09/01/1995 at 01:00 AM EDT
There are millions offish in the sea. Picture editor Maddy Miller's job was to find a photograph of just one of them: a frogfish, family Antennariidae, named Little Jerry. In creating this special tribute issue, we encountered much that was familiar about Jerry Garcia—his humor, his musical talent, his role as a Deadhead demigod—and one thing that was new to us: Jerry Garcia, Grateful Dead guitarist, was a passionate scuba diver. Luck and research led us to Jeff and Teri Leicher, who run Jack's Diving Locker in Kona, Hawaii. The Leichers, who became good friends with Garcia as he made more than 500 dives in the area, graciously provided photos of him playing with turtles and moray eels. "He was the nicest guy," says Teri. "He would hang out at the shop and help us haul tanks out to the boat, and most people wouldn't notice that it was Jerry Garcia."
Managing editor Landon Y. Jones, who, coincidentally, had dived with the folks from Jack's Diving Locker in 1990, recalled being introduced to a particular fish—a frogfish, to be precise—that lived near a particular rock and was known to local divers as Little Jerry, since the real Jerry had befriended the fish. Jones suggested that we find a picture of a frogfish—any frogfish.
Maddy Miller—who, with help from deputy picture editor Mindy Viola, tracked down the wonderful photographs that appear in this issue—went one better: She found a portrait of the actual fish in question: Little Jerry appears on page 45.
This issue would not have been possible without help from people who loved, worked with or simply admired Jerry Garcia. We are particularly grateful to Deborah Koons Garcia, who, just before we went to press, called to share her thoughts about her late husband and his legacy (page 43). Former Rolling Stone senior editor Ben Fong-Torres, who interviewed Garcia in the '60s, '70s and '80s, wrote the issue's insightful main text piece on a very demanding deadline.
In keeping with the spirit of the Grateful Dead, PEOPLE has made a significant contribution to the Rex Foundation (page 64), a Dead-affiliated charity that provides small grants to numerous causes, including scholarships, environmental cleanup and feeding the homeless. (The Rex Foundation's address is: P.O. Box 2204, San Anselmo, Calif. 94979)