Bits and Pieces: DeWese Passing Leaves Sadness

Harris DeWese

The 2014 firefighter calendar was printed by AC Graphics of Hileah, FL.

Though in fact I only knew Harris DeWese for about 15 years, it felt as if I’d known him all my life.

Plain speaking and easy going, a half-hour phone call from Harris would seem to last just a few minutes. He loved the printing industry and enjoyed talking about mergers and acquisitions. The stories were legendary, the type of stuff that can’t be shared with a trade pub audience. Endlessly fascinating. He attached personalities to the names and faces that dominated the M&A landscape. I was fortunate to be provided such insight.

In 2007, on the day my novel, “Gross Misconduct,” hit the streets, Harris bought a copy online within the first hour of its availability. Being a long and short form writer, he appreciated the work that went into a 150,000-word epic. I had worked with him to assemble his compilation of PI columns and repurpose them into book form. He shared some of his fiction writing with me. If you thought his “DeWese on Sales” column was a bit out there, you have noooo idea. Harris certainly had a vivid imagination. That’s for sure.

We lost Harris in October, only days before the Red Sox won the World Series. Hate that he missed the clincher; while Harris was a Braves fan, he loved baseball in general and had spent many a year coaching on the semi-pro circuit.

He’d endured a number of health issues in recent years. He also suffered through some legal issues late in life, many stemming from what proved to be an ill-fated decision to purchase Hillsboro Printing of Tampa, FL, in 2005. Harris did his best to keep the company afloat and the workers employed but, in the process of doing so, made choices that only compounded those troubles. Cutting bait on Hillsboro would’ve been the prudent move, but Harris loved to come to the rescue. In trying to save others, he got pulled under himself.

I’m not trying to portray the man as a saint…he wasn’t…but he was a good person. I believe that in my heart. But his growing health issues prevented him from following through on some promises. Some of the mistakes were costly. Now, the fear is that he’ll be remembered for the final chapter of his life rather than what he’d accomplished up to that point.

Near the end, after he’d given up his column that appeared in PI for more than 25 years, I lost touch with Harris. I have no information about the circumstances he faced, only murmurs and tidbits. The man himself spent the final months with his beloved Anne, his wife of 51 years, and his family.

Someone smarter than I would write about the depths of the human soul and how we all stack up when viewed through Johari’s window; those known and unknown elements. I just wish I’d had one more opportunity to BS with him about those bearded Bosox and get his opinion on the RRD-CGX marriage. The Mañana Man would have had fun discussing those topics.

You see, for me, it’s not questions that remain. Only sadness.

Calendar Boys: Demonstrating that we are an equal-opportunity magazine, we are promoting this calendar depicting South Florida firefighters in attire that would not pass anyone’s safety standards. The 2014 calendar was printed by AC Graphics of Hileah, FL. Umm…look at the picture for more information.

The calendar ( has raised nearly a quarter million dollars to date, money that helps support charities including the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities and Habitat for Humanity’s Hurricane Andrew Fund. Donations can also be made via the Website.

As to the content of the calendars…hey, it’s for charity and we’re always looking to promote printers that have a hand in such work. Kudos to the gang at AC Graphics.

Burn, baby burn: Attaching clothes pins to your face…stuffing cue balls in your mouth…longest fingernails…biggest cheeseburger. There is a wealth of possibilities when it comes to performing feats that would earn one’s way into the “Guinness Book of World Records.” And, setting yourself on fire should not be one of them.

Don’t tell that to the folks at Hotcards. The Cleveland-based printing and design company’s CEO, John Gadd, organized the Oct. 19 event that saw 21 individuals of suspect judgment break the Guinness World Record for “most people performing full-body burns.” The record-breaking spectacle took place in Cleveland’s Flats district, in the parking lot of Shooters. Both Hotcards and Shooters were among the sponsors of the event, which consisted of 21 “burners” (including Gadd) and their igniter partners.

This ode to youthful insanity raised $10,000 for a pair of local charities—the Cleveland Foodbank and the Brick by Brick organization, operated by minister Mark Simone, another one of the burners. And it’s not every day that one can refer to a minister as a “burner” and not get heat for it. Sorry…just trying to uphold the theme. PI

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