In Memoriam: Larry C. Randen

randenIt is with great sadness that we report the death of member Larry C. Randen, 75, of Rosemount, Minn. Larry, who died Nov. 4, 2016 from heart disease, was well known in Updike studies, not only for the papers he’s published, but for the years he spent as an assistant editor for The Centaurian, helping editor Jim Yerkes identify publication-worthy items. When The Centaurian ceased publication, he offered his services to The John Updike Society, and with David Lull had been finding newsworthy items for the society webpage since the very beginning.

Larry further demonstrated his dedication to Updike studies by donating his papers to The John Updike Collections of the Alvernia University Archives and Special Collections, assembled by The John Updike Society to further Updike scholarship in the city that meant so much to the author. The Larry C. Randen Collection contains items collected by Larry, including clippings of news reviews, interviews, and other items related to John Updike. While the rest of us were naively thinking that once something was posted online it would always be there, Larry had the foresight to make hard copies of the things that were published in The Centaurian and on the society website, so that even if the server crashes or data is lost (as it was in the case of The Centaurian) those articles are preserved.

Larry was a tremendous asset to the society and a tireless contributor to Updike scholarship. He will be sorely missed, and the society offers condolences to his wife, Lollie; children Christopher and Heidi; Lollie’s children Brian, Amber, and Amanda; sisters Jill and Susan; brother William; AFS Brother Hans; and his grandchildren. We want you all to know how important Larry was to this society and that the work he did lives on, for which we are grateful. Here is the full obituary: larry-c-randen

A Celebration of his Life will be held Tuesday, Nov. 29, between 2-4 p.m. at the Cremation Society of Minnesota, 7110 France Ave. S., Edina, Minn. For more information, call (952) 924-4100.

Celebrating the life of a portrait artist who once painted Updike

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 7.26.45 PMGail McCarthy of the Gloucester Times posted an article earlier today on “Remembering a portrait artist; Celebration to recall legacy of Aphia Carman.” 

A celebration slated for 2 p.m. Sunday, July 24, 2016, will be held at “the barn” on 43 Rocky Neck Ave. in Gloucester, Mass. Aphia Hayward Carman was a portrait artist who operated a gallery and studio in Gloucester for 40 years but “her talent was in high demand,” McCarthy writes, “even after she closed her Rocky Neck Art Colony business.

The celebration of her life will be hosted by her children, Patty Carman Blonda and Tim Carman.

“Carman was once known as the ‘Grand Dame’ of Rocky Neck. She painted portraits of locals as well as others throughout the North Shore, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Updike, who also sought her out for a portrait,” McCarthy writes.

“John Nesta, a fellow Rocky Neck artist who lived a few doors down, said Carman (1921-2015) is remembered for her big personality and enormous talent.” According to Nesta, “her portraits were so delightful that even if you didn’t know the family they were still very desirable.”

Carman died last December at the age of 94 in Montana, where she had been living for the past decade with one of her children.

In Memoriam: John Mark Eberhart

EberhartThe literary world has lost another one:  John Mark Eberhart, 52, the former book review editor for The Kansas City Star and the “Book Doctor” on KCUR.

According to a KCUR obituary, Eberhart died today after a long fight with cancer. Eberhart, who earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master’s in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was the book review editor at the Star from 2000 to 2009.

Like so many great and thoughtful book editors, Eberhart had his share of phone interviews and wrote about Updike a number of times. In fact, one of his pieces, “‘Rabbit’ in Retrospect,” will appear in a forthcoming collection of Updike articles and interviews, Native Son: John Updike’s Pennsylvania Interviews—a collection assembled by James Plath that will be published this year by Lehigh University Press. Some wanted money for their reprinted work; Plath said Eberhart was delighted to have one of his pieces on Updike included in a hardcover volume and got the Star to grant permission at no cost. Writing and reading mattered to him the most.

The KCUR obituary says that he took pride in the number of times his byline appeared in the newspaper, and told journalism students in a 2012 article,

“Your writing is something that is going to develop over a long period of time….I’m still learning. Writing is tough and getting better at it takes time. Your progress tends to be incremental, not dramatic. Don’t worry about that, just persevere.”

Eberhart was also a poet, whose work appeared in numerous literary magazines and in two collections, Night Watch (2005) and Broken Time (2008).

We extend our deepest sympathies to his family.

