Remembering Theo Caviness

We lost a friend and colleague last week, with the passing of Theo Caviness, the longtime art director at the New York Post and the New York Daily News. Caviness, 42, was a senior digital designer for ESPN in Bristol, Conn. He suffered a heart attack during the commute from Bristol, Conn., to his home in the Bronx, N.Y.

Caviness was a member of SND since 2002, when he worked as a page designer at the Philadelphia Inquirer, stayed involved as a volunteer, and was a friend to many.

“We worked together at the N.Y. Daily News where he gave me my first official full-time newspaper job,” said Greicy Mella, now a design editor at The New York Times. “He was a great art director who took interest in my work, my goals, my career and put me on the path to get to where I am at today. He believed in me more than I believed in myself. He introduced me to Kyle because he wanted me to take part in SNDMakes. He always encouraged me to attend SND events and to become part of the SND community. He would humbly deny this but I owe him everything. My heart breaks for his parents and his wife, Bunmi, his daughter, Bisi, and his son, Teddy. They were everything to him. He was one of my best friends, someone I admired and respected infinitely.”h

“I had kept in touch with Theo since the time we were co-workers at the New York Daily News,” said Eileen Fitzgerald Smith, a senior designer at Hearst Connecticut Media Group. “I was really looking forward to seeing him in person, if schedules were permitting. Like a punch in the gut, I saw via Facebook that Theo had simply been taken away … too soon. From his coveted design position. From his adored wife and two children. From our small village of news design experts. So. Not. Fair. His passing haunts me. My last, short text conversation with Theo is on my phone, suspended in time, incomplete.
“In a tough New York newsroom, Theo was kind to me.”

Caviness worked at the Post from 2004-2012 before moving to the Daily News, where he led the design department for three years.
“I met Theo when I started my career at the New York Post, he made it a point to pull me aside and make sure I knew whom to take my cues from,” said SND Region 1 director Kyle Ellis. “Most of the time I lived and worked in the city I felt like a fish out of water, but Theo always made me feel like I belonged. We spent many Sundays in the fall watching football at dive bars, commiserating over our fantasy teams, and watching his beloved Eagles. Theo was so warm and funny, and he genuinely cared about people. Not to mention being a helluva designer. He was an example of a devoted father and loving husband. Just salt of the Earth.”

About Stephen Komives

Previously served as Executive Director of the Society for News Design, from 2009–2019.


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