RARA-AVIS: Re: Dick Stodghill, RIP

From: moorich2 (moorich@aol.com)
Date: 11 Nov 2009

  • Next message: jacquesdebierue: "RARA-AVIS: Re: Burke"

    I was very sad to hear of Dick's death. Going back three decades, we shared a few conversations at Edgar Awards dinners and (IIRC) at least one Bouchercon...perhaps Milwaukee in 1981. He was a great guy and wrote some fine stories for the mystery digests. I had no idea that some had been collected but will seek them out now.

    We corresponded for a time but not in many years. I had hoped to see him turn up at the PWA awards dinner in Indianapolis last month as I recalled he lived in Indianapolis and he had a short story nominated. Now I know illness prevented that. Would have been nice if he had won but that wasn't to be.

    Richard Moore

    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Mason" <foxbrick@...> wrote:
    > http://www.thestarpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009911100330
    > Veteran Muncie newsman dies at 84
    > By JOHN CARLSON � jcarlson@ � November 10, 2009
    > MUNCIE -- Dick Stodghill died Sunday night.
    > That probably shouldn't be so surprising. After all, the former Muncie
    > Evening Press reporter and columnist was 84 years old and facing a
    > slew of health issues including edema, the cumulative effects of an
    > old bout with heart failure, plus a longtime brain tumor, one that his
    > doctors thought had begun growing and blamed for seizures he had
    > suffered of late.
    > "He couldn't fight them all at one time," his wife of 33 years,
    > Jackie, said Monday in a call from their Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio home.
    > But for those of us who respected, admired and even loved him, somehow
    > it comes as a shock.
    > Stodghill, who enjoyed a stiff drink and craved a good pipe, was a
    > tough guy, a man who didn't suffer fools or bigots gladly.
    > "He had integrity without bounds," Jackie said.
    > The consummate writer, he had covered the courts here for years with a
    > sterling mix of skill and style, the same qualities he then employed
    > as an award-winning columnist, including a long stretch when he penned
    > five newspaper columns a week, year in and year out, until 1990.
    > Even as he aged and his health failed, he embraced blogging as another
    > outlet for his tireless drive to write.
    > "He had a fabulous memory," Jackie recalled, discussing the stories
    > that flowed from his word processor. "He could have a blog about a
    > clump of dirt and make it interesting."
    > Stodghill wrote far more than all that, though. A former Pinkerton
    > Detective Agency operative himself, he was a longtime fan of classic
    > mystery writers, whose attributes he could discuss at length, and
    > during an earlier, temporary retirement from his newspaper work, tried
    > his hand at it with amazing results.
    > A fan of short stories, his soon began to appear regularly in top
    > mystery publications, most notably Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery
    > Magazine. Even after his eventual return to newspaper work, he was a
    > regular contributor, his stories frequently culled for hard-cover
    > collections published by groups like Mystery Writers of America and
    > Private Eye Writers of America.
    > Indeed, during last month's Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in
    > Indianapolis, his story Panic on Portage Path was a nominee for a 2009
    > Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America.
    > Chances are pretty good he was the only octogenarian nominee.
    > "He never changed," Jackie said. "Dick was Dick."
    > Stodghill collected many of his magazine stories in books like Case
    > Files of Jack Eddy, Midland Murders and Rough Old Stuff, the last of
    > which featured ones published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.
    > Other books he published were outside the mystery genre. There was the
    > story of a famous old band, The Hoosier Hot Shots, the story of a
    > relative's march through turbulent times, From Devout Catholic to
    > Communist Agitator, and a comprehensive history of Central High
    > School's Bearcat basketball teams that he and Jackie logged countless
    > hours and miles researching.
    > And then there was Normandy 1944: A Young Rifleman's War.
    > If you knew Stodghill, you knew the sight of the unique ring he wore
    > featuring a small version of the Army's Combat Infantryman Badge. He
    > was 17 when he enlisted in 1943, then fought his way across Western
    > Europe with the 4th Infantry Division.
    > What he left behind in that book is a treasure.
    > It's as fine a war memoir as you'll ever read, an uncompromising look
    > back at the horrors encountered, and the courage exhibited, by his own
    > Band of Brothers, a television series which he thought did a good job
    > of portraying the realities they shared.
    > To read Stodghill's book, to know exactly what he and his buddies who
    > made it through the war survived, tells you why he was still wearing
    > that special ring when the end came, and why never, for a single day
    > in the intervening years, did those memories leave his mind.
    > That may explain why he insisted there be no funeral service, nor a
    > standard obituary, to mark his death.
    > The 65 years since that scared young American infantryman first set
    > foot on French soil?
    > For Stodghill, they were all a gift.
    > (Courtesy Paul Di Filippo on the FictionMags list)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 11 Nov 2009 EST