George Anastaplo died about 9:15 PM, February 14.
I spoke to George for the last time several days ago. He told me of his diagnosis and about his growing weakness. He spoke quietly as he always spoke but with a tone of uncertainty. He had tried in vain to get something more specific from his doctors, as far as how much time he might have so he could measure out finishing some of his work. No one could tell him anything. When I called again today to see a about a visit, his daughter Helen told me he had died.
George had many friends and admirers and I was among them. Many will have stories of their friendship. His friendship sustained me at critical times in my own life. In the early 1980s, when I was in the grip of a suicidal depression, George visited me in the hospital. The season must have been spring or early fall because he wore sneakers. He listened quietly as I poured out my lament about the elusive, uncaring doctors who were deceiving me. When my tirade had finished, George said, “Yes, that may be true but why aren’t you writing?'”
I stared at him in bewilderment. Hadn’t he heard me? The cursed doctors were driving me crazy with their deceptions! I was worn out in frantic, futile pursuit!
“I heard what you told me,” George said with that little smile. “But why aren’t you writing?”
George returned to the hospital the following day bringing three, four lined yellow pads and half a dozen pens. And for the following days I remained in the hospital, I wrote.
Students, fellow teachers, all will have their stories. George was a philosopher as well as a student of philosophy and would have accepted the wisdom of death. In a world where the moment we are born we are old enough to die, George lived a fulfilling eight and a half decades, nurturing the lives of those he touched through his teaching and writing, loving his children, caring for his wife.
Let our friend rest now. He is at peace beyond the grasp of hospitals, doctors, needles and tubes. Feel sorry instead for the rest of us poor devils who must go on living with all those afflictions still before us. Harry Mark Petrakis
A few years ago I went to Chicago from Paris (France) in order to meet Mr Anastaplo as a previous Leo Strauss’ student and a Chicago University alumni. Professor.Anastaplo was then a very kind and friendly guide to the living memory of the University and to people who made this University a new Athens. I remember that the first thing he has scheduled for us was to attempt to a Shakespeare’s play : “Much ado about nothing”. Pr. Anastaplo was kind and gentle, observing a rare taste and curiosity to people. Through him, we met some other very friendly people from Chicago, devoted to his educational vocation.
I received a letter from him 10 days ago. I couldn’t answer to him, unfortunately.
Rest in peace George… I admired the way that you lived and the ideas that you stood for.
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This blog was created by Joel Rich, and maintained by him until his death in June 2011. The blog is now maintained by John Metz (firstname.lastname@example.org).