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Thread: R.I.P. Wilum "Hopfrog" Pugmire

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed njhorror's Avatar
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    R.I.P. Wilum "Hopfrog" Pugmire

    I didn't know Wilum personally, but exchanged posts with him on the boards over the years. He seemed like a very decent person who loved life.
    A Lovecraft devotee, Wilum had a large body of printed material and many of his books can be found on Amazon. His entertaining videos can be seen on youtube.

    From Wikipedia
    Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire (May 3, 1951 March 26, 2019) was a writer of horror fiction based in Seattle, Washington. His works typically are published as W. H. Pugmire (his adopted middle name derives from the story of the same title by Edgar Allan Poe) and his fiction often pays homage to Lovecraftian lore. Lovecraft scholar and biographer S. T. Joshi has described Pugmire as "the prose-poet of the horror/fantasy field; he may be the best prose-poet we have," and "perhaps the leading Lovecraftian author writing today."

    Originally published mainly in small presses, Pugmire produced a steady stream of book collections beginning in 1997. His stories have also been published in magazines and anthologies such as The Year's Best Horror Stories, Weird Tales, The Children of Cthulhu, The Book of Cthulhu, and many more. The Tangled Muse, a major retrospective of his work, was published in 2010.

    220px-W._H._Pugmire_(orig_2008-03-28_19.35.29_IMG_2565).jpg
    Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Senior Member Hearing Voices Ben Staad's Avatar
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    May he rest in peace.

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    I won an inscribed book from DRP from him. He sent a whole letter along with it. I think I will have to read it next.

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    Wow. Sad news.......

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed njhorror's Avatar
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    Here's a recent interview with Wilum. I wish I had gotten to know him. I like the way he thinks.

    Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication
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    ^^ Good interview! It cracks me up that he was a Mormon missionary in Ireland. I remember two Mormon missionaries being in our town in Ireland in the early '80s. They looked like FBI agents and might as well have been dressed in red and carrying pitchforks as far as the Irish Catholic mothers were concerned.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed njhorror's Avatar
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    I lifted this off of Ligotti online.

    S.T. Joshi had this to say about Wilum Pugmire:

    My Friend, Wilum Pugmire

    "The winter of 2018–19 was unusually severe here in Seattle. In particular, in early February we suffered an unprecedented series of heavy snowstorms that paralysed the city. We rarely get snow, and the city is ill equipped to deal with it. Most of us were merely inconvenienced or housebound, but Wilum’s fate proved to be more severe.

    He went into the emergency room in mid-February, complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing. He was diagnosed with pneumonia. That didn’t sound too bad, but we were concerned—and frustrated—that he didn’t seem to be improving as quickly as he should have been. My wife, Mary, and I visited him several times and were alarmed to see him gasping and unable to sit up for any length of time. And yet, he nonetheless did seem to get better, and we learned that the pneumonia had finally left him. But he continued to linger in the hospital—for weeks, then for more than a month. It appeared that the pneumonia had exacerbated the heart condition he had been suffering from for years (and for which, I’m sorry to report, he didn’t take his medications quite as diligently as he should have).

    At some point during that dreary month at Harborview Medical Center, he came to understand that the end had come upon him. He faced this realisation with what I thought was incredible grace and quiet resolve. He said that, a few weeks short of his 68th birthday, he had lived a full, rich life and had accomplished many of the literary goals he had set out for himself. And who can deny that?

    By late March he decided that he would prefer to spend his last days at home, surrounded by his family, friends, and especially his beloved pets (which numbered six cats and two dogs). I spent much of the afternoon of Monday, March 25, with him, and he was indeed surrounded by some of the people (and there are many) who meant so much to him. I was present when, in accordance with his own wishes, his sister Holly turned off the heart pump that was largely keeping him alive. We had been told that this act might result in his death within minutes; but in fact he lingered for about ten hours, passing away in the wee hours of the morning of March 26.

    And yet, I do not wish to speak of his death but of his life. I am no doubt one of many who regard him as one of the kindest, gentlest, most tolerant and generous human beings to have ever walked the earth. I know that the feuding that is so seemingly endemic to our social media culture saddened and dismayed him, and I take responsibility for contributing more than my share of abuse, insult, and billingsgate.

