What do you say about the passing of someone you really didn’t know for very long, but who still made a significant impact on who you are and what you do? I’m in that conundrum today with the death of former Delaware Today managing editor Drew Ostroski. We learned of Drew’s Jan. 25 passing over the weekend, and among the many in the Today Media family who worked with Drew during his nearly two decades at the magazine, there was the sadness one would expect from losing a family member. We mourn his loss as we would that of a brother.
I’ll be honest: I did not have the benefit of knowing Drew for long. Between my arrival at Delaware Today and his departure from the company, we spent perhaps eight months working side by side. But that time was in no way the superficial manager-employee relationship that many people attempt to foster. We bonded over our love of journalism and war stories from our careers coming up through small-town and midsized newspapers. We shared a fondness for classic R&B, soul and funk (having passed his challenging playlist test, issued from the cab of his pickup truck one day as I ate lunch in the office parking lot, I seemed to have earned an extra level of respect in his eyes). We shared stories of our children and their successes, and agreed that we both had the benefit of having intelligent, successful spouses whose devotion we sometimes wondered if we sufficiently earned.
As a member of the Today Media team, he was one of our longest-serving members. He valued his role as magazine historian and archivist, and was the go-to source for any questions on stories we’d written (and perhaps written again and again) over the years. His love for Delaware’s natural wonders, fostered as a child growing up along the Sussex County coast, came through in his passion for the outdoors and its coverage in our pages.
As a journalist, he was one of the great examples of the profession—modest about his skills and his role, but an integral part of what this magazine accomplished during his tenure. In a position that folks outside the industry can often miscast as glamorous, he held no illusions about those elements of the job. His focus always was creating a quality product, whether it was through the magazine itself or the many supplements he handled for our community partners. In this role, he was the primary magazine contact for many Delaware organizations and nonprofits, and served as the consistent face of the publication as executive editors came and went.
Drew’s writing shone with a voice that was uniquely his, and he was a master of turning a phrase to create a headline that embraced playfulness and an accurate representation of the story. I deeply valued a “nice job” from him on headlines of my own and respected his input in all matters of this magazine’s production. He was, in many ways, our “detail man,” checking those little items—volume and issue numbers and postal statements, among many—that are often easily overlooked but integral to our smooth (and legal) production.
But he was also hopeful about this magazine’s future. We brainstormed the changes that needed to be made and he was quick to remind me of things that had been tried in the past, succeeded and yet were, over time, forgotten, as well as those that perhaps didn’t fly so well. His spirit lives through our recent redesign as something that he supported, and I believe would have genuinely enjoyed seeing the results.
If the measure of a person is indeed the impact they’ve made on those around them, Drew’s impact has been significant and greatly appreciated. We missed his dry wit, his mischievous sidelong glances and his friendly presence the moment he left our ranks, and we’ll miss him even more now.
Arrangements for Drew are being handled by Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home in Newark. Please visit this link to read his full obituary.