Sharon Fitzhenry, who served as president and CEO of Fitzhenry & Whiteside, died on August 26. She was 73.
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, a Canadian, family-owned distribution and publishing company, was founded in 1966, with the second generation of the family taking over in 1992. Informally known as Fitz & Witz, it is best known as a publisher of children’s books, adult nonfiction, and cookbooks. Its publishing imprints include Fifth House Publishers, Red Deer Press, and Whitecap Books, and its distribution clients include Boulder Books and Flanker Press. Fitzhenry had a particular interest in trade books on science and the environment, and she created the Lane Anderson Award in 2011 to celebrate achievement in these fields.
On the news of Fitzhenry’s passing, Jack David, co-publisher of ECW Press, recalled in a post published online by the Association of Canadian Publishers: “Years ago, when the LPG was looking for a distributor, Marc Cote and I visited Fitzhenry & Whiteside. Sharon took us around, and showed us the office of her father, Robert Fitzhenry, an homage to his Harper & Row office in New York, including his desk. Sharon always called him Pop, and she was devoted to him. She convinced Pop to let her develop original titles, and from there she thrived as both a distributor and a publisher, ultimately owning Red Deer, Fifth House, and Whitecap, in addition to F&W. Sharon was opinionated, iconoclastic, and funny. Her authors were loyal, and she often hired experienced people who had held multiple roles in other companies. Together with her sister, Holly Doll, they created a vibrant company that I’m sure Pop was very proud of. She loved publishing four-colour nature books; in fact, she simply loved books. I shall miss having lunch with her.”
Fitzhenry is predeceased by her mother and father, Hilda and Bob; her sister, Bridget; and her life partner, Sal Nasello. She is survived by her sister, Holly, and brother-in-law, Peter; her nephew, Martyn, and his partner, Gretta; and her nieces, Jillian and Pamela.
A celebration of life for Sharon Fitzhenry will be held on November 14th. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.