UNKNOWN CAUSES • by Seth Gannon

Thomas Stearns Murray, playground pugilist, defender of younger sister, instigator of the sixth-grade riot, Warner High shortstop and expellee, premarital experimentation enthusiast, keeper of the barometric pressure log, repentant fellow traveler, aspiring shipping magnate, burier of parents, inheritor of wealth, Kabbalah-curious Zoroastrian convert and one-time impresario of the Missoula dancing bears, intermittent spiritualist and occasional stock broker, non-talker about the war (Korea), reader of novels, reciter of Shakespeare, returner of books thought lost, terror of the parking authority, keeper of pigeons, simplifier of equations, pursuer of plus-ones, familiar of grifters and waitstaff the continent over, intriguer extraordinaire, reluctant analysand, welterweight contender in the masters division, evacuee of Mount Saint Helens ‘80 and Grenada ‘83, peruser of three dailies and two weeklies, subscriber to seven, unrequited White House correspondent, amateur Waco-siege commentator, tiresome Alan Greenspan skeptic, semi-successful rare-metal speculator, borderline talk-radio paranoiac, burier of sister, renouncer of politics, collector of butterflies, renouncer of butterflies, amateur dietician, and dispenser of advice on all subjects, a community-center gadfly who elevated dilettantism to an art form and fought a lifelong struggle against his own prodigality, whose memoirs were oft-requested and never fulfilled, who is survived by his alleged children, grandchildren, and presumed great-grandchildren, he of the diminished eyesight and poorly healed fractures, died at his home on Monday of unknown causes. He was 92.

Seth Gannon lives, reads, and writes in Portland, Oregon. This story and bio are the most concise he has ever been.

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