deBlij Harm“We are sorry to convey the sad news of the death of prominent geographer and of long-time AAG member Harm J. de Blij…
“He has been one of American geography’s most visible leaders for the past half-century. His specialties included political geography, African regional studies, and geographic education—as well as the spatial dimensions of viticulture, a thriving subdiscipline he helped to pioneer during the 1980s and 1990s…
His prolific publications included more than 30 books and well over 100 articles…
His numerous awards included those from AAG, NCGE, and NGS. He received AAG Honors in 1991, the AAG Presidential Achievement Award in 2004, and the AAG Media Achievement Award in 2008.

“Over the past 40 years, de Blij was also one of the few academic geographers of his generation to make a major and lasting impact in the public arena. He was much in demand on the lecture circuit and his extraordinary communication skills were widely recognized (a generous legacy is available on YouTube). In this sphere, he probably will best be remembered for his seven-year stint as Geography Editor on ABC’s Good Morning America (1989-1996), whose contributions achieved a partial Emmy Award as well as a full-page profile in TV Guide.

“His many other accomplishments in this arena include his role as writer and commentator in the original PBS Series,The Power of Place. His successful trade-market book, Why Geography Matters . . . More Than Ever, has just been published in its second edition by Oxford University Press.

“Harm de Blij’s record of service to the profession is monumental. At AAG, he held several positions and appointments during his 53-year membership. At NCGE, he edited the Journal of Geography. At NGS, he was the founding editor of the scientific journal, National Geographic Research, and a long-time member of the Committee on Research and Exploration.

“Harm de Blij was also highly skilled in areas beyond the profession. His parents were both distinguished musicians and he remained a first-rate violinist and chamber-music participant through the end of his life. He was also an entirely-self-taught wine expert and collector as well as a masterful carpenter—with cellars and home workshops to prove it.

“A memorial event in honor of Harm de Blij will be held during the AAG Annual Meeting in Chicago in early 2015.
Doug Richardson and Peter Muller”