Remembering Steve Block, a Legend in Print Sales

Steve Block

Some print reps cast large shadows as they build relationships with customers over many years. Steve Block was that kind of print salesman. I was so lucky to have known him for many years, and so it was doubly sad to hear of his sudden passing right before New Year’s.

Steve was well known throughout greater Boston and made friends in this industry that lasted for a lifetime. When he passed away, his daughter Lori (also in the field) asked me to write something about Steve and share it with people in the industry. Today, I am sharing it with you. This is for Steve.


There are many ways to measure a person’s life. Some say it’s the wealth and material possessions you amass. Others measure a life by awards earned or career achievements. But for the family of one particular Brookline, MA, man, his life could be measured by the outpouring of love from hundreds of friends far and wide when he died suddenly on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011, at the age of 70.

Steve Block devoted his life to his family, and his career to printing. With a career spanning more than 40 years in greater Boston’s print and design industry, he was a much-beloved gentleman—and quite a character— who will be greatly missed.

After earning his design degree from the New England School of Art in the ’60s, Steve followed a path that led to print sales and graphic design, and never looked back. He was successful at selling print because he took it personally; that is, he was by nature warm, friendly and funny. He had to make friends with people upon whom he called. It was Steve’s routine to call up prospects and customers and just chat. Making a sale wasn’t the key motivator; making friends was.

Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched her new business in 2013 as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. Now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content.

You may know Margie as the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference. Although she’s exited the event production business, she’s still publishing her Print Tips newsletter. She looks forward to helping companies create and style all of their content so their potential customers sit up and take notice. For details and to sign up for her Print Tips and new marketing blog, visit or e-mail Margie at
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  • Ken

    Margie, what a wonderful story and yes Steve had friends all over including many of my friends that I work with in Atlanta. They would hear me talk to and about Steve as the guy I never met although we talked on the phone everyday.

    Ken Bradley
    Atlanta, GA.

  • aspireforbill

    I am so sad to hear of Steve’s passing, Margie. You nailed when you said he was a character! Steve would often mail me the responses he received from his Bla Bla letter. You simply could not ignore him. His charisma was legendary and that positive attitude flowed right through the phone. I often hear the question, "Are good sales people born or made?" Steve was born to be in Sales, but he made the most of it with his creativity, zeal, and love of life. His unique approach will be missed.

  • Larry Williams

    Thanks for sharing Margie- though I never met Steve, I hope to emulate both the way he handled business and the way he lived life.

  • NJprintguy

    I’m with Larry. I love this industry because it is full of guys like Steve Block. It’s a shame that we never met but after reading this, I feel like I had. Thanks for writing this column Margie and letting the entire industry know about one of the industry greats.

  • Gordon Nash

    Steve and I spoke on a regular basis. We worked together at Bay State Press during the 90’s. I loved his Jokes and stories. We had a lot in common…. Especially Bagels. Once you know Steve your a "Steve Lifer" We called each other on a regular basis for the last 12 years or so. I miss his smile & laugh already,….

  • Mike Shields

    Just found this …
    Thanks Very Much for writing a Great Story on the Life of Steve Block.
    I Worked with him and Like others that knew him Decades later when you saw him he was thankfully the same person he always was..Interested in your Life If you were Happy and then we talked print. They broke the mold when they made Steve SAd that he’s gone But Dam GLad I knew him. Mike Shields 10/9/12

  • Jim

    Do you know if Steve indulged in painting watercolors of Boston scenes? I have a watercolor painted about 1960 of the old “T Wharf” and the Blue Ship Tea Room that is signed Steve Block.I am trying to find out who the artist is. Can you help?
    Many thanks,
    Jim Morell in Cathedral City, CA