Wick Allison, TAC’s former board chairman and president, passed away on Tuesday, surrounded by his family, in an upstate New York venue where he was engaging in the fly-fishing he loved. Wick had battled with bladder cancer for a decade, and only recently did illness divert him from a leadership role at TAC, a duty Wick pursued while leading D Magazine and Coalition for a New Dallas.
It is safe to say that TAC would not exist today without Wick Allison. Encouraged by one of his daughters, who was a TNR staffer and TAC reader, Wick came to our rescue when the 2008 recession had wrecked the plans that our former publisher Ron Unz had hoped to carry out. Wick was everything TAC needed: a figure with substantial ties to the mainstream conservative movement (he had been the publisher of National Review), a man with deep experience, as the founder of D Magazine, whose building dominates the Dallas skyline, in commercial magazine publishing. His coming on board was a critical affirmation from the heart of the conservative movement that TAC had essentially been correct in its categorical rejection of the Iraq war and various neoconservative projects to remake the Middle East through armed invasion. He was able to bring on board critical new writers (Rod Dreher gives an account of his hiring here); he helped reshape our board of directors, getting through to people who had managed to evade previous overtures. He had a quality of being difficult to say no to. And of course he brought a wealth of experience, contacts, and energy, enough to propel the magazine several steps forward from what was then still a barebones operation to an organization with a now significant footprint in the conservative movement and the American world of ideas.
Wick will be missed deeply by those of us who knew him TAC, and surely by his lovely family, several members of whom I know. He has a special needs daughter whom he cherished, and has shared with me profound sentiments (as I have a similar granddaughter) about the blessings and trials. I am enormously thankful that Wick entered the TAC universe, sorry that he is gone so soon.