Rest in Peace, FANGORIA’s Dee Erwine
Dee Erwine was vivacious. For decades, she had been one of the familiar faces at FANGORIA and it is with immense sadness that I write after a battle with cancer, our long-time Subscription Manager, Dee Erwine, has passed away in her sleep.
I first meet Dee during my early weeks at FANGORIA, as an intern. I was trying to print postage, fighting with the temperamental machine. Hearing the scuffle, Dee emerged from her office and swiftly corrected me. She was a kind yet tough woman who was not about to take crap from any machine, or intern for that matter. Thus began the long friendship I had with Dee, and one I will never forget.
Dee moved to New York in the 1960s during wild times. In later years, she would often share stories of the crazy New York 60s and 70s with me and other office cohorts. Dee worked a number of jobs, and by the 70s found herself working for a small-time publishing company run by Norman Jacobs of Starlog Group. Known for publishing our sister sci-fi magazine Starlog, Jacobs began dabbling in horror publications which would eventually become the FANGORIA Magazine we know today. Dee was part of the FANGORIA crew from day one, eventually becoming Subscription Manager, where she stayed a vital and crucial part right up to the week of her passing.
Dee and I worked closely together for many years, often with our desks right next to each other. It is funny how much you can learn about someone just by sitting next to them. I came to know her quite well. She was a film nut (not just horror), and every Monday morning, Dee and I would discuss all the movies we had watched over the weekend. She would see just about any movie, but her passion was art house films. Over the years, we got well adept at making recommendations. Dee filled my Netflix queue with gritty art-house titles that she knew I would find captivating, and I suggested indie horror films with an artistic edge I knew Dee would love.
Dee was also quite the gardener. Living in the ridiculously tiny apartments of New York City, most of us couldn’t dream of having extra space for plants, but Dee’s was always so lush and green. All of her extra plants made their way into the Fango office. I remember one bleak day during the harsh New York winter, Dee brought in a pan of water with two bulbs in it. She told me that these were Paperwhite flowers. A week passed and nothing had grown; still just a pan of water with two oniony looking things in it. Another week passed. By this time Christmas had rolled around, and the whole staff left for the holiday. When we returned the bulbs had transformed into the most beautiful white flowers. The whole office (which usually smelled like microwaved food and magazine ink) had been filled with the most wonderful floral scent. It was breathtaking.
Even after Dee was diagnosed, her spirit and energy stayed strong. A few weeks before her passing, I gave birth to my first child: a little girl named Marnie. Dee was so excited to have a little baby girl in the FANGORIA family. Just one week before she passed, Dee and her sister went out shopping and bought baby Marnie a sweater and hat in Dee’s favorite color, bright red. I received the gift in the mail the day before Dee died. I know that Dee was active, happy, and thinking of ways to make others happy right up to her final moments.
Dee, you were one hell of a lady. We are all lucky to have known you.