RIP: The Rev. Edward T. Dell, Jr.

Posted Mar 8, 2013

Edward T. Dell, Jr. was born Feb. 12, 1923 in Atlanta, Georgia to Edward T. Dell, Sr. and Virginia Hopper Dell, the first of five children. Ed died of congestive heart failure on Feb. 25 in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

At the age of 13 in Miami, with the help of his father, he started a small printing business producing grocery store flyers and business cards. Together they built the lean-to onto the garage that housed the press, type and related accessories. When he went to college at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts, he fell in love with New England, spurring an abiding interest in U.S. colonial history that scrutinized Jefferson and celebrated Hamilton among others.

After graduating with bachelor’s degrees in history and theology, he chanced to attend an Episcopal church service at the Church of the Advent, which he said opened his eyes to a form of Christianity that delighted in the human spirit. It changed his life. He earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1955 from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was called to his first Episcopal church in Millis, eventually becoming the managing editor of the national publication The Episcopalian with the encouragement of editor-in-chief Henry McCorkle.

The magazine gave him the opportunity to travel to the Philippines, Japan, and Israel, and to join his mentors and dear friends (and C.S. Lewis scholars) Chad and Eva Walsh in England (with an extraordinary visit with C.S. Lewis himself). Ed’s thorough familiarity with the writings of Lewis allowed him to identify Lewis’s work under a pseudonym. This demonstration of scholarship prompted Lewis’s publishers to entrust Ed with the publishing rights to Lewis’s work for Seabury Press.

Ed’s love of technology and classical music led him to start the do-it-yourself magazine The Audio Amateur, for those who wanted to build or improve their own audio systems. He successfully grew the business to include Old Colony Sound Lab and other publications including Speaker Builder and Glass Audio. He sold the business, now AudioXpress, when he reached the “retirement age” of 88.

He was widely recognized for his business acumen and commitment to excellence, most recently as a recipient of the Legend of Business Award by the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. Ed believed in doing what you truly love, an excitement for exploring ideas, and a delight in whimsy which he instilled in his children, Chad (with Eleanor Novek of Neptune City NJ), Heather (Pat Langley of Athens IL) and Sara Dell (David Ijaz of Chicago IL) who will miss him.

Ed deeply enjoyed the friendship and fellowship of Community Suppers at All Saints’ Church; donations in lieu of flowers appreciated.

The memorial service will be held at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, March 9 at 11 a.m. with reception at 11:45 a.m. at Reynolds Hall at 51 Concord Street in Peterborough, New Hampshire.


Comments (4)

  1. Leonard Freeman says:

    Ed was a wonderful human being, editor and Christian, whom I got to know along the way when he helped me become the regular film critic for the Episcopalian shortly out of seminary. I had written a small piece on a John Wayne western, True Grit, for the parish newsletter where I was curate… sent a copy off to John Wayne and to the Episcopalian, and The Episcopalian, (Ed) wrote back… the start of a beautiful editorial friendship. We shared a love for “lager and limes” following up on a common anglophilia, and shared several amongst Philadelphia’s Chestnut Street emporia.
    Bless you Ed, may flights of angels indeed guide you in your rest. Much love.

  2. Pat (Smith) DesRoches says:

    Dear Chad, Heather and Sara,

    I knew your Dad and Mom when they lived in Millis; in fact I babysat for Heather and Chad while your Dad was the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. I send my sincere sympathy to you. I remember Rev. Dell as an engaging and very kind person; may he rest in peace.

    May God bless you during this most difficult time.

    1. Heather Dell says:

      Hi Pat,
      I know Mom has told me about you babysitting Chad and me! Wow! Thanks so much for your kind remembrance. Are you still in the Millis area? Chad is in NJ, and Sara and I are in IL. We get back to MA once a year or two.


      1. Pat Smith DesRoches says:

        Hello Heather,
        I just read your reply to my message of condolence. Your parents were the best; so kind and gracious. I had been in contact with your Dad, probably a couple of years before he died. I often have thought of you and Chad – you both were such beautiful children and so well behaved. I would love to contact your Mom but don’t know whether she would remember me nor do I have any information on where she may be living now. I remember that her family had a home on Oak Bluffs. I have not lived in Millis since my marriage in 1964. My husband and I live in Webster, MA and have 4 sons and 2 granddaughters. I would love to hear from you. Please say hello to your Mom and Chad for me. Pat

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