In Memoriam: Richard K. Hiester

HiesterRichardCLR_20160205Richard K. Hiester died on Jan. 31, 2016 at the age of 86. Though he was employed for 35 years by Dana Corp. and though he was a U.S. Navy veteran who served during the Korean Conflict, he was perhaps best known in Berks County for his basketball prowess and for his nickname: “Rabbit.” John Updike, three years his junior at Shillington H.S., famously appropriated the nickname in creating his most famous fictional character, Harry Angstrom, the protagonist of four novels and a novella—two of which would win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Memorials can be made to Heartland Hospice, 4 Park Plaza, Wyomissing, PA 19610, or Home Instead Senior Care, 881 Marcon Blvd., Suite 3700, Allentown, PA  18109. Other condolences can be offered on the website of Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, The society offers its sincere condolences to his children, Brian D., husband of Kathleen Hiester, Wernersville, and Todd K. Hiester, Sinking Spring, and his grandchildren.

In Memoriam: Gerald “Jerry” Potts

PottsGeraldCLR_20160120We are saddened to report the sudden death January 18, 2016 of Gerald R. “Gerry” Potts, a  classmate of John Updike’s who was a four-sport athlete at Shillington High School (football, basketball, track, and baseball). He was 85.

Potts, who graduated ahead of Updike and the Class of 1950, kept in touch with Updike later in life, especially after the Reading Eagle published a story naming him as a possible model for Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom. Updike sent him a postcard saying, no, he wasn’t, and Potts, who believed in the society’s mission, donated his Updike letters to the Updike archive at Alvernia several years ago.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 8.44.40 AMPotts retired in 1980 but has been an active community member for all of his life, serving on the Shillington Borough Council, the Shillington Zoning and Planning Commission, and the Governor Mifflin School Board, among other organizations.

Here is his obituary. Potts is pictured (left) on his front porch in 2011 with Dave Silcox, Updike’s Shillington contact in whose dining room the first formative meeting of the society took place. The society offers sincere condolences to his wife, Shirley, and children Lori, Richard, and Andrew, all of Shillington.

Services will be 9:30 a.m. at the Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, 739 Penn Ave., West Reading. Contributions may be made to Governor Mifflin School District, ℅ Funds for Future Athletic Endeavors, Attn: Pat Tulley, Athletic Director, 10 S. Waverly St., Shillington, PA  19607.

Updike’s former teacher dies

The Society belatedly learned that Kathryn “Kay” Brobst Hartman died on May 24, 2015 in Towanda, Pa., where she lived most of her married life. She was the last surviving teacher that John Updike had as a youth, teaching the young author-to-be reading and science at the 6th grade level. She was 99 years old. Our sympathies (and gratitude for her life) go out to her family.

Funeral announcement


In Memoriam: Ann Karnovsky

The society belatedly learned that member Ann Karnovsky, Ph.D., of Cambridge, Mass., died on Monday, June 23, 2014. Members who attended the 2nd Biennial John Updike Society Conference may recall meeting her, as she attended the event at the Houghton Library and left an impression on a number of us because of how passionate she was about books and manuscripts and Updike in particular. We will miss her. No photo is available.

Here is her obituary, as published in The Boston Globe on June 29, 2014.

In Memoriam: Robert Weatherall

CN13227317_232018We learned belatedly and are saddened to report that John Updike Society member Robert Weatherall died on December 26 at his home in Ipswich, Mass.

Members will remember Bob from the very first conference at Alvernia University in 2010, when he and Mary Weatherall (Updike’s first wife) mingled with registrants and displayed a graciousness that was topped only by their opening their Ipswich house to us for our second conference—even mounting an impressive display of Updike materials, especially for us. Those who interacted with Bob were touched by how genuine and gentlemanly he was, and how giving.

His obituary in The Ipswich Chronicle recalls a full life that began in wartime Britain and had an impact on countless people: “He was a passionate advocate of education and was the first to work to ensure the the Foeffees of Little Neck honored William Payne’s 17th century gift to Ipswich students. He had an abiding interest in the public good, whether it be the welfare of the schoolchildren of Ipswich or access to and stewardship of open spaces.”

Members in the area can attend a memorial that be held at Ascension Memorial Church in Ipswich on January 31 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name may be made to Essex County Greenbelt Association, 82 Eastern Ave., Essex, MA 01929, or to the Ipswich Music, Arts & Drama Association, Inc., Box 449, Ipswich, MA  01938. Visit to send a message of condolence.

Our sympathies go out to Mary and the children. He will be missed.