Andrew Meacham, Times Staff Writer

Andrew Meacham

Andrew Meacham is the chief Epilogue writer for the Tampa Bay Times, writing obituaries about people from all walks of life. His subjects can be rich or poor, with lengthy or plain resumes. The premise behind the Epilogue is everyone has a story.

Andrew was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., and has lived in St. Petersburg most of his life. He worked eight years in construction, then spent six years as an associate editor at Health Communications, a self-help book publisher. He has an undergraduate degree from Eckerd College and a master's in journalism from University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

He is the author of Selling Serenity (Upton Books, 1999). Andrew has been on its staff since 2005. Two of his stories — on the "sexting"-related suicide of a 13-year-old girl and a dishwasher's hit-and-run death — each won awards from the Society of Professional Obituary Writers. He also received a best-body-of-work award in 2010. In 2012 Andrew became president of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers, which covers North America.

Phone: (727) 892-2248


  1. Gulfport's Blueberry Patch founder Dallas Bohrer dies at 81


    GULFPORT — The celebrants trekked in a half-hour before sunset. Some carried coolers; a few had bug spray.

    They entered a deep back yard strewn with kitsch and clutter, found art and discarded objects that might be made into art, strings of colored lights between trees and hints of 1970s nostalgia.

    Regulars call the Blueberry Patch "Florida's oldest surviving artists retreat." The sight can overwhelm new visitors, who describe it in the group's literature as "Alice in Wonderland meets Tim Leary," or "like being inside of a Christmas tree looking out."...

    Dallas Laverne Bohrer
  2. Arque Dickerson, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, dies at 91


    ST. PETERSBURG — Arque Dickerson enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1942. A year later he officially joined the ranks of the Tuskegee Airmen.

    He considered it one of the proudest moments of his life.

    The Airmen included more than 16,000 men and women whose efforts supported nearly 1,000 African-American fighter pilots, together making up the "Tuskegee Experience." Mr. Dickerson tried his hand at flying and was rated a good fighter pilot. Though he never saw combat, he went on to train other military pilots....

    Arque Dickerson went on to a career in industrial design specializing in aircraft interiors. [Times files (1995)]
  3. Linda McPheron, who left a mark on high school IB programs, dies at 67


    ST. PETERSBURG — Between classes, this was a common sight: a woman just over 5 feet tall, wearing top-of-the-line suits and matching jewelry, running down the halls of St. Petersburg High in expensive heels.

    Linda McPheron, the school's assistant principal and coordinator of its International Baccalaureate program, needed to get out in front of something, fix some problem. Dr. McPheron was good at this, tightening and boosting Florida's first IB program in a dozen years....

    Dr. Linda McPheron
  4. Former St. Petersburg City Council member Martha Maddux dies at 66


    ST. PETERSBURG — In winning two elections to the City Council and her public life before and after, Martha Maddux never put in a lackluster performance.

    Mrs. Maddux, a teacher with an extensive record of civic involvement before joining the council in 1983, had always been known for a feisty yet compassionate demeanor, the ability to take nuanced positions and her command of the facts....

    Martha Maddux served six years on the St. Petersburg City Council.
  5. CDC report lauds Florida for crackdown on 'pill mills'

    Human Interest

    A federal report released Tuesday says Florida became the first state to make a significant dent in prescription drug overdose deaths when it cracked down on pill mills and shady doctors four years ago.

    A report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a 23 percent reduction in prescription drug deaths in Florida from 2010 to 2012.

    In the years prior, Florida was considered the nation's medicine cabinet because pill mills ran rampant and people from out of state drove here to load up their cars with pills. In addition, people were fatally overdosing at an alarming rate — at one point at least seven people a day were dying....

    Federal agents and Tampa Police officers raid a pain-management clinic as part of a crackdown on pill mills dispensing pain medication to addicts. [Times (2010)]
  6. Lawyer Jan Press, known for defending clients and a healthy lifestyle, dies at 59


    PALM HARBOR — A couple of months ago, Jan Press was sprinting after a Frisbee in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. He didn't see the 4-year-old child blithely step in front of him until it was almost too late.

    A lawyer with a solo practice, Mr. Press went after everything the way he went after that Frisbee. All out, as if the stakes were life or death, because for some of his clients they were....

    Jan Press’ death shocked those who knew him as dedicated to fitness and a healthy diet.
  7. Despite her death at 88, Janet Weed remembered as a survivor


    In mid August 2004, Hurricane Charley was biting into the homes of Charlotte County like a giant can opener, ripping open everything it touched with winds of 150 mph.

    Janet Weed was a 78-year-old widow living in Port Charlotte. During the last phone call to get through, she calmly told a family member, "I'm stepping into the hall closet because the roof's coming off the house."

