I learned on Saturday that Dee Stewart had passed away. Dee was a single mom, a novelist, journalist and public relations professional. She was super smart, beautiful, kind, generous and had a wide circle of influence.
Two years ago as I was working on an idea for a Twitter-based black book club chat, I saw @deegospel ask in a tweet if there was anyone who wanted to do an African American book chat. I responded right away and we chatted on the phone. That was the beginning of #blacklitchat and our partnership.
Dee had so much experience, energy and knowledge about books, marketing and social media. She was amazing. She had been a successful independent PR professional for many years. Eventually, I began to learn about some of Dee’s health issues. Dee never failed to deliver and she had a positive, joyful attitude.
For the past two years we have emailed, DMed, texted and Tweeted to plan and hold our chats, sometimes using all those forms of communication in the same night. We never met in person. I was sure we would one day at a book festival or in Atlanta (she lived near ATL). I will always regret that. But I was fortunate to have built something with her.
I am sad to lose her and even though I knew of her health challenges and even of her planned surgery last week, Dee’s great attitude made it seem like just one more thing she would get done.
Things I will remember about Dee:
She is funny and fun – even when dealing with foolishness or big challenges, she found a way to make others smile or even laugh.
Her relationship with her daughter, who she playfully called “girlie.”
Her generosity. She made time to connect with authors and turn a spotlight on them, whether they were her clients or not.
Her energy and ability to do so much. She was moving faster than most of us (and thinking faster, quite frankly) and got things done. Even when she was hospitalized, she was still getting her books done, editing, promoting her authors.
She lived fully – enjoying her life, pursuing and completing her goals and not letting all the challenges hold her back.
The memorial for Dee is tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct. 10) in Atlanta.
I have heard a fund also has been established for her daughter. I will add that to this post when I have the details.
Here are two other tribute posts: