We recently learned of the passing of former UW Press Associate Director Ezra (“Sam”) Diman IV. Sam retired in 1995, after roughly thirty-five years on staff. Following time in the U.S. Armed Services and a brief stint working in publishing in Louisiana, Sam was hired into an entry-level job by then director Thompson Webb. He spent the next several decades working in progressively senior positions at the Press, serving as production manager and eventually associate director.
Sam was particularly fond of the outdoors, and his broad knowledge of natural history served him (and UW Press) well; he was particularly proud of his work on such books as Mammals of Wisconsin (1961), Trout Stream Therapy (1993), and Crunching Gravel (1993), as well as Stanley Temple’s Bird Conservation series (1980s). He even appeared in the book Gone Fishin’. Former colleagues remember that he handled contracts and business and financial decisions; was a great advocate for the Press, on campus and off; and provided generous mentorship and friendship to his colleagues. He was also very involved in the AUPresses (then AAUP) community. Fluent in German and Spanish and literate in French, he is remembered as a broad-minded thinker.
“He was from another age in all the best ways and very forward thinking in other ways,” said John Motoviloff, a UW Press author, employee from 1992 to 2000, and R3 Coordinator for the National Wild Turkey Federation. “Sam was a gentleman of the old school. As comfortable in the company of deans and regents as he was on a duck marsh or trout stream, he knew both a life of the mind and how to work with his hands. He served the Press with dignity for more than three decades. Dry wit, an affable nature, and a firm handshake were just a few of his trademarks. He will be missed by all those who knew him, and would be missed by those who did not have that good fortune.”
Following his retirement, Sam fulfilled his long-held dream of building a house in the Driftless region, married Perry L. Nesbitt, and spent countless hours outdoors. His full obituary can be found here.