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Obit: Art Thieme (1941-2015)

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Phil Cooper 27 May 15 - 06:35 AM
GUEST 27 May 15 - 06:38 AM
maeve 27 May 15 - 06:43 AM
Richard Bridge 27 May 15 - 06:45 AM
CapriUni 27 May 15 - 06:48 AM
Megan L 27 May 15 - 07:13 AM
wysiwyg 27 May 15 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,gillymor 27 May 15 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,# 27 May 15 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,Mary Katherine 27 May 15 - 07:52 AM
gnu 27 May 15 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,Dani 27 May 15 - 08:20 AM
Will Fly 27 May 15 - 08:25 AM
Brian Peters 27 May 15 - 08:27 AM
GUEST 27 May 15 - 08:27 AM
Roger the Skiffler 27 May 15 - 08:42 AM
bbc 27 May 15 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,AllisonA (Animaterra) 27 May 15 - 08:48 AM
Little Robyn 27 May 15 - 08:52 AM
fat B****rd 27 May 15 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Gerry 27 May 15 - 09:36 AM
Dave the Gnome 27 May 15 - 09:52 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 27 May 15 - 10:02 AM
Sandra in Sydney 27 May 15 - 10:11 AM
Stilly River Sage 27 May 15 - 10:12 AM
Mrrzy 27 May 15 - 10:13 AM
Padre 27 May 15 - 10:18 AM
Benjamin 27 May 15 - 10:36 AM
Cool Beans 27 May 15 - 10:42 AM
Alice 27 May 15 - 10:51 AM
Bill D 27 May 15 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Don Meixner 27 May 15 - 11:45 AM
Amos 27 May 15 - 12:16 PM
Elmore 27 May 15 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Dharmabum 27 May 15 - 12:21 PM
RoyH (Burl) 27 May 15 - 12:26 PM
PHJim 27 May 15 - 12:35 PM
frogprince 27 May 15 - 12:37 PM
GUEST 27 May 15 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Guest (Tracy) 27 May 15 - 01:06 PM
babypix 27 May 15 - 01:06 PM
SINSULL 27 May 15 - 01:17 PM
Mark Ross 27 May 15 - 01:24 PM
Deckman 27 May 15 - 01:28 PM
JedMarum 27 May 15 - 01:32 PM
BigDaddy 27 May 15 - 01:47 PM
Bert 27 May 15 - 02:19 PM
Morticia 27 May 15 - 02:21 PM
Joe Offer 27 May 15 - 02:32 PM
Rex 27 May 15 - 03:14 PM
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Subject: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 27 May 15 - 06:35 AM

I just saw on Facebook that Art Thieme has passed away. I had the privilege of knowing Art since the mid 1980's. We had the opportunity to drive him to a couple Folk Alliance conferences (one, where he was given a life time achievement award). Loved hearing his stories. RIP.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: GUEST
Date: 27 May 15 - 06:38 AM

I've the priviledge to talk with him here a couple of times. Sad to hear the news. RIP Art.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: maeve
Date: 27 May 15 - 06:43 AM

No words- here's the man:
Art Thieme sings Casey Jones


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 May 15 - 06:45 AM

Shame. He seemed a nice chap.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: CapriUni
Date: 27 May 15 - 06:48 AM

One of my favorite chat partners, back when MudChat was around. I will miss him.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Megan L
Date: 27 May 15 - 07:13 AM

My thoughts go to his family.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 May 15 - 07:25 AM

RIP, and condolences to his wife, family, and friends.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 27 May 15 - 07:29 AM

The funniest guy I never met. Rest in peace, Art.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: GUEST,#
Date: 27 May 15 - 07:31 AM

RIP, Art.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: GUEST,Mary Katherine
Date: 27 May 15 - 07:52 AM

So sorry to hear this. Condolences to Carol and Chris.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: gnu
Date: 27 May 15 - 07:53 AM

Very sad news. RIP, Art... and thanks.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 27 May 15 - 08:20 AM

I didn't know him in his musical past, but I will miss him as a gentle spirit here. He was very kind to me once when I reached out for help; deeply honest, generous and kind. I am grateful.

