Monday, December 11, 2017

Remembering Rozanne Epps (1922-2008)

Photo from STYLE Weekly
Note: The remembrance below was originally posted here on SLANTblog nine years ago (Nov. 20, 2008), shortly after the death of Rozanne Epps (pictured right). 

After watching the excellent new HBO documentary, "The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee," I had a telephone conversation in which I rambled onto citing the importance of having good editors (in the old days), and now ... which eventually led to mentioning Rozanne as an example of a skilled editor that I loved working with. So I decided to re-post this brief tribute to a person who deserves to be remembered well.   
Rozanne Epps led a full life before she died at the age of 86 on Sunday. For over 20 years she worked at STYLE Weekly, going back to the days when Lorna Wyckoff was still its publisher. I knew of her long before her days at STYLE, because of her noteworthy career at VCU. (Click here for background in the STYLE obituary.) And, I knew her as Garrett Epps' mother. I knew him only casually when he was a member of the staff at the Richmond Mercury, along with Frank Rich, Harry Stein, Glenn Frankel and others in the early-70s.
But my only real association with her began in 1999, when she accepted one piece I submitted to STYLE and sent me to Richmond.com with the other. The one that ran as a Back Page piece was about baseball. The one that began my relationship with Richmond.com was about the closing of the Texas Wisconsin Border Cafe.

Over the years since, STYLE, and especially Richmond.com, have published a lot of my work. So, I'm grateful to her for that good turn. However, what I got from her as an editor is why I'm writing this remembrance. Rozanne taught me to be a better writer. She did that with good humor and fairness. It was always fun to exchange emails and talk on the telephone with her.

So, to those who knew her far better than I did, yes, we are all lucky we knew Rozanne Epps.

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