We have recently learnt that Deanna Wilson, a long-standing member of the MJA, who served on the Executive Committee for many years has died.
Deanna worked, primarily on trade and specialist titles, as a journalist and editor. Alongside former honorary secretary Philippa Pigache, Deanna also edited the MJA’s newsletters and Awards’ booklets.
We invite friends and colleagues to share their memories of Deanna via comments, below.
Join the discussion 7 Comments
Toujours gaie : I knew Deanna for many years, though not well.
She was always cheerful and good company and I never saw her being grumpy or negative, and she always looked terrific. I only recently learned that she was a brilliant sub and was willing to sub stuff for her fellow freelances – I wish I’d known.
When I moved to North Finchley a deca ago I discovered she was a neighbour, so I saw a bit more of her. I realised she had cash flow problems but made light of them. Toujours gaie…
Deanna was incredibly generous, with her time, her contacts and her talents. It would be a rare encounter with Deanna that didn’t see me come away with a new idea or a phone number, a pitch prospect or a commission for an article for one of her publications. She was one of the stalwarts who for many years kept the MJA going. In billable hours her time given freely to the Association would have amounted to a small fortune. And she did it all with such good grace and charm. I recall particularly her husky voice, which always seemed on the verge of laughter and when she did laugh it was infectious. Then there were her amazingly lustrous locks, which she tended to the point of obsession. She was a multi-talented journalist, not only a fine writer and a persistent reporter but a meticulous sub and an indefatigable publisher. She always seemed to have a new project on the go and if the last one didn’t quite go to plan she’d just bounce back up again and start all over again. I suspect they broke the mould and I won’t meet her like again. It was a privilege.
I was very saddened to learn that Deanna had passed away. When I first joined the MJA in the mid-90s, she was one of the friendliest and welcoming people I met at events. She was always cheerful and optimistic in her outlook, and an excellent journalist, one of the most multi-skilled, as a writer, reporter, editor and sub-editor. She was the launch editor of a number of publications over the years, and I recall her saying that she loved being a journalist, so she was one of the lucky few who earned a living doing something for which she had a passion. She also travelled a lot in her younger years and had a real curiosity about people and places. As Peter has pointed out, her contribution to the MJA over the years was very generous in terms of hours spent on the committee and in producing MJA print newsletters, and in helping and advising younger journalists. The last few times I saw Deanna, she wasn’t in very good health, but she still managed to be upbeat and smiling. A sad loss to her friends and family. RIP Deanna.
I have only just seen this news. Total shock. Deanna was the person I was most pleased to see at any MJA event. Clever, warm, fun and a complete pro. Always coming up with new ideas, always coping with some hopeless publisher or funding glitch, always committed to high standards, always generous, always absolutely herself despite any challenge. Our friendship was cemented when we found ourselves editing 2 rival magazines aimed at community nurses… we have joked about it ever since. I have known her for decades. She leaves a very big gap.
Such sad news. I first met Deanna back in the 80s when we were on the press conference and overseas trips circuit. I was always pleased to see Deanna’s name on the list when going on a trip. You knew there would be fun involved. Dare I say, I would often find myself on the back seat of a coach heading for some factory or research facility sharing a crafty fag with Deanna (and others I may add!). She was always full of life and optimism, despite, as some people have mentioned, things not always going well for her. She will be missed.
I too met Deanna in the 80s. In fact I indirectly employed her to launch a magazine for GPs’ waiting rooms. The theory (of my publisher) was that patients had nothing to do in a long wait but read. Half would later collect a prescription and then buy OTCs – from hot water bottles to Elastoplast- plugged in the mag. For many reasons, all beyond Deanna’s control, it never flew. She laughed it off and immediately found fresh employment A woman of indomitable spirit, great humour and sense of fun.
Very sad to hear of Deanna’s death. She was a character – even though she would deny this. She made MJA meetings interesting. Her and Philippa were always quite a double act. Rest in power Deanna.