Warm wishes for you Thiemes, and may the good memories flow like the incoming tide and swallow your grief.

Dani


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 May 15 - 08:25 AM

RIP Art - a sad loss.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 May 15 - 08:27 AM

I was just listening to a CD of his in the car, thanks to Roy Harris who lent it to me. Nice, unpretentious singing, putting the song and story across well, good picking, and some interesting repertoire. We need more like that.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: GUEST
Date: 27 May 15 - 08:27 AM

A loss, no question about it. A lovely man. I'm so sorry.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 27 May 15 - 08:42 AM

Yes, glad I've got a CD to remember him by, only met him here. obviously a rare and interesting man who experienced the American Folk scene over the decades.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: bbc
Date: 27 May 15 - 08:43 AM

So sorry to hear this news! I only knew him through mudcat & his music, but he was one of the great souls. He will live on, through our memories & his legacy of music (& wit). Safe passage, my friend!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: GUEST,AllisonA (Animaterra)
Date: 27 May 15 - 08:48 AM

Sorry to hear this. Art was so kind to me in the early days- I still have his musical map of the US somewhere. Go in peace, Art, and sing some songs with Sandy, Rick, Kat, Pete, Utah and Spaw and all the others.

The heavenly choir just get noisier and more boistrous as ol' Devil Time marches on.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Little Robyn
Date: 27 May 15 - 08:52 AM

Bye Art.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: fat B****rd
Date: 27 May 15 - 08:57 AM

RIP Mr.Thieme


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 27 May 15 - 09:36 AM

Very sorry to read this. Fan of his from his days on the radio in the late 70s or early 80s.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 May 15 - 09:52 AM

A sad loss indeed. Condolences to all his family and friends.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 27 May 15 - 10:02 AM

A terrible loss. I'm so sorry to hear this.

R.I.P. Art.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 27 May 15 - 10:11 AM

I'll miss him - we corresponded on occasion over the years.

Years ago he sent me & Bob Bolton an MP3 (title Everything - Art Thieme) of concerts dating back to 1978 & Bob converted them to a collection of CDs.

I'm currently listening to "Come to the hills" from 'Live at No Exit' 16 February '78.

RIP Art, & condolences to Carol & Chris & his family

sandra


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 May 15 - 10:12 AM

Our late Katlaughing (Kat LaFrance) had regular conversations with Art over the years, so I want to note the condolences that surely would have come from her.

I spoke to Art a number of times over the years, and know he had a special fondness for the members of Mudcat. Twice we rallied and sent new computers to Art. On the first occasion he was preparing to process his music and photo collection to donate to the Smithsonian and his computer died. After consultation amongst ourselves we researched computers, software, discs, and more, and pooled resources to send the computer and materials. The second time was to send a laptop with a touch screen that would allow him more access to the world outside as Multiple Schlerosis slowly compressed his ability to use the standard mouse and keyboard.

Condolences to Art's wife Carol and son Chris and his family - don't be strangers.

Art Thieme posts when he was logged on (there are lots of guest Art Thieme posts also)

Here is the text of an article about Art that Kat posted in 2006:

GOING WITH THE MUSICAL FLOW
by
Lynn Van Matre

The year was 1959, and Americans were humming the chorus of "Tom Dooley," the Kingston Trio hit that catapulted folk music to the top of pop charts a year earlier. In Chicago, the urban folk scene was in full flower, with clubs like the Gate of Horn and Mother Blues drawing standing-room only crowds and prompting countless would-be troubadours to take up guitar or banjo.

One of those budding musicians was teenager Art Thieme, who hung out at clubs with other young hopefuls like David Crosby and Cass Elliot. The fledgling folkie made his performing debut that December at a coffeehouse in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood.

