Gerald Dash, 'Cable Guy,' Dies
Cable TV Pioneer and Sales Executive For Many Cable Firms Was 68
by Kent Gibbons 9/3/2009 3:08:04 PM EDT

Gerald Dash, whose long cable career began with early franchising efforts and selling HBO subscriptions, died on Aug. 30 at his home in Tucson, Ariz., of a terminal illness, family members said. He was 68.

Inducted into the Cable Television Pioneers in 2005, when he was a senior VP of training at RCH Cable Outsourcing Services, Dash began his cable career selling door to door. "That was the real key to me," he recalled in 2005, adding: "There's never been a dull day, even though sales people have never really been recognized."

Gerry Dash
Gerry Dash
He worked at many cable companies over the years, large and small, and also for a wireless cable company, Peoples Choice TV, and a big phone company, Bell Atlantic. Most recently he worked for Comcast. Other employers were RCN, Multivision, TelePrompTer and UA Columbia.

His family said "Mr. Cable Guy" would be a fitting epitaph.

Born in Bayside, N.Y., in 1940, he served in the U.S. Army as a photographer, in Korea, and then, aided by the G.I. Bill, obtained bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Bridgeport (Conn.) while also supporting his wife and young daughter. He began his television career at station WGBH in Boston.

In an undated oral history interview for The Cable Center, he said he obtained a job with TelePrompTer as director of pay-TV sales after that cable operator signed an affiliation deal with HBO. "I was at TelePrompTer for about a year and half, and I did about ninety launches across the United States for them," he said. "We sold about 250,000 HBO customers out of a million mature customers."

According to a remembrance from family members, "Gerry liked a challenge. A project fitting his intelligence. The small, up and coming start up, or new project. Ironic, that he worked last for Comcast, the largest and most established. His specialty has always been sales. You will find no one on the planet that knows more about selling and marketing cable television.

"He could be as talkative as anyone you have ever met. With tremendous enthusiasm. And an encyclopedic knowledge of figures, numbers and projections.

"Minutes later he could be introspective and quiet. Asking you question after question about what you do. Inquisitive to no end. And always thoughtful and kind. Even as a manager, he treated everyone as a peer.

"Gerry read every publication the industry printed. He would gloat about knowing what the next trend was going to be, even before people half his age did. "

He also was a music fan, especially jazz, loved Westerns and other movies and golf.

Family members, including his wife, Virginia, and daughter, Heather Barger, planned a small private memorial ceremony.