Meet the Staff
Dave Duffy is the founder, publisher, and editor of Backwoods Home Magazine.
He built his own home in a remote area of the Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon while launching the magazine, and that served as BHM’s first office. Since the home was 10 miles from the nearest electric utility pole, Duffy installed a photovoltaic system to produce sun-generated electricity to run the computers and printers to publish the magazine.
Born in Boston, Duffy spent his first 29 years there, where he worked as a journalist for several daily newspapers. He then moved to Nevada and California, working as a journalist for newspapers and later as a writer and editor for the Department of Defense.
Unhappy with working for others and living near cities, he spent several years of vacations and long weekends building his hideaway in southern Oregon. He eventually fled the rat race for the woods. In 1989, he started Backwoods Home Magazine to help others do the same.
Ilene Duffy is the Business Manager for Backwoods Home Magazine, and she writes a cooking column, Lenie in the kitchen, in which she shares her family’s favorite recipes. As one of the proofreaders for each issue, she is responsible for the remarkably low number of typographical errors that appear in BHM.
Ilene formerly worked as a bilingual kindergarten and first grade teacher for nine years in California. She gave up teaching to become BHM’s Business Manager shortly after she married the magazine’s publisher, Dave Duffy. Twenty years later, she still enjoys taking care of the details of the magazine business.
Since the magazine has moved to Gold Beach in Oregon she has become a fresh and salt water fishing enthusiast, catching and cooking king salmon from the Rogue River and catching and cooking the many bottom fish from near the Gold Beach Reef, located a few miles offshore. She also enjoys volunteering as the accompanist for the local schools’ choirs.
Managing Editor Jessie Denning began working at Backwoods Home Magazine after graduating college and loved it so much she just couldn’t stop.
She was first hired by the magazine to put together the "Ask Jackie" books, then she moved on to uploading back issues of the magazine on Kindle. From there, Annie and Dave trained her how to edit and lay out articles, and the rest is history!
She loves to bake, draw, write poetry, and rummage through garage sales and thrift stores. She currently lives in Port Orford, Oregon with her handsome firefighter husband, six hens, and one very spoiled rooster.
John Silveira is the Senior Editor of BHM and has written for it since Issue #1.
Silveira grew up on a farm in New Hampshire. He says his father, in order to teach him how to shoot with accuracy, would give him one 22-caliber bullet a day and send him out hunting small game. He became a deadly accurate shot.
He has known BHM publisher Dave Duffy ever since they met, back in the 1960’s, at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Silveira is a mathematician by training and a historian by avocation, but his heart has always been in writing. Most of his days are spent sleeping at the office, but when he’s awake, he has been able to bring the mathematician’s keen eye for accuracy to his writing to create authentic and very popular historical articles for the magazine. His articles are often used in homeschooling curriculums.
John drinks a lot and suffers from raging insomnia. He spends most of his nights awake watching infomercials and plotting the overthrow of the government of France where he intends to reinstall the monarchy and have himself declared king.
Lisa Nourse is the Editorial Coordinator at Backwoods Home Magazine. Her duties include sending out contracts for and monitoring the status of articles, ensuring writers are paid, helping to set articles, and making corrections as needed. She also does research and generally tries to keep the editorial department running in a smooth and efficient manner.
She was born and raised on the Oregon Coast. She and her husband have two grown boys. Her hobbies include reading for pleasure and gardening.
Don Childers has been BHM’s artist since the first issue was produced in 1989, and was, in fact, the first person Dave asked to work with him. Don worked for free on the first several issues, laboring well into the night with Dave on many occasions as they sought ways to illustrate articles.
Don had previously been a very successful aerospace artist whose paintings of the latest in military planes, ships, and missiles hung on the walls of generals, admirals, and various U.S. Navy offices. Dave and Don met at Vitro Laboratories in Southern California where both were employed updating various Navy technical manuals. Both possessed Secret clearances and Vitro sometimes teamed the pair up to work on particularly sensitive projects.
Don now lives in Colorado where, in his late seventies, he is only partially retired and still draws and paints illustrations and covers for the magazine. He corresponds with the magazine via internet and phone.
Ellen, our database operator, started working with Backwoods Home Magazine in August 2004. Ellen and her husband Serge retired to Gold Beach in May 2000. They were both looking for a less demanding lifestyle.
They have a combined family of 6 children, who are all doing well and happy in life. They now have 6 grandchildren.
Ellen’s hobbies include long walks on the beach with Serge looking for agates and shells, and playing in the dirt and plants.
Rhoda started working at BHM in 2003 on a temporary basis, typing Backwoods Home Cooking. Now she works here full-time doing a variety of tasks. She was a teacher in her former life, and really enjoys the laid-back, friendly atmosphere of our office.
Rhoda enjoys playing flute in our local symphony, kayaking with her husband, hunting for agates on the beach, and walking with friends.
Heather answers phones, takes customer orders, helps with shipping and receiving, runs credit cards, and anything else that’s needed.
After working for the school district for more than 10 years as a teachers’ aide, she is loving the comfortable stress-free atmosphere in our office.
Heather was raised in Myrtle Point, Oregon, and has lived in Gold Beach for 21 years with her husband and three boys. Her favorite things to do are boating up river, camping, and spending time with her family.
Sammy Duffy, Ilene and Dave’s son, is working for Backwoods Home Magazine through a work-experience program offered at Gold Beach High School. Sammy has been instrumental in publishing the Kindle edition of Backwoods Home Magazine. Sam also edits video for our You Tube channel and works in BHM’s booth at Self-reliance shows.
Jim Van Camp
Jim was born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 4, 1942. He is Backwoods Home Magazine’s all around handy guy, able to work at whatever task he is assigned.
Jim was raised in the San Fernando Valley suburb of Los Angeles, California. He escaped from L.A. with his wife and moved to Gold Beach in 1990 where he started a coffee roasting business called One Horse Coffee. He has been a writer, house painter, boat maintenance person and hardware store manager.
Julia first joined Backwoods Home Magazine in 2012, when she worked with her older sister Jessie to create the ‘Ask Jackie’ book series. Now she’s back and working as Jessie’s assistant — at least until the summer, when she’ll continue her dream job as a wildland firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service.
Photography is Julia’s favorite pastime, and there’s nothing she loves more than taking a long coastal hike with her camera in hand. She also enjoys reading and doing a bit of experimental baking to concoct healthy muffins and cookies.
Oliver Del Signore
Born and raised in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, Oliver Del Signore occasionally takes time away from his duties as the Webmaster of Backwoods Home Magazine’s popular web site to write an article or book review for the magazine.
In addition to being a webmaster and writing, his career has included stints as a jewelry salesman, maintenance supervisor, pizza maker, Real Estate broker, carpenter, rental agent, and painter. When not glued to the keyboard updating BHM’s web site, he uses his woodworking skills to build custom tables and cabinets.
Oliver and his wife Martha have two grown children and the grey hairs to prove it. His hobbies include finding a quiet place to relax for five minutes and thinking up new ways to say no when his kids ask for money. He enjoys good humor, good science fiction, and, now and then, a good bottle of wine.
Administrative Assistant Muriel Sutherland started working for BHM on a part-time basis in 1999. She enjoyed working with Dave and Lenie and the staff and said that it made her retirement years interesting.
Muriel passed away in 2007 and we miss her terribly.