It is with great sadness that I learned our friend Don Dewey, editor of Fresh Water and Marine Aquarium magazine passed away on February 27, 2000 of a heart attack.
I started communicating with Don in 1977. Don was involved with hobby magazines outside of the aquarium industry. He brought with him into our business a sense of what appealed to, then intrigued and inspired hobbyists.
When Don was interested in something, little could stop him. In the mid 1970’s, there was one other major aquarium publication. At that time, the ‘other’ will established magazine with a pocket sized offering. Within several months of FAMA’s presence, the other Magazine (TFH) was offered as a full size (what we see today) magazine. Don knew competition made better products for the consumer. FAMA was on its way to being the #1 magazine for aquarium keepers in the USA.
I first met Don at his home in May of 1980. He offered his thoughts on my previous evenings speaking engagement at the University of Southern California. I was introduced to his lovely wife Sally, his daughter Wendy and their son Michael. What a great family.
I was again invited to the Dewey home in late 1980. I brought video tape of my recent Chambered nautilus collecting expedition from the Republic of Palau. We watched a video of small planes landing on a black top runway, scattering wild pigs. Don realized just how far from home I had been.
Later, the video showed traps being made to collect nautilus. Michael entered the room. He was a teenager. We made eye contact. I could see he was not interested in what Don and I were doing. In a heart beat, Michael and I were exchanging middle finger salutes, in the living room! Don looked up. He looked and Michael, with some disapproval. He looked at me, as an adult and smiled with his eyes.
Don unselfishly offered me years of his vast knowledge and experience. He guided me into producing a newsletter. This was later printed as The Marine Aquarist™, which evolved into this very internet publication. What I learned from Don: the presentation, the very layout, what you see here, I owe to him.
I shared many fine lunches with the Dewey family. Those memories are etched in my soul.
Don is survived by Sally, his ever faithful wife and wonderful daughter Wendy.
Michael Del Prete. Editor