A man central to the journalism and publishing careers of a bunch of us has passed on. Wick Allison, full name of Lodowick Brodie Cobb Allison, founder of D Magazine and a significant Dallas civic leader, died late in the day on September 1. He had been battling bladder cancer for the last several years.
According to D Magazine’s Frontburner Blog: There are no funeral plans at present in Dallas. The family asks those so inclined to make a donation in Wick’s name to the St. Vincent de Paul Society at Holy Trinity Church.
Wick was the consummate publishing entrepreneur, and I am eternally grateful to him for the employment opportunities he provided. I moved to Dallas in the early 80’s fresh from journalism school in New York to work in TV news. My husband was in the throes of his OB-GYN residency at Parkland. One of the things I missed was the thriving publishing culture of New York City: you could always find a publishing job in the Big Apple. Not so in Dallas. We started our family, and Wick’s naiscent magazine, D, helped me transition from broadcast journalism to print free-lancing. The late Rowland Stiteler me a shot at writing a “feature story” : I was used to 45 seconds or less. But I took a shot. “Crime in North Dallas” became a cover story and invoked the wrath of high profile residents, including the late Stanley Marcus. The problem was I had driven to Huntsville to interview a convicted North Dallas burglar to ask him how he did it. The sidebar was called “How to Burglarize a Home”. The thinking was, of course, if you know how these guys are breaking in you will be better prepared to keep them out.
And thus began a career of writing for D until Wick sold the magazine, or it closed, then writing for it again when he returned in the early 90’s. In 1999, Christine Allison and I had a three-hour lunch and I helped found DHome Magazine.
In 2007, I went to San Francisco to get my son settled in a new job, and I was introduced to the digital world of blogging and real estate. I came home with a wild and crazy idea: let’s start a real estate blog. To his credit, Wick gave me a platform for a site called DallasDirt, devoted to the real estate industry. I had at last found the perfect marriage between broadcast and print. We — I — broke countless stories on the industry, including the downfall of Eleanor Mowery Sheets, and the Preston Hollow home snapped up by George and Laura Bush, though they tried to keep it a secret.
Those scoops led to writing for national publications, including Joel Kotkin’s New Geography. One day Wick told me Joel was speaking at a Dallas Chamber luncheon, and he asked if I could arrange a private talk at the magazine: done.
But I got to know Wick best when I ran for Dallas City Council for District 11 in 2017. He called me, I met him in the office early (not a morning person, I think he was). He offered coffee and we chatted: he knew I was in support of the Coalition for a New Dallas’ goals to increase housing density over highways in Dallas. He said he liked what I’d done with CandysDirt.com. We aligned on so many issues, and I think he finally looked at me as more than that “Preston Hollow housewife who writes about real estate”. You are a passionate, involved citizen, he told me, and you should be a leader. When he said he’d support me, he meant it, and was a man of his word.
That’s when my admiration for him skyrocketed. He was deeply intelligent, well read and had an incredible memory for details. He used to say I knew real estate like the back of my hand. Well, he knew history better than the back of his hand. Wick loved Dallas from the depths of his being and every move, every thought, was to protect and propel this city forward sanely.
I once wrote about the late Stanley Marcus for D, the one who ferociously criticized my very first print article. Great men like Stanley Marcus and Wick Allison not only create business brands that employ and fuel hundreds of creative brains, they inadvertently spawn the talent that crackles out from the Mother Ship. Stanley Marcus was an arbiter of taste and fashion, who changed the way Dallas thought not just about fashion and service shopping, but about art, discrimination, tolerance, and culture. Marcus gave us Lester Melnick and Roger Horchow, Kim Dawson, Jan Strimple, and Jan Barboglio, among many others.
The list of great writers who crossed D’s thresh hold are too many for my sad brain to recall right now, but they include the late Alan Peppard, Skip Hollandsworth, Tracy Anchor Hayes, Nancy Nichols, Mary Malouf, my first editor Rowland, so many more, many who have left comments on his obituary.
Wick Allison made it possible for creatives to earn a living and follow their dreams, which in turn cross-pollinated our city with more growth, introspection, and improvement. He broadened our geodome of literacy for generations to come.