Basil G. Dandison, 102, Was Publishing Pioneer

Basil G. Dandison of Yarmouthport, formerly of Lexington, died at Heatherwood Assisted Living in Yarmouthport on Jan. 4. He was 102 years old. He was a frequent visitor to the Island for the past 35 years, visiting his daughter, Chloe Nolan, and enjoying yearly gatherings of the family. Mr. Dandison was engaged in international book publishing for many years and had worked in more than 70 countries.

He was born in West Bloomfield, Mich. In 1918 he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served aboard the battleship U.S.S. Maryland. After his discharge in 1923, he returned to school and was graduated from the University of Michigan in 1929.

From 1930 until 1939, he was business manager of the Bureau of University Travel, an educational foundation. He joined the McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. in 1939 and held several management positions in the firm's international units, including executive vice president in the McGraw-Hill International Corp.

In 1947, Mr. Dandison headed the new international division's education department and launched book publishing programs in Europe and Asia, including international student editions, low-cost reprints of McGraw-Hill texts sold to students overseas. He also made history by traveling on the first round-the-world business trip by plane. He flew on a Pan American Clipper seaplane on a five-month trip to 30 nations.

In 1962, when Mr. Dandison was directing the company's international marketing, McGraw-Hill received the "E" for Export Award from President John F. Kennedy, honoring the corporation as the only U.S. publisher to distribute textbooks successfully overseas.

During his years in publishing, Mr. Dandison located scores of authors whose writings he brought to McGraw-Hill for publication. One of the foremost was Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson of MIT, whose economics textbook has been used around the world for more than five decades, has sold more than four million copies and is translated into dozens of languages, including French, Romanian, Japanese, Vietnamese, German and Russian.

Mr. Dandison was a pioneer in the dissemination of books of U.S. origin throughout the world, and was a leader in the book industry's international activities. He was also a trustee of the U.S. Council of the International Chamber of Commerce.

After his retirement from McGraw-Hill in 1965, he continued work as a consultant to publishers in the United States and abroad. He also engaged in many overseas assignments for the U.S. Agency for International Development and the International Executive Service Corps (IESC). He served as an active volunteer in the IESC until he reached 90.

Until just before his 100th birthday, when his eyesight began to fail, he read four or five publications daily to keep up with current events in the United States and abroad. Throughout his final years, he maintained an avid interest in the activities of his children and grandchildren and friends from Lexington. As the most senior resident, he was lovingly cared for by the staff of Heatherwood Assisted Living for the past three years.

Mr. Dandison is survived by a son, Basil G. Dandison Jr. of Yarmouthport; daughters May Louise Paton of Toronto, Canada, and Chloe Nolan of Edgartown; and six grandchildren. He was married for 62 years to Minnie Joy Remick, who died in 1992.

A memorial service for family and friends was held last week at the Kelley Chapel in Yarmouth. The Cape Cod Marine Unit played Taps. He was one of the oldest living Marines in the country.