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Derrick Riches

Obituary: Donna Myers

By January 7, 2011

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If you've done anything in the Barbecue & Grilling industry in the past 35 years you have probably bumped into Donna Myers. As spokesperson for the Barbecue Industry Association (now merged into the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association) her name appeared in thousands of articles, in the dedications of dozens of books, and on hundreds of news programs. Donna knew almost everything and everyone in the backyard cooking industry. Her DHM Group, marketing company represented dozens of companies over the past 30 years and was instrument in creating the trade organizations that exist today.


I first met Donna 10 years ago when she contacted me as a member of the media about attending the HPBExpo, that year in Salt Lake City. What I quickly realized about this woman was the depth of her knowledge. When I referred to a company or a product she used the first names of the people behind them. If I asked her about the Brinkmann Company she talked about Baxter (as in Baxter Brinkmann). Over the last ten years Donna has been a wealth of information for me and anyone else writing about backyard cooking. Always willing to chat about whatever was going on in the industry, she proved to be an invaluable resource for me and my site, but was also a good friend who always seems genuinely happy to see me. When opportunity presented itself we would sit down for a meal or a couple of drinks and just shoot the breeze. From her I got an the back story of barbecue and grilling. Unfortunately I only had time to scratch the surface of her vast experience.

Donna had two passions, barbecue and pickles. Despite the fact that over her career she handled marketing for clients like Best Foods and Burger King, these two topics stuck with her, not because they were big ticket items, but because they were fun. She frequented festivals and events surrounding these foods. Though she had a keen business mind and almost limitless energy to pursue virtually anything , Donna wanted her work to be enjoyable. She strove to surround herself with people she actually liked and focused her time on subjects she liked. You could really tell that she was having fun in everything she did.

This morning I received word of Donna's passing after a short illness. While it comes as no surprise it is still a shock. She will be greatly missed for her humor, her knowledge, and her continual willingness to talk about the things she loved. No one will fill her shoes and barbecue has lost someone that can not be replaced.

Comments

January 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm
(1) Jodi says:

Thank you for this Derrick.

January 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm
(2) Bev Pagano says:

I met Donna several years ago thru her friend, Alyce.
Because of Donna and Alyce my husband and I are now
the proud owners of a Green Egg barbeque ensemble, and
my husband just loves it. Donna was a dear lady, fun
to go out with, and we know she shall be missed by her
family, and friends.

January 8, 2011 at 9:12 pm
(3) stephanie says:

Derrick,
Thank you. It is a very difficult time, and your words are so kind. It’s nice to see her remembered so publicly.
Stephanie

January 9, 2011 at 11:50 am
(4) Pattt says:

Derrick,

Thank you for the kind words for Donna, she truly valued you as a good friend .

She will be truly missed, she was not only my boss but a good friend!
Patty

January 10, 2011 at 10:02 am
(5) Chris Hartley says:

Well said, Derrick. I’m said to learn of her passing. Donna was indeed a wonderful lady.

January 11, 2011 at 10:56 am
(6) Donna Coulson says:

Derrick: Thank you for a lovely tribute to our NAWBO associate, Donna Myers. SHe was an inspiration and role model for us and we shall miss her.

There will be a memorial service at the Lutheran church in Holmdel, NJ on Tuesday, Jan 18th at 12 Noon if anyone wants to attend.

Donna Coulson

January 12, 2011 at 11:48 am
(7) Marlene Waldock says:

I had the privilege of serving with Donna when she was President of NJAWBO. What a delightful woman. She was a great leader and a very fun loving person. She will certainly be missed. Thank you for such an eloquent description of her accomplishments.

January 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm
(8) Bill W says:

Donna will be missed. She and I had many conversations about the grilling industry. She certainly understood more about the marketing of grills than most manufacturing execs.

January 12, 2011 at 9:41 pm
(9) Chuck Shabsove says:

I am very saddened to hear the news of Donna’s passing.
I learned a lot from her during several HPBA educational events and our email discussions.
The industry has certainly lost a very passionate “Foodie” and clever marketing mind.
My deepest sympathy to the family.
Chuck Shabsove

January 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm
(10) arlene christianson pickard says:

Donna and I were classmates at North Dakota State University and so had been acquainted since our late teens.

I will miss her distinctive voice, the handwritten notes she somehow found time to add to letters and her ability to analyze and “see around the corner.”

After more than 50 years of friendship, words fail me. What a loss for all of us. Thanks for the kind words Derrick.

January 18, 2011 at 8:35 pm
(11) Barbara Zaccone says:

Donna was an inspiration to all women business owner. I am so proud to have worked with her and call her my friend. Thank you for writing this article.

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