A tribute to Zane Chastain, a leader with a passion for the industry

August 28, 2014 By    

Heaven was awarded a gem.

Zane Chastain

Zane Chastain, right, pays LP Gas Publisher Brian Kanaba a visit in LP Gas’ Cleveland office.

Zane Chastain, the endearing longtime editor of LP Gas Magazine, passed away this summer. He was 83 years old. For those of you who didn’t know Zane, this dedicated man started with LP Gas in 1974 and served many roles, including publisher, advertising sales representative, photographer and designer. He remained publisher into 2000 and was honored as publisher emeritus into 2005.

In 1985, Zane organized an annual golf tournament that the magazine sponsored. In its early years, the Florida golf outing drew 150 people from as far away as Canada and Mexico. Later, Zane added an annual advertiser appreciation dinner that the magazine hosted at the NPGA Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo. This event was popular for years.

Zane was more than just an employee of LP Gas. He was a good friend to the industry. To me, he was a very good friend and mentor.

For me, there hasn’t been a trade show or an industry function where someone hasn’t inquired about Zane. This says a lot, because Zane hasn’t been a part of our great industry for more than 13 years. Yet, his legacy endures.

When I first met Zane, he made it clear that I must treat this industry with respect. He told me the first time he hears of me doing something wrong, he would take the job away. Of course, this would have made you smile if you knew Zane. LP Gas was his pride and joy, and I’ve never met a man who had such a passion for the industry. He truly established lifelong friendships.

I remember walking my first trade show floor with Zane as if it were yesterday. I didn’t know a thing about the propane market. And after the first two hours walking the show floor, I still didn’t know a thing about the industry. That’s because Zane and I had only wandered through one aisle.

Zane knew every other person on the show floor, their kids’ names, their dog’s name, and what they had for dinner last year at the show. It was remarkable.

I had set out to learn as much as I could about the industry and its products at this show, but I learned something more valuable. I learned through Zane that the people come first. Products and everything-else propane were secondary.

As I got to know Zane, I saw exactly why he knew everyone and why everyone knew him. When you hear the phrase someone “wears their heart on their sleeve,” they must be referring to Zane. Zane did everything he could to know you, your business and how he could help to facilitate a meeting with a prospective business partner, create new friendships for you and help you further your business and ties within the industry.

Zane was a master of many trades and helped to coin the mantra, “LP Gas Magazine is where the industry goes to meet itself.”

Those of us at LP Gas are all, to this day, amazed Zane was the publisher, salesperson, editor and photographer – all rolled into one. This just doesn’t happen in publishing today.

The fact that Zane took on all of those roles helps to prove his passion for the industry was immense. He maintained that high level of passion for more than 25 years with the magazine.

I’ve had numerous conversations over the years with members of our industry regarding how Zane helped them – not only in business, but also in their personal lives. Zane helped to turn many people’s lives around. He even saved a man’s life at an industry function.

When my children were younger, Zane called every year from his home in Duluth, Minn., and pretended to be Santa Claus. My boys flipped out and couldn’t sleep that night because they had just received a personal call from Santa.

We are very proud to dedicate the pages of this issue to our buddy, Zane. We all know Zane is in a much better place. He’s probably golfing with former propane buddies who’ve passed on before him.

So watch out, everyone: A golf ball might whiz by you out of the blue, courtesy of Zane – he had a pretty nasty slice from time to time.

God bless you, Zane.

Brian Kanaba

About the Author:

Brian Kanaba is publisher of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at bkanaba@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3745.

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