Sunday, July 19, 2009

Frank McCourt, 1930-2009

It's been a very rough summer, in terms of the toll of sad obituaries. While much of the country was taken up in the death and funeral of pop singer Michael Jackson, we've seen a number of other deaths recently, including Ed McMahon, Karl Malden, Walter Cronkite, and others. Now, we pass along the sad news that Frank McCourt, the Ireland-born novelist, has passed away at the age of 78.

When McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes, spoke to The Commonwealth Club in November 2007, he was full of great stories about his family, meeting the pope, teaching in New York City, and much more. Though his writings went far beyond the popular Angela's Ashes, he will likely always be remembered for that funny and sad tale of growing up desperately poor in Ireland, and his final escape to the New World of New York City, where he would become a teacher.

His childhood was one of incredible deprivation and loss, but his characteristically sardonic humor persisted to the end, as he urged the attendees of his Club speech to "enjoy your misery."

(Photo by Beth Byrne)


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