Earlier this year I noted JDM’s 100th birthday. Today, I thought I would call attention to another JDM anniversary: It was 30 years ago today that our favorite author died in a Milwaukee hospital, after a heart bypass procedure. Here’s the obit from the next day’s New York Times.
JDM went into St. Mary’s Hospital in September 1986 for his operation, developed pneumonia, and spent the last month of his life in a coma. The bypass was apparently sold to him as relatively low-risk of 5 to 8 percent. But afterwards his doctors alluded to JDM being higher risk because his heart disease was more severe, with regard to the arteries that had to be bypassed.
Gone at seventy years old—not that old. What a shame. To quote myself in a wishful mood (from my piece on Cinnamon), if he had lived: “Think! Another eight or ten adventures. Emerald and Fuschia. Jade and Maroon. Black and Ochre. Coral and Beige. Plum and Salmon.” But twenty-one McGees are still a treasure for the ages. Something for us to savor again and again and again.