    Many individuals knew him far longer than I did, but I like to believe we gained a special rapport because of our mutual devotion to H. P. Lovecraft. Wilum was reluctant to speak of himself, but he often regaled us with how he discovered the dreamer from Providence while conducting missionary work for the Mormon church, to which he remained devoted (in spite of the church’s own cruel prejudice—now only slightly moderated—against gays and other groups). While dodging bullets and bombs in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s, he stumbled upon a paperback of Lovecraft’s tales and was immediately captivated.

    He wrote for years, even decades, in obscurity—but his creative work was an act of love, not commerce, just as it had been for Lovecraft. He was as surprised as any when, after so many years, he gained a following and saw his work published far and wide. He was tickled when, only a few months ago, a German edition of his tales appeared.

    He and I became close when I moved to Seattle from the East Coast in the fall of 2001. He would often stop by at my house in the university district, on his way to or from the Mormon temple nearby. Later, Mary and I would often have him over for dinner, and we were pleased at how much relish he took in the dishes she offered (and why not?—she is an excellent cook). In particular, we enjoyed sharing with him the large Virginia ham that Derrick Hussey would habitually send to me as a Christmas present.

    He was also a central figure in our local “gang” of Lovecraftians. Although his native shyness made him a largely silent participant in our gatherings, he would occasionally add a charming anecdote or make some other remark that displayed both his shrewdness and his humanity.

    One of the greatest thrills of his life was visiting Providence in 2007, where he could at last walk in the footsteps of his literary master. That trip inspired dozens of tales, including some of his best. He attended the H. P. Lovecraft Festival in Portland as often as his health would allow, although later admitting that such trips (including one that he took just last year) overtaxed him and probably worsened his heart condition. But at least some of his many friends and devotees had a chance to meet him in person as he sat placidly on a bench outside the Hollywood Theatre and spoke a kind word to all and sundry.

    We disagreed on several subjects, but that did not lessen our bond. As an atheist I was bemused by his Mormon faith; and part of the tranquillity he exhibited at the end was inspired by his firm belief that, after his transition out of this life, he would meet all the people who had meant so much to him—not just friends and family members but the great literary figures (Shakespeare, Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, and Lovecraft himself) whom he idolised. If that belief gave him comfort in his final hours, who has the right to deny it to him?

    This is not the place for an evaluation of Wilum’s literary work. Impressive as that work is, it is the human being I care to remember. When Lovecraft himself died, tragically early, there was an outpouring of grief just as there has now been for Wilum; and a longtime friend, Charles W. Smith, summed up his sense of closeness to Lovecraft by the simple words, “He was my friend.” I am one of many who can consider themselves lucky to have been Wilum’s friend. The world is a little poorer without him."
    Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njhorror View Post
    I lifted this off of Ligotti online.

    S.T. Joshi had this to say about Wilum Pugmire:

    My Friend, Wilum Pugmire

    "The winter of 2018–19 was unusually severe here in Seattle. In particular, in early February we suffered an unprecedented series of heavy snowstorms that paralysed the city. We rarely get snow, and the city is ill equipped to deal with it. Most of us were merely inconvenienced or housebound, but Wilum’s fate proved to be more severe.

    He went into the emergency room in mid-February, complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing. He was diagnosed with pneumonia. That didn’t sound too bad, but we were concerned—and frustrated—that he didn’t seem to be improving as quickly as he should have been. My wife, Mary, and I visited him several times and were alarmed to see him gasping and unable to sit up for any length of time. And yet, he nonetheless did seem to get better, and we learned that the pneumonia had finally left him. But he continued to linger in the hospital—for weeks, then for more than a month. It appeared that the pneumonia had exacerbated the heart condition he had been suffering from for years (and for which, I’m sorry to report, he didn’t take his medications quite as diligently as he should have).