"The admission was $1, and the deal was that I got 25 percent of the door," Mr. Thieme recalls. "I went home with 25 cents."

The fad for traditional folk songs eventually ran its course; by the mid-1960's the Beatles had invaded America and rock reigned supreme. Young performers like Crosby and Elliot left Chicago and the traditional scene to join folk-rock pop groups such as the Byrds and the Mamas and the Papas.

But Art Thieme had fallen in love with the old tunes, songs from the American experience that told what he calls "the camaraderie and hopes and dreams and tragedies of real folks." Over the next four decades he would perform the ballads he loved at venues throughout the Midwest and beyond, forging a reputation as a topflight interpreter of American traditional music and a captivating storyteller with a penchant for puns.

Today, at 64, Mr. Thieme qualifies as something if an elder statesman the traditional folk scene, and he keeps his hand in on several fronts. His column, "The Unreconstructed Folksinger," appears on the Plank Road Music Society Web site (www.plankroad.org), maintained by Chicago area folkies.

Plans call for a retrospective CD to be released later in 2006 by Folk-Legacy records (www.folklegacy.com), home to two earlier Thieme CDs. Most recently, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. contacted Mr. Theime about acquiring for their archives – and possible display – hundreds of pictures the amateur photographer has taken of folk performers over the years.

Slowed Down

But the longtime Chicago folk fixture no longer performs in public due to multiple sclerosis, diagnosed in the mid-1990's. The disease causes him problems with mobility, short-term memory and manual dexterity. Mr. Thieme acknowledges that dealing with MS is far more challenging than the difficulties he encountered in decades on the road.

"It's frustrating as hell to not be able to play my instruments," says Mr. Thieme, who accompanied himself in performances on guitar, banjo, and musical saw. "I miss that more than I can ever say. But I go forward day by day.

"The calluses on my fingers are gone because I can't fret my instruments, but my hide is thicker and tougher," he adds. "I can take more now than I could in earlier times, because I'm learning to take what comes rather than always trying to control the uncontrollable."

Mr. Theime spends part of his days taking care of Carol, his wife of 38 years, who has battled severe depression for more than a decade.

"I take care of her and she takes care of me," he says. The couple shares an apartment in Peru, Ill., where they moved in the 1980s to provide better schooling for their son, Chris, now grown.

"With me being a folksinger, we couldn't afford to live in the Chicago suburbs that had good schools," Mr. Thieme says. "So we came to Peru, which was a good move. I was on the road a lot, and Carol stayed home to raise our son."

In addition to playing clubs and festivals, Mr. Thieme performed in Chicago-area schools for more than 20 years as part of the Urban Gateways arts education program. His summers often were spent on the Mississippi River, playing for passengers on excursion boats running between Le Claire, Iowa, and Galena, Ill. His days on the riverboats taught him a number of things, not the least of which was patience.

"Our boat would go through locks twice every day," Mr. Thieme explains. "If we got to the locks with no tows ahead of us, we would lock through in maybe 30 or 40 minutes. But if we were behind a 'double tow' – we had no choice except to wait while they broke the barges in two parts and put each half through separately."

'Another lock delay'

"It took me a couple of years to realize it wasn't in my best interest to get ticked off at the fickle finger of fate. After that, (during delays) I just looked around and gloried in the beauty and serenity that was all around me. So now, I try to remind myself that it's just another lock delay – time to look around and see what amazing floats are coming along in the never-ending aquatic parade. All of us have our own private river that is our personal Grail hunt, our personal adventure.

"I wish I could see it that way all the time," Mr. Thieme adds. "I can't; none of us can. We all have plenty of times we can practice, though."

Longtime Appalachian folksinger Jean Ritchie recalls hearing Mr. Thieme the first time in the late 1960s and being impressed with the youthful performer.
"My husband, George Pickow, and I were doing a cross-country tour (that included) a booking at a coffeehouse in Milwaukee," says Ms. Ritchie. "I was kind of nervous, but my host said, 'Oh, are you lucky! One of our most treasured local folks has requested that he be on the bill with you tonight.' He ushered me into the little artist's-lurking-room and there was a big bunch of garden flowers, and Art Thieme standing beside it, grinning.

