A Great Outdoorsman is Lost

I just found out this morning that Dennis Aprill died suddenly yesterday of pancreatic cancer. He was a long time journalist for the Press Republican writing a column on the outdoors. He also wrote books, several of which I illustrated over the years.

The sad part for me was that we had just signed a contract with History Press to do a new book together called Adirondack Tales on his animal columns.

He’d been having terrible back pain which came up suddenly this winter and had delayed him getting the manuscript completed (and much of his outdoor activities). He was also trying to solve the mysterious pain so he could go to Alaska this month with his daughter Carolyn.

I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago, after we’d finally come to an agreement with History Press to go ahead with the book and signed all the paperwork. He’d had an MRI which had explained his pain by revealing a bulging disc. It obviously was not the only issue.

So early this week he went to the Adirondack Medical Center when the pain got too much to bear. His pain must have been significant as this man once walked down his long driveway in an ice storm to meet an ambulance when he was in the middle of acute appendicitis. Sadly this time they discovered that he was harboring late stage pancreatic cancer. He lasted less than a week.

I am so sorry for his family and for all of us who enjoyed his columns, endless energy and obvious joy in experiencing the outdoors and sharing it with us. Dennis, you will be missed.


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About Sheri Amsel

Sheri Amsel has degrees in Botany and Zoology from the University of Montana 1980, a Master's Degree in Anatomy, Physiology and Biomedical Illustration from Colorado State University 1987. Ms. Amsel interned at the Smithsonian Institute in 1983 in Scientific Illustration, taught anatomy and biology at three colleges from 1990 - 1997. In addition, Ms. Amsel has published more than 15 nonfiction children's books, two field guides for adults, and illustrated a myriad of books and interpretive displays on nature and science topics. Ms. Amsel has done science programming at more than 300 schools nationally, developed more than 20 educational nature trails in New York State, and coordinates school visits to local nature trails for environmental education programs for the Eddy Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation and habitat preservation. Ms. Amsel created the Exploring Nature Educational Resource website with the hopes of sharing her science and environmental education knowledge and experience with science educators and students worldwide.

1 thought on “A Great Outdoorsman is Lost

  1. How sad and depressing. My wife and I have his books, not only because you illustrated one, but because we both recognized that he was a gifted naturalist and writer. Dennis had a real talent for identifying interesting, less travelled paths not found in other books. We also found his tips and advice on hiking with children to be very helpful and right on the money. It’s a bit strange that even though I never met him, I feel like I lost a close friend. That is a testament to the intimacy of his writing. We miss him already.

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