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Wick Allison, Publisher Who Launched D Magazine, Dies At 72

Portrait of Wick Allison
Natalie Goff
Courtesy of D Magazine
Wick Allison

Allison, a fifth-generation Texan born and raised in Dallas, founded D Magazine in 1974. He died Tuesday from bladder cancer.

Wick Allison, who started D Magazine nearly five decades ago, died Tuesday night after a lengthy battle with bladder cancer.

Allison died in upstate New York in the Catskill Mountains, surrounded by his wife and four daughters, according to a tribute written by D Magazine editor Tim Rogers. That was where Allison would spend summers fly fishing.

"The D family lost our founder and father figure," Rogers wrote. "Every fall the D Magazine staff would dread Wick's return from New York. Fly fishing, rather than distract him from the magazine, only filled him with bigger and more impossible ideas that needed execution, preferably by yesterday. This year we get a break. With a deep sigh and tears, we will take it."

Allison attended the University of Texas at Austin where he edited the student magazine. He dropped out of SMU's Cox School of Business to devise a plan for D Magazine with his friend Jim Atkinson. They launched the publication in the fall of 1974. At the time, there were only four other big-city magazines in the country, according to Allison's bio.

Atkinson, who was the founding editor of the magazine and also worked on KERA's program Newsroom, wrote in 2004: "We certainly were a serious bunch for a group of 25-year-olds. That first issue alone took on the questions of who really runs the city and whether private schools are best for your children — this from some kids who'd just figured out how to pay their taxes."

Allison sold and left the magazine in 1981. He moved to New York, where he continued working in publishing, including becoming publisher of National Review. He returned to Dallas and D Magazine in 1995.

Rogers, his colleague, said Allison's decision to publish D Magazine has had an impact on the city of Dallas.

"Every American city needs a magazine that moves at a slower, more thoughtful pace and steers the conversation and makes you laugh and think like only a magazine can," Rogers said. "I don't think we'd be talking about tearing down I-345 without D Magazine and Wick did all that.

Rogers was referring to Allison's most recent involvement in urban planning issues. Allison co-founded the Coalition for a New Dallas, which calls for tearing down Interstate 345 in Dallas and build a mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhood in its place.

In his tribute of Allison, Rogers wrote: "Over the last decade of his career, Wick spent more time with maps than he did manuscripts ... he focused on bringing the city into the 21st century in terms of urban planning and transportation."

Rogers says there are no funeral plans right now, but that the family asks that any donations be made in Wick's name to the St. Vincent de Paul Society at Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Stella M. Chávez at You can follow Stella on Twitter at @stellamchavez.

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