A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine passed away. Terry Phliger, who lived in Michigan, died only days from his 69th birthday and only hours before his scheduled resettlement in Ontario.
Terry was an artist, professor, humourist, practical joker, story-teller and a compassionate and highly intelligent human being. His mind and spirit were powerful, which was obvious in all he did and said. He was also a person who continually encouraged me, whether in my personal life or in my creative one. His humour and laser-sharp, insightful responses would usually leave me chuckling and encouraged, while sending my problems fleeing to some decrepit corner where, safe from Terry’s iron-clad diagnosis, they could sulk and suck their miserable thumbs away.
I’ll miss Terry. As astute a man as I have ever known and one who, I’m sure, if there is an afterlife, is already planning some heavenly prank or is busily becoming a pain in the devil’s ass.
Additional Observations from Larry's email:
The Terry Pfliger memorial gathering was a fairly intimate occasion. We gathered at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre where I got to meet with some of his family, a few of his fellow teachers and some of his former students who attended the Fine Arts Program at St. Lawrence College.
I would like to slip in here, that when they cancelled the Fine Arts Program, the higher ups also diminished the soul and spirit of the college. I believe there is always room for the clown and for the creative spirits who push the boundaries to areas where there's still room to breath and change. Terry was definitely one of those individuals and the students loved him.
Anyway, at the gathering, drinks and food were available. We watched a slide show of some of Terry's art work, a few photos of Terry, heard him presenting his egg lecture, and then we socialized for a while before it was time to go home.