Friday, October 14, 2011

Autumn memories and events


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH

October in the Wood River Valley traditionally seems to be a period of remembrances and vital activity. Last weekend, the 15th annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival was presented and greatly enjoyed by thousands of sheep lovers. This year's parade was a model of proficiency with everything working so smoothly that lulls were no more and the 1,500 sheep arrived in an orderly fashion some 45 minutes after the beginning, right on time.

Wednesday marks the opening of the 22nd annual Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree as RVs jam the River Run parking area, carrying jazz enthusiasts from all over the country. The festival is now under the direction of Carol Loehr, daughter of the late Tom and Barbara Hazzard, founders of the event, thereby keeping another tradition alive.

Within the timeframe of these two wonderful and fun-filled events, sadness hit the valley as two equally wonderful and fun-filled men passed on.

Pat Murphy, columnist for the Idaho Mountain Express, died peacefully in a Boise hospital on Oct. 1 with his wife, Betty, at his side. Pat was an international journalist for more than 60 years who graced our valley in the latter part of his life, stirred our feelings with his writing style and was a personal friend of mine. I could always count on Pat for a good laugh and a column idea. He will be missed.

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The second friend that passed was Steve Pruitt, local architect and local theater enthusiast. Steve was a kind and talented man, liked and admired by all and loved by his family and friends. He was a consummate performer who loved to sing, act and dance. His wife, Collette, daughters, Gariety and Kelley, were with him at death along with his beloved dog, Mavis.

Both men will be honored in their own way at memorial services—Pat on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 11 a.m. at the Ketchum Cemetery with a graveyard service with full military honors and Steve on his birthday, Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. at the nexStage Theatre with the musical performances that highlighted his life.

It is significant to me that both men died in the most beautiful and comforting of all seasons amid the enjoyment of crowds of people here for two of our most popular local events.

Loved you, guys, and it was always nice talking to you.




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