IN A COUPLE OF MONTHS, we’ll be observing the thirty-fifth anniversary of TEXAS FISH & GAME, and in this space will probably reflect on some of the many highlights and milestones from our history. We will also pay tribute to some of the people who made this three-and-a-half decade journey possible.
Sadly, we are compelled to pay tribute now to one of those people.
Dan Alvey, one of the founders of TEXAS FISH & GAME, passed away in December. Dan was only 67 and his death was a shock to all of his friends, family and associates. He died in a Tacoma, Washington hospital after a month-long struggle with injuries and complications suffered in an accident on the charter fishing boat he and his son operated in the Pacific Northwest.
While Dan’s involvement with the magazine ended just a couple of years after its creation, there is no doubt that TEXAS FISH & GAME would not exist without him.
We’ve told our story a number of times before, usually while observing anniversaries, and we have tried to give Dan the credit due him for his role in creating TF&G. But under these sad circumstances, his contributions warrant repeating.
In 1984, when the first issue of FISH & GAME rolled off the presses in Marble Falls, those presses were owned by Highland Publishing Company. Dan was the president of Highland Publishing, which also operated the Highlander Newspaper and a separate graphics company. At the time, we were primarily engaged running the newspaper, Roy as Highlander publisher and Ardia as its sales director. We all participated in the evolution of FISH & GAME from a quarterly Highlander insert into a stand-alone monthly publication. But Dan took the leading role in TF&G’s early development. He and founding editor Marvin Spivey were responsible for FISH & GAME’S original content strategy, and our “Just About Texas” editorial directive. Much of what still defines TF&G’s unique editorial character was there in the early issues under Dan’s guidance.
Alvey was a marketing and entrepreneurial genius. When we decided to launch FISH & GAME as a statewide magazine, his innovative thinking was instrumental in springboarding the magazine virtually from zero to tens of thousands of paying subscribers.
Dan’s entrepreneurial spark soon inspired him to break free and in 1986 he left the Highland Publishing Company and he and his wife, Lee, started their own commercial printing company in Marble Falls. A couple of years later, Dan sold that company and started a weekly newspaper, The Picayune. By this time, The Highlander had been sold and we had moved TEXAS FISH & GAME to San Antonio.
His newspaper was a success and he and Lee doubled down on their bet by starting a second local paper, a daily called The Tribune. Then, they purchased a local radio station in the Marble Falls/Horseshoe Bay area. Success continued, and they soon were publishing phone directories and tourism guides, including thriving publications in Corpus Christi. At the time of his death, Alvey was working on ambitious plans to build his directories and guides into digital platforms.
At a time when all publishers, TF&G included, are facing unprecedented existential challenges, Dan’s inspired voice of creative enthusiasm and innovative thinking will be missed. Even more, his engaging spirit, unwavering faith and infectious sense of humor will be missed by all who knew him.