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Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)

Steve Shaw 16 Jan 16 - 03:30 PM
Elmore 16 Jan 16 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,Barbara 16 Jan 16 - 12:46 PM
Stilly River Sage 15 Jan 16 - 11:31 PM
Benjamin 15 Jan 16 - 07:30 PM
Steve Shaw 15 Jan 16 - 07:29 PM
Steve Shaw 15 Jan 16 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,Jon Pfaff 15 Jan 16 - 07:16 PM
maeve 06 Oct 15 - 01:28 PM
Phil Edwards 25 Sep 15 - 10:10 AM
Deckman 24 Sep 15 - 11:45 PM
Deckman 19 Sep 15 - 02:05 PM
Deckman 18 Sep 15 - 05:11 PM
Roger the Skiffler 18 Sep 15 - 05:53 AM
Amergin 18 Sep 15 - 12:34 AM
Deckman 17 Sep 15 - 11:10 PM
Stewart 17 Sep 15 - 10:24 PM
Stewart 17 Sep 15 - 10:15 PM
Deckman 16 Sep 15 - 04:30 PM
Stilly River Sage 15 Sep 15 - 10:26 PM
GUEST 15 Sep 15 - 09:46 PM
Deckman 15 Sep 15 - 08:24 PM
GUEST,guest iancarterb 15 Sep 15 - 08:01 PM
Deckman 15 Sep 15 - 06:31 PM
Stilly River Sage 14 Sep 15 - 10:52 PM
GUEST,Wife Barbara 14 Sep 15 - 10:38 PM
Steve Shaw 14 Sep 15 - 09:56 PM
Stilly River Sage 14 Sep 15 - 09:48 PM
GUEST,Wife Barbara 14 Sep 15 - 09:33 PM
irishenglish 10 Sep 15 - 09:58 AM
Deckman 10 Sep 15 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Alice Lanczos 10 Sep 15 - 01:57 AM
Deckman 09 Sep 15 - 11:46 PM
Stilly River Sage 09 Sep 15 - 11:15 PM
Janie 09 Sep 15 - 10:14 PM
Deckman 09 Sep 15 - 09:57 PM
GUEST,Ruth Maslan Sassoon 09 Sep 15 - 09:14 PM
GUEST,RoyH 09 Sep 15 - 03:25 PM
Mark Clark 09 Sep 15 - 03:21 PM
The Sandman 08 Sep 15 - 08:26 PM
Deckman 08 Sep 15 - 07:37 PM
Lonesome EJ 08 Sep 15 - 07:19 PM
GUEST,gillymor 08 Sep 15 - 06:43 PM
Brian Peters 08 Sep 15 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,MikeL2 08 Sep 15 - 02:23 PM
SINSULL 08 Sep 15 - 01:29 PM
Rob Naylor 08 Sep 15 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,george austin 07 Sep 15 - 09:48 PM
GUEST,bbc 07 Sep 15 - 06:20 PM
Joe Offer 07 Sep 15 - 04:48 PM
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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Jan 16 - 03:30 PM

I'll second, third and fourth that!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Elmore
Date: 16 Jan 16 - 01:38 PM

Never met him, but loved, and miss his Mudcat posts.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST,Barbara
Date: 16 Jan 16 - 12:46 PM

Thanks so much. For a moment he was alive again.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 11:31 PM

Thank you, Jon and Benjamin. Friends and family always love to read these kinds of stories.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Benjamin
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 07:30 PM

I guess I don't check this site very often these days. Don was a tremendous resource for anything and everything that happened in the Seattle music scene for many years. He spoke of being one of the founding members of the Seattle Classical Guitar Society, which provided a great resource as well as brought numerous world class players through Seattle during my time in college. From the bottom of my heart, I'm grateful for everything Don has done to increase, develop and promote the music and culture of my home town!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 07:29 PM

Flippin' eck, I usually manage to punctuate my long posts reasonably well, but I can't even manage a three-word one! I'll try again. Ahem:

Lovely, Jon. Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 07:26 PM

Lovely, Jon Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST,Jon Pfaff
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 07:16 PM

For some strange reason, as I awoke from a nap a little while ago, I had a thought about Don Firth, so I googled, only to find out he had left us last September. Made me sad.

