Monday, April 19, 2010
The Christian publishing community has lost a dear servant this past weekend. Dan Penwell passed away at his home Sunday morning at the age of 68, after a long, courageous battle with cancer and other illnesses.
In an illustrious career spanning four decades, Dan served the Christian publishing industry in sales, marketing, acquisitions, and editorial production. Most recently he served as Director of New Products and Acquisitions at AMG Publishers in Chattanooga, Tennessee. During the eight years Dan was editorial director at AMG, the company saw it’s annual production increase to over thirty new titles.
After graduating from Great Lakes Christian College in 1964, Dan married his college sweetheart, Gloria, and went on to get his seminary degree at Lincoln Christian Seminary. His Christian retail career took off while working for Family Christian Stores, where he managed a Family bookstore from 1972–1978. He continued to work for Family as Director of Marketing and Purchasing from 1978–1989.
Dan’s career took a different turn when he accepted the position of Manager of Product Development/Acquisitions for World Bible Publishers (1989–1996). His stint with World led him to a similar position with Hendrickson Publishers (CBD), where he served from 1996–2001.
While at Hendrickson and later at AMG Publishers, Dan became a popular Christian writers conference teacher and mentor. More than half of the people he signed to author agreements during this time came as a result of contacts made at these conferences. Dan never seemed to grow weary of one-on-one appointments with prospective authors and had a remarkable reputation for providing encouragement and help for literally thousands of writers he met all across America—even writers he ultimately turned down. It has been said countless times that no one ever wrote a friendlier and more encouraging rejection letter than Dan Penwell.
While finishing his final year at Hendrickson, Dan was diagnosed with prostate cancer. For nearly a decade, he pressed on in spite of his health struggles. In 2001, Dan joined the team at AMG Publishers at the request of long-time friend and industry colleague, Dale Anderson, AMG’s executive publisher. His veteran leadership provided a welcome and immediate impact upon AMG, as he managed the production of thirty to forty titles a year and traveled to numerous conferences and trade shows. In July 2005, Dan was honored with the Advance Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) Golden Scroll Award as the Editor of the Year. As 2008 came to a close, Dan announced he was entering semi-retirement. Throughout 2009, in spite of numerous hospitalizations, Dan continued to assist AMG with editorial production while working from home. Also in 2009, CLASSeminars honored Dan for the many years he invested in the lives of aspiring authors by announcing that a full tuition scholarship fund would be established in his name. The Dan Penwell Scholarship is awarded annually to three worthy recipients and pays all or part of their fees to attend the CLASS Christian Writers Conference in New Mexico.
Dan has authored a number of books, including: 101 Things to Do in the Year 2000 (Honor Books), Bible Brain Quest (Workman Publishing), and he co-compiled the massive AMG’s Handi-Reference World Religions encyclopedia.
Dan leaves behind a dear wife of forty-six years, Gloria, and a loving family. He also leaves behind a legacy that will live on in the countless number of lives he touched throughout his storied career in Christian publishing. Dan had a heart for furthering God’s kingdom, and his impact on others will be felt for generations to come.
Visitation will be held Wednesday, April 21, at the McKinley Funeral Home in Grant, Michigan (http://www.mckinleyfuneral.com/) on Wednesday from 2-4 and 7-9. The funeral will be held at 11 AM at the Kent City Baptist Church in Kent City, MI. The family has suggested that donations be made in Dan’s memory to the Dan Penwell Scholarship Fund. The Dan Penwell Scholarship is administered by CLASSEMINARS, Incorporated, and it offers financial assistance for selected writers to attend the annual CLASS Christian Writers Conference. Donations can be made by check or credit card and can be sent to CLASSEMINARS, Incorporated, PO Box 36551, Albuquerque, NM 87176. Donations need to be earmarked for the Dan Penwell Scholarship Fund in the memo line of the contribution. CLASSEMINARS is not set up to take donations via the internet but would be happy to take information over the phone (702 882-0638). Also donation information can be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org