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.

deeDee 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.

About the author
Rebekah McKendry
Rebekah McKendry is the Director of Marketing for Fangoria Entertainment, and additionally she is a college professor teaching classes focused on film history and horror films. She is also an award-winning filmmaker. She has Bachelor's Degrees in Film and English, a MA in Media Education, a MFA in Film, and she is currently completing her PhD in Media Theory focused on horror and exploitation cinema. She is especially passionate about grindhouse films, video nasties, and rare or lost titles.
  • http://twitter.com/brunospaws Peter Dunphy

    Beautiful piece Rebekah. My deepest sympathies. RIP Ms Erwine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=737336476 Jerry Chandler

    Beautifully written.

  • http://twitter.com/MattChance Matthew

    I was just reading an old email conversation I had had with her back in 2008 yesterday. Even back then, she was helping me with a subscription problem. It’s funny how even just through the written word you can spot the good ones. Very sad to hear this.

  • Stephan Segantini

    Sad news, indeed !:(

    Although I never met her in person, she treated me very well and had a great patience and kindness when answering my many e-mails.

    And now she is shining in Heaven!

    R.I.P., Dee…

  • kevin

    Wow…this news just broke my heart.

  • Varda Albert

    I have a photo of Dee’s garden at my desk. It makes me smile. She so enjoyed it. I miss her. We loved to talk about vintage clothing, classic movies, old stars, food and New York City. What to do, what to see and what to dish about! It is hard to imagine that Dee won’t be present at our dinners and gatherings. But, in some fashion, she is will be.

  • David Reynolds

    I’m little behind in reading my horror magazines. I was quite surprised to read of Dee’s passing. I’m one of the many subscribers Dee has assisted (via e-mail) over the years. I distinctly remember thinking “What a sweet lady!” when reading our simple back-and-forth messages about an issue I was having. It’s quite fantastic that she was able to present herself in such a manner over an emotionless e-mail system. I’m sure she was quite a lady! My condolences to all who love and miss her. Having lost my sister 3.5 years ago to the same pancreatic cancer that took Dee’s life, I was particularly touched by her passing. Peace and love to all.

  • Ruth Trampler

    I was a neighbor of Dee who told me she had a cancer that needed a biopsy and, I believe, that her sister was coming to help her. Since I did not know what happened I tried a google today and found your wonderful site. I am so sorry to hear the sad news though it doesn’t come as a total surprise as we all used to see her often on 76th Street and I occasionally had a meal with her and went to the NY Botanical Garden one Saturday to see the orchid show. She had told me of her sisters whom I never meant but were all very close. She was a great spirit and is already greatly missed. Best wishes to her family and friends and thank you for telling the news.

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