mentor and confidante who never steered her wrong. Short did not suffer fools, she said.

“If you walked into her office with an attitude, believe me you were going to walk out without that attitude,” said Manship, an ex-wife of David Manship.

Sara Lemon, a longtime friend who spent 43 years at The Advocate, remembers a lighter side to Short, a woman who loved to go out dancing and have fun.

“She was smart. She was friendly. She was beautiful. A true friend,” Lemon said. “And she had the greatest laugh in the whole world.”

Short was preceded in death by her husband, Hank, and is survived by her son, Dasher, and his wife Sherri.

Follow Charles Lussier on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier