Gary Dillard is a native of Cochise County, Arizona, who has spent his career in journalism — mostly in the region — and history. Writing about the present and the past.
He started at the University of Arizona in the nuclear engineering program, but soon transferred to journalism, not because the two are so closely related, but because after a physics flameout, he resorted to something he knew. As a high school senior, he had been sports editor of the Bisbee Daily Review and greatly enjoyed his work.
After college, he went back to work in sports reporting, at Sierra Vista, but soon found an opening as editor of the new Review, by then a weekly that right-sized the paper for Bisbee’s mine-less economy.
After a few years at the Sierra Vista and Bisbee papers, however, he was hired by Bill Epler, who had been publishing PAY DIRT, a magazine for the Arizona mining industry, and who needed more staffing to expand the publication into other states in the West. It fit nicely into his interest and (limited) training in engineering, and would become his major employment in the upcoming years.
And it was here, in participating in creation in 1981 of a seemingly monumental commemoration of Phelps Dodge’s century in the copper industry, that he was introduced to local history. He discovered the beautiful linkages of the past and the present, the “Connections,” as science historian James Burke would call them.
Once that project was complete, he took his new-found passion and created his first booklet, the 16-page “A Brief History of Bisbee,” which sold several thousand copies and was later was doubled in size and turned into an audio book. He is now taking the expanded version, and tripling its size to create a “regular” book, scheduled for publication by the end of 2017.
His next major adventure in history was writing a weekly article, each filling two broadsheet pages, including illustrations, during the centennial of the Bisbee Daily Review in 1998. That gave him a year to immerse himself in the microfilm records of a host of Arizona papers at the library of the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum.
In the ensuing years, he put together a raft of articles and research notes, all of which have being lying fallow. Now, he has declared 2017 as “year of the book,” and expects to have at least three published in time for Christmas and the start of the next tourism season.
Gary also has been driving for Lavender Jeep Tours as an opportunity to “try out” some of his research to see how it relates to what is desired by folks interested in the community. He also has restarted local history talks, which have been well attended in the past. And he is getting encouragement and wherewithal to produce more history products through Patreon.
Obviously, there’s much more to say, but it’s best to spend that time turning out history articles. Enjoy what is being posted in this blog and on other sites (see My Links.)