Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Robert Fitzhenry passes

by Rob - January 7th, 2008.
Filed under: Deaths.

My Robert J. Sawyer Books imprint is published by Red Deer Press, which, in turn, is owned by Fitzhenry and Whiteside, a long-established, mid-sized Canadian publisher, run by Sharon Fitzhenry, daughter of co-founder Robert I. Fitzhenry.

Sharon’s dad just passed away. There would be no Robert J. Sawyer Books — and a lot less Canadian publishing in general — if it hadn’t been for him, and he will be missed. The Globe and Mail ran this brief obituary, with the promise that a full one is forthcoming:

Toronto — American by birth but Canadian by choice, publisher Robert Fitzhenry died at home in his sleep on Thursday, Jan. 3. He was 89.

A wordsmith and an entrepreneur, he moved across the border in 1966 and co-founded Fitzhenry & Whiteside, a significant distribution company that represented Harper & Row (now part of HarperCollins) and other American houses, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. Mr. Fitzhenry published a number of Canadian reference books, including the Funk & Wagnalls Canadian College Dictionary and the Fitzhenry & Whiteside Thesaurus, Book of Quotations, Book of Canadian Facts and Dates and Trees in Canada.

He had been in ill health since suffering the first of two serious strokes in 1995. Predeceased by wife Hilda and daughter Bridget, he is survived by daughters Sharon and Hollister Doll (Holly) and three grandchildren. There will be a private family funeral followed by a public memorial service at a later date.

As another science-fictional connection, it should be noted that Fitzhenry & Whiteside used to be the Canadian distributor of Ace Books.

Rest in peace, Mr. Fitzhenry.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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