Sunday, February 9, 2014

Jack Matthews (1925-2013)

I learned yesterday that Jack Matthews died last year. I regret that I didn't know about his death until yesterday. I regret more that I never knew him, although I saw him often for several years. John Harold Matthews was born on July 22, 1925, in Columbus, Ohio. His résumé‎ alone makes interesting reading, but you can find that on your own. Mr. Matthews was a novelist, short story writer, poet, playwright, essayist, professor of English, and book collector. He was a regular at the local library book sale. Always in good humor, he spoke to everyone he knew and some he didn't. Invariably he wore a sport coat and a bolo tie. Jack Matthews died on Thanksgiving morning, November 28, 2013. I was away and didn't learn of his passing until yesterday when I picked up one of his books at the library. It is called Hanger Stout, Awake!, and it was Jack Matthews' first novel, published in 1967. I have read the first chapter and I am hooked--or maybe I should say I'm hanging on each word.

Jacket design by Robin Sherwood
Original text copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley