Remembering Dann Maurno
I have the sad duty to report that Dann Anthony Maurno, our assistant editor, has died after a three and a half year battle with cancer. He was 54.
Dann was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) over three years ago, right around the time he began working with our team. But in the years since, I doubt anyone he worked with here, whether professional journalists or expert contributors, knew the extent of his illness or how persistent his fight was.
Dann's family has posted his obituary, and it speaks in a much more complete way than I ever could about the type of person he was - determined, thoughtful, spiritual, playful, sincere. He was an actor, a writer in many other venues, a leather crafter (I just learned), and a humanitarian. Dann's work with MSDW was just a small fraction of his life, of course, but so many of the same traits were evident to me.
Before joining me on the editorial team, Dann had already earned his enterprise software and supply chain bona fides. He had worked extensively both on the vendor side and the media side of this industry. He had seen software and media companies come and go - bought, sold, opened, and shuttered.
Dann shared many of my own views on the enterprise software market, including an appreciation for genuine customer successes, excitement over shiny new tech, and a healthy skepticism for overly enthusiastic press releases. He also had a deep respect for the expertise of others, and he cultivated relationships with the utmost care.
Any writers who have contributed to MSDW in the last few years know that Dann had a great eye for improving a piece of writing. He was quick to offer constructive suggestions and lots of positive feedback. He also had a knack for coaxing new articles out of busy Dynamics professionals. His enthusiasm for the job has unquestionably raised the quality of our publication. He helped us reach many more people and he pushed me to do more and think more broadly than I would have on my own.
Dann spoke little of his health except when it was going to interfere with his writing and editing duties. It almost never did, as he wrote and edited articles at an impressive rate. And, his wife told me recently, visits to the hospital didn't even stop him. If you received a call or email from Dann in the last couple years, it's entirely possible it was sent in the midst of a treatment or doctor's visit.
As Dann's health took a turn for the worse in recent weeks, he assured me that his efforts for our publication, which he continued far longer than I expected, was a positive force rather than a burden. It's a perspective that can be so easily lost with those of us enjoying good health and good fortune today.
Another important writing outlet of Dann's in recent years, which I also just learned of, was his post-diagnosis blog, God, Grits, and Chemo. It's a bit of a jolt to read it only after learning of his death, but it also reads as an inspiring gift left to the rest of us. In one of the later posts, as he looked back at surviving more than a thousand days with AML, he wrote:
I expect many more days, months, years, because there are so many behind me; each day is a promise, God telling me "My will is that you remain where you are."
I'm sorry to have to deliver this news to our readers and our contributors who knew Dann, since it probably comes as such a surprise. But if nothing else, this sad moment is also a reminder of what each day really looks like, and for most of us, there is still a lot of good work to do.