    Not much could shake Mrs. Weed, her family said, if only because she had already endured so much....

    Janet Lynch Weed
  8. Pat Seidenspinner, St. Petersburg Yacht Club's first female commodore, dies at 82


    ST. PETERSBURG — Pat Seidenspinner made sailing look easy, if only because she had worked so hard at it for so long.

    We're not talking about taking a sloop out for a jog around Tampa Bay. For more than two decades, Mrs. Seidenspinner organized regattas on all levels of complexity, all the way to the Olympics. In 2000, her first year as commodore of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, she brought the best female sailors in the world to Tampa Bay....

    Pat Seidenspinner was the first woman certified as an international race manager by the International Sailing Federation. 
  9. Prominent Pinellas lawyer Robert Tankel charged with molestation


    For years, Robert Leon Tankel has been known as one of the most aggressive lawyers representing homeowners associations. Ownership groups had no stronger ally. Those who fell behind on their homeowner's maintenance fees or assessments had no stronger foe.

    On Tuesday afternoon, authorities delivered Tankel to a new home, at least for the moment — the Pinellas County Jail.

    BACKSTORY: Pinellas lawyer takes foreclosure fight to ethical edge, experts say

    Robert Tankel, 57, faces a charge of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child.
  10. Spokesman Len Ciecieznski, the 'voice of Pinellas County,' dies at 64


    CLEARWATER — If you own a television and have called Pinellas County home for at least a year, you have probably seen Len Ciecieznski on the county's public access channel. He was the smooth-voiced narrator hosting shows like Inside Pinellas, which informed viewers on safety, transportation and the environment; deconstructed property taxes and EMS funding; or put out shorter clips on volunteer programs or honors for county workers with a professional's touch....

    Len Ciecieznski had worked in advertising before joining Pinellas County government. 
  11. Impresario Gene Slott turned ideas into plays and movies


    He approached strangers with right arm outstretched, already making an impression from the good shoes to the pocket handkerchief to the presumptive smile.

    "Hi, I'm Gene Slott."

    First impressions counted, especially in each of his careers. At various turns, Mr. Slott performed standup comedy, headed a public relations firm, sold insurance and guided businesses through mergers and acquisitions....

    handout for epilogue061214 Gene Slott
  12. Drowning victim loved the sea and the dog he tried to save

    Human Interest

    LARGO — Sam Rizkallah and his four-footed first mate enjoyed the most active kind of bond. Man and dog were more than companions; they were best friends.

    On Tuesday that bond cost Rizkallah, 58, his life.

    You can't overstate the joy that the self-employed laundry operator took in piloting his 27-foot boat on the shimmering waters of the Gulf of Mexico on weekends, Oliver, his 4-year-old boxer, sniffing the breeze and the saltwater....

    Sam Rizkallah’s wife says he “died doing what he loved … making others happy, with friends, family and Oliver on the water.” The boxer survived.
  13. Scientists from Belleair Beach charged with defrauding government

    Human Interest

    On one side of a budding criminal case stand the alleged victims — more than a dozen federal departments and agencies including the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Department of Homeland Security and NASA.

    On the other side stand a Belleair Beach scientist couple accused of bilking more than $10 million from the federal government.

    A grand jury indictment unsealed Tuesday accuses Mahmoud "Matt" Aldissi and his wife, Anastassia "Anastasia" Bogomolova, of obtaining government contracts for years based on inflated proposals and billing for nonexistent employees and consultants....

  14. Carol Hajek witnessed Pearl Harbor attack, helped shape Seminole


    Carol Hajek was a 7-year-old reading the Sunday comics in Honolulu on Dec. 7, 1941, when her father heard an explosion.

    Her father, Lt. Cmdr. Allan Muncey, who was in charge of harbor defense at the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base, turned on the radio. Moments later he rushed out of the house.

    Though wounded by shrapnel, Allan Muncey was not among the more than 2,400 Americans killed in the attack. He helped capture the commander of a Japanese suicide submarine that had run aground....

    Handout mug photos courtesy of the city of Seminole:  City Council member Carol Hajek,  photo entered into system 8/29/03.

  15. Rays adviser Don Zimmer, widely seen as a baseball treasure, dies

    The Heater

    Don Zimmer had a lot to say during his 66 years in baseball. • Get him started, and it usually didn't take much, and he would talk with passion and vigor, telling stories rich in detail about the life he led: • About being teammates with Jackie Robinson during his 12 years playing in the majors, or managing the Red Sox and Cubs during historic seasons, or having a prime seat on the bench for the Yankees' dynastic run, or getting the chance to come home and work for the Rays. • And then he would stop and smile and deliver his own punch line: • "A pretty good career for a .235 hitter.'' • Indeed it was....

    Don Zimmer offers a salute to Tampa Bay Rays players before the start of the home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 31 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.