This blog isn't to be about me, but I have to confess to one of my interests for this post. I've been a fan of Thomas Wolfe since reading Look Homeward, Angel in 1971 when my father gifted me with this book that had touched him many years before. I'm a charter member of The Thomas Wolfe Society, organized in 1977. So it was with sadness, and surprise at the Michigan connection, to learn of the passing of a Wolfe scholar today:
"Theodore Robert Mitchell (Ted) of Arden, NC, died Saturday, December 6, 2008 at JFK Solace Center in Asheville after a short illness. He was 59 years old.
A native of Oak Park, Michigan, Ted moved to Asheville in 1988. He was employed by Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community and was a volunteer at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site where he had formerly worked as an historic site interpreter for over 13 years. A researcher, scholar and writer, Ted contributed nearly 30 books, essays and articles on American novelist, Thomas Wolfe. His most recent publications included Thomas Wolfe: A Writers Life (1997) and Windows of the Heart: The Correspondence of Thomas Wolfe and Margaret Roberts (2007). Ted was an active member of the Thomas Wolfe Society and was the former director of the long running Thomas Wolfe Festival held annually in Asheville.
Ted’s devotion to and reverence for Thomas Wolfe and his contributions to American letters was second only to his devotion and love for those who were fortunate enough to be counted among his friends and colleagues. Ted’s kind words and thoughtful insights into life’s many challenges were a constant source of inspiration and comfort for those around him. His unique and humorous perspectives on life could bring a smile to even the most hardened of souls. Ted loved the natural world around him and, until his recent illness prevented it, he enjoyed daily walks along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The beauty and grandeur of the mountains of North Carolina never seemed to lose their hold on Ted. A pair of binoculars was always by his living room window so that he could occasionally gaze upon the majesty of Mt. Pisgah in the distance.
Ted was the son of the late Ilias and Edna Mitchell. A brother, David, predeceased him. Ted leaves behind a brother, Rick Mitchell, and sister-in-law, April, of Royal Oak, Michigan, as well as an extended family of loving friends, colleagues, residents of Deerfield Retirement Community and members of the Thomas Wolfe Society.
Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals, 208 W. State St., Black Mountain, NC. A memorial service celebrating the life of Ted will be held Thursday, December 11, at 4:00 pm at St. Giles Chapel on the campus of Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Center, 1617 Hendersonville Road."
My heartfelt condolences to family and friends.