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Recipient of the 2007 Russell L. Paxton Award

Dean Rea

From the October 2007 issue of The Fossil


Guy Miller

David Tribby and Dean Rea, two devoted activists of our ajay family, were presented awards by the Fossils at the 71st Convention of AAPA held in Portland, OR August 17-21.


In an article for The Fossil (January 1980) entitled "The 250th Issue of AAJ," David related his efforts in attempting to do a follow-up to Fossil Leland Hawes's exhaustive history of the first 25 years of AAPA, "The Stronghold of Youth," which appeared in The Fossil of July 1961. In the process of reviewing David's piece, the writer recalled that it was in Lee's history that he had first read about an up and coming AAPA member by the name of Dean Rea. Thanks to David, that is where this account begins with an individual who was honored with the Russell L. Paxton Memorial Award for Service to Amateur Journalism.

First, though, to refresh your memories about the Award: during the 1986-87 administration of J. Ed Newman, this hobby-wide award was instituted by an anonymous donor known only to the president but since identified as Fossil John Horn. Russ, the first recipient, received the award at his home in Salem VA in 1986. Since then, in addition to Russ's award, the plaque had been presented to 17 ajays representing all the major ajay groups: AAPA, NAPA, UAPA, and UAPAA. Dean Rea, then, is the 18th. Not strictly a Fossil Award, we are, however, honored to have been asked by John Horn to arrange for the selection and presentation of the plaque on his behalf. Asked for guidance in determining the acceptable candidate, John writes: "As an example of `service to amateur journalism,' one need only look at Russ Paxton. The recipient should be a person who has given freely of his or her time and effort solely for the benefit of their fellow amateur journalists."

We first remember Dean from that Hawes-authored tome which refers to his activity at several points. Dean had joined AAPA in August 1942 (a runaway from the "gray-bearded" NAPA), a few months after fellow Missourian Les Boyer, and, in fact, in 1944 was co-editor with Les of the publication The Missourian. Lee notes, also, that around that time Dean was publishing The Monthly Herald. Of course, today, we look forward to receiving his hand-set letterpressed masterpiece Oregun (latest, No. 52, Summer 2007) and his duplicated delight On the Oregon Trail. Anyway, what particularly attracted our attention in "The Stronghold of Youth" is Lee's account of the lively 1960 convention in Brooklyn. This writer was a visitor to that affair, but doesn't remember the rounds of conversation. They involved what became the organization of the "Silver Spur" initiative aimed to bolster membership by urging the reinstatement of the "old timers." Dean Rea was one among the "Silver Spur" group which proved to be highly successful. Dean has continued to be successful in his quest for recruiting, his latest ventures in and around Oregon where at present he is the inspiration of an active club of Oregonians.

Of course, Dean held various offices in AAPA, including Official Editor and several rounds as president (first, in 1965-66). In 1995, Dean hosted a robust convention in Eugene, OR and was highly visible at the recent meet in Portland. We remember that at Eugene, Dean—himself not a Fossil—made all the arrangements for the Fossils' annual luncheon which had been scheduled for that convention. We know that the spirit of Russ Paxton smiled down on the Portland assemblage as Lee Hawes presented Dean the Paxton Award.