"It was a wonderful evening for me. Art did the opening spot, doing a few songs I knew and several I had never heard before but liked a lot, and then he told a long, funny story. By the time I went onstage, my nervousness was all gone. Art radiates warmth and fun."

By the mid-1970s, Mr. Thieme had begun recording, first for a California record label called Kicking Mule and later for Connecticut-based Folk-Legacy. In addition to the retrospective "Chicago and Points West," Folk-Legacy founder Sandy Paton says the label plans to release a CD of Thieme's shows aboard the Mississippi riverboat the "Julia Belle Swain."

"I can think of no one in the so-called 'folk revival' more capable of holding an audience spellbound with his presentation of traditional ballads and songs," Mr. Paton says. "If we can help Art receive even a part of the national recognition he deserves, we are willing to work hard to do so."

Mr. Thieme enjoys recalling stories from his early days on the folk scene, including the time author Nelson Algren bought the fledgling troubadour a beer.

"It was the first beer I ever had in a bar," Mr. Thieme says. "It was at the original Second City, on Clark Street. I would hang out there drinking Cokes and listening to the cool conversations. Algren kept after me to have a beer, but they wouldn't serve me because I was too young. So one day he slid his beer down the bar to me and winked at the bartender, who just turned around, exasperated."

Mr. Thieme , whose early influences included the New Lost City Ramblers, Odetta and Chicago street musicians Blind Arvella Gray, says he believed – and still believes – that the main job of a true folksinger is to explore and preserve the past.

"Modern singer-songwriters look at today's personal dramatic situations and traumas," he says. "Some of today's songwriters will become legends, but from where I sit, most of them will not become folksingers. It's only when songs are a result of looking at people of the past, and studying how they chronicled their lives, that they're real folk songs. That's what it comes to, in a nutshell, to me. I considered myself a folksinger about 60 per cent of the time – maybe a little more, I hope."


Maggie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 May 15 - 10:13 AM

Aw man, the vanguard advances. So very sorry. Love to the family and the rest of the Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Padre
Date: 27 May 15 - 10:18 AM

May he rest in peace.

Padre


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Benjamin
Date: 27 May 15 - 10:36 AM

Thank you for contributions and for everything you shared in your music and in your life! We will always miss you and remember you Art!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Cool Beans
Date: 27 May 15 - 10:42 AM

I knew him only through recordings and Mudcat, but I liked him very much. RIP, Art.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Alice
Date: 27 May 15 - 10:51 AM

My sympathy goes out to Art's family. He was a very special man and a very special musician. A treasure to the Mudcat community here, rest in peace, Art.

Alice in Montana


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Bill D
Date: 27 May 15 - 11:14 AM

I had the good fortune to see Art live several times during his prime, and bantered with him on Mudcat after he joined. He also provided me with a couple of treasured items...one by just knowing an obscure song, and one by duplicating an unpublished tape of a mutual friend who has also passed away.

Art was a treasure.... a singer, a generous source of knowledge, a raconteur, a gentleman, and a fighter who made the best of the sad hand life dealt him in his later years.

Miss him? I have missed him for quite awhile already... but this is different.

Bye Art... and thank you for everything


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 27 May 15 - 11:45 AM

Art was a friend. I'll miss him.

Don


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Amos
Date: 27 May 15 - 12:16 PM

Art Thieme is a great spirit and was a top-drawer human being. He was a truly decent man. And he was a highly accomplished performer whose versions of numerous songs are classics. I learned a lot just from listening to him tell his stories (remember the Lock Moss Nesters?) and sing his songs. He could make you roll on the floor laughing and seconds later have you weeping sympathetic tears. (It was so cold in Chicago an exhibitionist came up to me and described himself, thats how cold it was!)

