Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jean Craighead George and Jim Marti: RIP

Old friends and heroes are dying faster than I can write about them. Jean Craighead George, author of one of my favorite childhood books*, My Side of the Mountain, and sister to the even better- known conservationists and falconers , the twin brothers Frank and John, died last week at 92. NYT here , Wiki here , her own home site here.

Jim Marti of North Dakota was a few years older than me, and not only the best trainer of pointing dogs, mostly setters, that I ever knew, and author of the best contemporary training manual, but a better novelist and storyteller than most in his generation. He circulated his manuscripts like Samizdat among his friends and laughed about selling them; his Dog Town, funny and poignant and tough- minded, was as good or better than most that sold and were praised in reviews. Apparently he and his partner Jet Collins had some difficult health problems the last few years, but I never heard a word of complaint. If you know her, or if you just appreciate good dogs and writing, drop her a card; Baldwin ND would probably get there, but I will send you an address.

* When I told Frank that his family had been one of the biggest influences on my life, at the brother's 80th birthday party in Jackson Hole, he quavered (he had advanced Parkinson's): "We-e- ell... I h- h- h- hope we d-d-d didn't r- ruin it entirely!"

6 comments:

Retrieverman said...

My Side of the Mountain was one of my childhood faves, too.

I also really like Julie of the Wolves.

This kind of children's literature is hard to come by these days.

My Side of the Mountain is one that would definitely get the PC crowd a bit fired up if it were written today.

Kitty Carroll said...

Another book that she wrote that influence me was : "Summer of the Falcon". Made me not to want to grow up. Still don't want to.

dr. hypercube said...

Damn - Marti too? I have his _Burnt_Creek_Method_ on my gun dog shelf.

Anonymous said...

This makes me sad, one of my first conversations when I met my husband was our mutual love for "My Side for the Mountain". Both of our boys were turned on to it and read "Summer of the Falcon".
This fascination has led to mmany a great thing. Oh, and Steve gavemme the book to read as a child!

Mike Spies said...

I am sorry to hear of Jim Marti's passing. I have spoken and corresponded with him for years. Most recently I commented to him that my copy of his classic training book was tattered and coming apart. Within a week a fresh, new copy arrived in the mail. Gratis.

A real bird dog man. Rest in Peace, Jim.

A. Lane Batot said...

So sad(although what a great long life!)--I grew up reading so many of Jean's books--still have many in my library! One many people don't know about that I have(a favorite), is "Vulpes The Fox"--an excellent story of a red fox and fox hunting in rural Maryland--highly recommended to all you animal story and hound afficiondos out there.....