Don

Don died last Friday.

I found out this morning, because I don’t check my email daily, and because I stopped lurking in the Mudcat Cafe forums ages ago.

Don and Barbara founded Writers’ Group, first as a church activity, and then as a private social group.

Don was a folk singer in the 1950s and 60s. (There’s a nice article about him here.) He and his partner Bob sang in coffeehouses in Seattle and San Francisco. Don performed at the 1962 World’s Fair. He was a performer on a show on KCTS (Seattle’s PBS station). He saw The Smothers Brothers perform as a trio. (That’s one of my favorite stories that he told.) He went to a Hoot with Pete Seeger.

(I grew up listening to folk music, and it was a treat to have known a musician from that era.)

Don was very good at fencing in his youth, despite his use of forearm crutches (because of childhood polio). A counselor at the YMCA invented a special fencing style for him.

Don was a disc jockey at radio stations in Seattle and in Eastern Washington. He worked as an operator for Bell Telephone. (He had a great voice.) He worked as a drafter for Boeing. (So did I, but not at the same time as Don.)

He loved a good hamburger. (And “good” does not mean “gourmet”.) He loved a good “swashbuckler” (hence his interest in fencing). He loved science fiction, and once had dinner with Frank Herbert at Ivar’s Salmon House, through a bizarre chain of coincidences.

Don was a hell of a good writer.

I phoned Barbara this morning. She seemed to be doing OK, considering. She told me it was sudden, but not unexpected. She told me that Writers’ Group will go on.

Don was 84 years old.

I am numb right now.

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