Writer’s note: today is 17 November, which would’ve been my father’s 94th birthday. So on this auspicious day, let’s look back on the man from hard-scrabble roots who made something of himself. What follows below is a long-form version of his obituary which ran both in The New York Times and Daily Progress.
Eugene “Gene” “Dean” “Packy” Perry Pollock (1929-2023) died peacefully in Charlottesville, Va. last month, with wife Mary W. Pollock by his side. In addition to Mary, Dean is survived by his two sons, Eugene E. and William, as well as four grandchildren: Racquel, Maximilian, Tony and Cameron Pollock. (View tribute reel)
Dean was born in a small Idaho town to Mormon parents, Viva and Rex Pollock, as the middle child between siblings Jaqueline “Jackie” and Duane Pollock, all of whom moved to Idaho from Salt Lake City during the Great Depression. Many in Dean’s family were housebuilders, foreman, geologists and miners, some of whom landed in the tiny, mining town of Page, Idaho, home of Page Silver Mine.
After Viva and child No. 4 both died during birth, Dean shuttled around various homes and ultimately landed in San Francisco, where he found odd jobs to support himself. But his time in Golden Gate City was cut short by service in the Korean War; Dean trained at Fort Bragg before being sent overseas to Japan, where he was stationed in Tokyo and Yokohama. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Corporal when his army unit was “mustered out” of service.
Dean’s next step in life after military service was New York City, where he started work at American Express on Wall Street. And later, upon learning of an opening at a television-merchandising company, Edward E. Finch & Co., he was hired on and became chief copywriter, responsible for product placement on such shows as Let’s Make a Deal, The Gong Show, What’s My Line and others. Dean worked directly with many familiar names, like Bill Cullen, Jane Mansfield, Monte Hall, Dorothy Kilgallen and others.
He was with the E.E. Finch & Co. for at least 15 years before transferring to work in the same position for Mike Camera at Producers Time for about 4 years before retiring from advertising.
Dean’s retirement would be short-lived, as he was soon tapped to become President, and later Chairman, of Sprigg Lane Corporation, a holding company for various family interests. He served in this position until retiring permanently in 2009.
In 1966 he married Mary Covington Weedon, and they lived happily in their Upper West Side brownstone for more than 20 years, raising their two sons, William and Luke, before moving to Charlottesville, Virginia in order to assist in caring for his elderly mother in law, Elizabeth Bayard Weedon, widow of University of Virginia Professor William Stone Weedon.
Dean died in the arms of his loving wife after 57 years of marriage on October 12 at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge at age 93.
Those wishing to make contributions in his name can send a gift to the charity of their own choice, or contribute directly to Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge at 250 Pantops Mountain Road Charlottesville, VA 22911. The Pollock family is grateful for the wonderful care given him by the staff of Westminster Canterbury’s Healthcare Unit. ❇️
Will Pollock is a perpetually crabby New York City escapee based in Midtown Atlanta. He’s a freelance multimedia journalist, media analyst and author of three books (award-winning Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), and his first children’s book, Gentle with Gertie.
In 2001, Will earned his Masters from The Medill School of Journalism, graduating with highest honors from the magazine sequence. As permanent member of Journalism’s National Honors Society, he’s been active in monitoring, writing and blogging about media and journalism ever since he graduated.
Obsessed with good storytelling and journalistic excellence, Will uses snark, humor and reason to distill dumb shit and make it fun. He’s a seeker/maker of non-consensus news, and helps you cure crankies by finding the nut in every story.
As for-profit media continues to fail us, it’s more important than ever to find reliable sources. Authentic storytelling exists—you just have to look for it. On this blog you’ll get ideas, not ideology. Sass with class. Reporting with rapport. Evidence with a touch of evil. You get the idea.
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