    At some point during that dreary month at Harborview Medical Center, he came to understand that the end had come upon him. He faced this realisation with what I thought was incredible grace and quiet resolve. He said that, a few weeks short of his 68th birthday, he had lived a full, rich life and had accomplished many of the literary goals he had set out for himself. And who can deny that?

    By late March he decided that he would prefer to spend his last days at home, surrounded by his family, friends, and especially his beloved pets (which numbered six cats and two dogs). I spent much of the afternoon of Monday, March 25, with him, and he was indeed surrounded by some of the people (and there are many) who meant so much to him. I was present when, in accordance with his own wishes, his sister Holly turned off the heart pump that was largely keeping him alive. We had been told that this act might result in his death within minutes; but in fact he lingered for about ten hours, passing away in the wee hours of the morning of March 26.

    And yet, I do not wish to speak of his death but of his life. I am no doubt one of many who regard him as one of the kindest, gentlest, most tolerant and generous human beings to have ever walked the earth. I know that the feuding that is so seemingly endemic to our social media culture saddened and dismayed him, and I take responsibility for contributing more than my share of abuse, insult, and billingsgate.

    Many individuals knew him far longer than I did, but I like to believe we gained a special rapport because of our mutual devotion to H. P. Lovecraft. Wilum was reluctant to speak of himself, but he often regaled us with how he discovered the dreamer from Providence while conducting missionary work for the Mormon church, to which he remained devoted (in spite of the church’s own cruel prejudice—now only slightly moderated—against gays and other groups). While dodging bullets and bombs in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s, he stumbled upon a paperback of Lovecraft’s tales and was immediately captivated.

    He wrote for years, even decades, in obscurity—but his creative work was an act of love, not commerce, just as it had been for Lovecraft. He was as surprised as any when, after so many years, he gained a following and saw his work published far and wide. He was tickled when, only a few months ago, a German edition of his tales appeared.

    He and I became close when I moved to Seattle from the East Coast in the fall of 2001. He would often stop by at my house in the university district, on his way to or from the Mormon temple nearby. Later, Mary and I would often have him over for dinner, and we were pleased at how much relish he took in the dishes she offered (and why not?—she is an excellent cook). In particular, we enjoyed sharing with him the large Virginia ham that Derrick Hussey would habitually send to me as a Christmas present.

    He was also a central figure in our local “gang” of Lovecraftians. Although his native shyness made him a largely silent participant in our gatherings, he would occasionally add a charming anecdote or make some other remark that displayed both his shrewdness and his humanity.

    One of the greatest thrills of his life was visiting Providence in 2007, where he could at last walk in the footsteps of his literary master. That trip inspired dozens of tales, including some of his best. He attended the H. P. Lovecraft Festival in Portland as often as his health would allow, although later admitting that such trips (including one that he took just last year) overtaxed him and probably worsened his heart condition. But at least some of his many friends and devotees had a chance to meet him in person as he sat placidly on a bench outside the Hollywood Theatre and spoke a kind word to all and sundry.

    We disagreed on several subjects, but that did not lessen our bond. As an atheist I was bemused by his Mormon faith; and part of the tranquillity he exhibited at the end was inspired by his firm belief that, after his transition out of this life, he would meet all the people who had meant so much to him—not just friends and family members but the great literary figures (Shakespeare, Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, and Lovecraft himself) whom he idolised. If that belief gave him comfort in his final hours, who has the right to deny it to him?

    This is not the place for an evaluation of Wilum’s literary work. Impressive as that work is, it is the human being I care to remember. When Lovecraft himself died, tragically early, there was an outpouring of grief just as there has now been for Wilum; and a longtime friend, Charles W. Smith, summed up his sense of closeness to Lovecraft by the simple words, “He was my friend.” I am one of many who can consider themselves lucky to have been Wilum’s friend. The world is a little poorer without him."
    Thank you for sharing this. Wilum is not someone I was familiar with but this provides a glimpse of the person the world lost.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hearing Voices Ben Staad's Avatar
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    Thank you for posting that from S.T. Joshi.

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement jeffingoff's Avatar
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    These are all beautiful tributes. He seemed to be an amazing man. I wasn't familiar with him, but I'll be sure to seek out his work.

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