But I am glad he's free of the surly bonds, out where he can sing as loud and as long as he wants to now.

A


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Elmore
Date: 27 May 15 - 12:17 PM

Sorry to hear this.I enjoyed his music and his posts on Mudcat. It seems that Art handled his health issues with great courage.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: GUEST,Dharmabum
Date: 27 May 15 - 12:21 PM

Rest in peace Art.
Thanks for the music.
   

DB.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 27 May 15 - 12:26 PM

Art my friend. I'm sad that you are gone, but I take consolation in knowing that the pain and frustrations your illness gave you are now over. Thank you for the music,the stories,and the pleasure of your company. Rest in Peace. Condolences to Carol and Chris.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: PHJim
Date: 27 May 15 - 12:35 PM

I didn't know Art personally, but it's hard to be involved in the folk community and not know about him and his "This Machine Kills Time" banjo head.

Condolences to his friends and family.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: frogprince
Date: 27 May 15 - 12:37 PM

Another of the real good ones gone : ( I had opportunity to see Art just a bit around the Chicago folk scene before moving from that area thirty years ago. He was one of the most positive and entertaining contributors here so long as he was able. Certainly one of the world's masters of the utterly shameless pun. Rest in peace, Art, and condolences to the family.

          Dean Elkins


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: GUEST
Date: 27 May 15 - 12:46 PM

Art was an engaging performer and a tireless researcher of the old songs and their origins. He share much with me on the old songs and it was fun to compare notes as it were. I will miss his cheerful additions to this forum.

Rex


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: GUEST,Guest (Tracy)
Date: 27 May 15 - 01:06 PM

Throughout all those years on the road it was always a great pleasure whenever Art was there too.
Rest in Peace, Art!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: babypix
Date: 27 May 15 - 01:06 PM

Art was a dear friend, an encourager, and inspiration. He was family. As a Chicagoan (now transplanted), I cannot remember when his name wasn't around the folk scene. He was indeed, our "Master of the Sheepfold". The world won't be the same without him. And neither shall we.

with deepest sadness from Deborah Robins (and Larry Hanks)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: SINSULL
Date: 27 May 15 - 01:17 PM

A kind, gentle man. RIP, Art.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Mark Ross
Date: 27 May 15 - 01:24 PM

A shining example of what a folksinger should be and do. I used to call him up every once in a while to trade jokes and stories. A very bright light has gone out.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Deckman
Date: 27 May 15 - 01:28 PM

Someone recemtly told me that "we do what we do because we love what we do" ... Art was that kind of person and he certainly enriched my life. bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: JedMarum
Date: 27 May 15 - 01:32 PM

I was so saddened to see this news; so sad to Art's passing. He was a jewel to the world, especially to the world of folk music. My thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones. My eternal thanks to Mudcat, where Art's thoughts, wisdom and humor will "shine" for years to come!!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: BigDaddy
Date: 27 May 15 - 01:47 PM

Art was always one of those that made Mudcat a warm, welcoming place. His passing will leave another big hole in the fabric of the Mudcat quilt. R.I.P., Art.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Bert
Date: 27 May 15 - 02:19 PM

Bye Old Fella.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Morticia
Date: 27 May 15 - 02:21 PM

So. so sorry to hear this.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 May 15 - 02:32 PM

I suppose we all knew this was coming, but it still hurts so bad. I always meant to call him on the phone, or to stop and visit when I was in the Midwest. I came so close to doing that a number of times, but never did. I guess it wasn't meant to be.

But we shared so much online and by mail, and that was wonderful. Art, thank you for everything you have been to so many of us.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Obit: Art Thieme (1941-2015)
From: Rex
Date: 27 May 15 - 03:14 PM

I will keep telling the tale of his Western road trip where he met Del Bray in a saloon in Cheyenne and learned the cowboy version of Barbara Allen. That was in 1960 when he came out West with a friend. In a microbus of course.

Rex (signed in now)


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