Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Remembering Dave Holton

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that Dave Holton passed away on September 18th after a courageous battle with cancer.  There are many who knew and loved Dave, who was a fixture at BEA for more than 20 years.  Dave left the world better than he found it and for those that did have the privilege to know him, why they are saddened and will miss him terribly.

I knew Dave for a long time, but I did not know him as well as he knew me.  But that was Dave, always asking about my family, knowing about where I went on vacation, offering tips on where to go or what see.  Dave always cared a little more about making sure everyone else was taken care of or had a smile on their face because that is what put a smile on his.  

Dave did a lot to make BEA a special event, but that was only a small part of his life because he was active in his community and spent his free time raising tens of thousands of dollars for many charitable causes every year. There are so many stories I'd like to share to paint the picture of what great human being Dave was, but that would take a book itself.   I will share one story that was typical of Dave.  He sent me an email and learned from my out of office reply I was in Washington, DC exhibiting at an ALA  event and this was before BEA was to be in DC, so Dave got in his car and drove to Washington so he could see the new convention center so he would be better prepared for BEA.  All on his own time and his own dime.   I found out about Dave's plan as he walked up to my booth.  I was dumb founded and happily surprised to see him.  I asked why he didn't call or email to let me know he was coming, his response:  "Well I saw your out of office, so I knew you'd be here and I didn't want to bother you."

There is a link below to the funeral home that will be handling his arrangements (details are not yet final, but will be available through this link).  There is also a link to post condolences that will be delivered to Dave's family.  I encourage people that knew Dave to pass along a note as I am sure his family will take comfort in knowing how many lives Dave touched.

It is fitting to share some memories from others who knew Dave and what he meant to BEA:

Oren Teicher from the ABA shared these kinds words:
From the very first time I met Dave - way back to when ABA still operated the convention through his many years of working with the folks at BEA - Dave was always the perfect gentleman. He was dedicated to always making the autographing section of the show better and better......and, each year, he somehow managed to achieve that goal. It was an pleasure to have had the privilege of working with him....he was a very special person.

Tina Jordan, who is now with the AAP, knew Dave as well as anyone in the industry and had the privilege of working directly with him in her time on BEA offered:
No one loved BEA more than Dave Holton.   Dave is THAT guy. You know the guy. The "behind the scenes" BEA guy. Literally.  The guy who took care of your authors with a smile every year for over 20 years behind BEAs autographing curtains. The guy who made sure booksellers got any autographed book and author greeting they wanted. The only guy who could find your lost boxes of books in those cavernous convention centers.  He had that special touch with the unions, he recruited eager college grads wanting that big break in publishing and even took on being an industry cop, scouring E Bay post BEA for culprits trying to sell galleys. A true story.

Publicists loved him. Authors loved him. Booksellers loved him. I loved him.   Thank you Dave for being my partner in BEA events crime for so so many years. I grew up with you.  My heart breaks.  Rest well my dear friend.  I will miss you dearly.

Link to Condolences Registry  Your condolences and expressions of support to the bereaved are private. All messages will be printed and personally presented to the family or forwarded directly to the family's e-mail.  Please feel free to share your thoughts, they are tremendously comforting for the families coping with a loss.


  1. I worked with Dave for most of his 20 years at the show, and never once did he appear stressed or overwhelmed. That is saying a lot with the amount of responsibility he had and the number of people he worked with. I looked forward to talking with him every time I had the chance. There are very few people like Dave, always happy and always helpful. We lost a good one, but his legacy will live on.
    - Terry Nathan, Independent Book Publishers Association

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