It was because of Don Firth that I, a classically trained singer, became interested in Folk music, which led to buying a guitar, which led me to learning folk songs and meeting other 'folkies'. Don's tutoring to play guitar and sing at the same time led me to a whole new world in music. Over time it led to the formation of the Talisman Trio which had a life span of several years. The trio passed as small groups do, but by that time I had already returned to college at the U of WA to get a music degree adding to and replacing the math/physics/biology degree from the U of ND. That Music Degree led me to the rest of my wonderful fulfilling life in choral music, which led to opportunities in radio, which led to further opportunities in teaching, broadcasting, world travel and more. To this day I think of Don Firth as one of the most subtle but solid influences I had the incredible good fortune to meet. Don. thank you. May you rest in a wealth of musical peace! Jon


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: maeve
Date: 06 Oct 15 - 01:28 PM

Bob Deckman has posted information about Don's Memorial Service in this thread: thread.cfm?threadid=158294&messages=1


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Sep 15 - 10:10 AM

Only just caught up with this, and I'm so sorry to hear it. Don was always good to chat with on Mudcat; he was a thoughtful, wise and gracious man, or at least he played one on the Internet. I always hoped I'd meet him in person some day, unlikely as it seemed. Well, you know what they say - by and by...!

Sincere condolences to Barbara and to everyone who knew Don well.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Deckman
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 11:45 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Deckman
Date: 19 Sep 15 - 02:05 PM

I think that Don's memorial service will be a "once in a lifetime experience"! bad bad bob


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 05:11 PM

We just returned from our first visit with Don's widow Barbara since Don's passing. She is doing well. As you might have guessed, Don had a very large collection of tapes, books and records. I started to inventory the collection today ... it will take us many trips to Seattle to complete this task. Once everything is cataloged, then Barbara will decide where to place things. She is a retired librarian, so public libraries are part of her nature. bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 05:53 AM

Just caught up with this on return from holiday. Another Mudcat veteran and wise guy (in the good sense). RIP.
Rts


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Amergin
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 12:34 AM

Oh man. I had always wanted to meet him, but never quite got things squared out that I could. I have been up that way Seattle and Everett a couple times this year, to do a show, but always just for a night, and then on the train or bus. I am sorry I missed my chance. To those who knew him, I am sorry for your loss. He always seemed like the neatest person.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 11:10 PM

Thank you Stewart ... bob


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Stewart
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 10:24 PM

And here is an obituary written by Barbara Palecek, Don's wife, including an announcement of his memorial service on Saturday, Oct. 10 in Seattle.


Donald Richard Firth, June 19, 1931 – September 4, 2015, died at Kline Galland care facility in Seattle. A memorial service will be held at 1 pm on Saturday, October 10, 2015 at Central Lutheran Church, 1700 11th Avenue (one block north of Pine on Capitol Hill) in Seattle.

Don will be remembered as a teacher of classic guitar and performer in coffee houses in the 50s and 60s. He was a founding member of the Pacific Northwest Folklore Society. He wrote articles for "Victory Music" and "Singout" magazines and was a regular contributer on the Mudcat Cafe, a website for folk performers and enthusiasts.

His bass-baritone voice was also recognizable on classic KXA (no longer on the air) and KORD in Pascoe. At his retirement he was a technical writer. He had a vibrant interest in astronomy. He was a classic style fencer which he pursued from his youth. Don had polio at the age of two affecting both legs but he excelled despite needing two forearm crutches and only one when fencing, developing a strong defense since he could not use offensive tactics.

Don leaves his wife, Barbara Palecek and son, Donald Firth, sister, Patricia Hansen, nieces nephews and many friends.

His book, IT WAS PLEASANT AND DELIGHTFUL, picturing the Seattle folk music scene of the 50s and after, is being readied for publication by his wife, Barbara, and son, Don.   


Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Stewart
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 10:15 PM

Here's a video of Don Firth singing "Three Ravens" at "Bob Nelson and Don Firth Reunion Concert", Oct. 14, 2007, at Central Lutheran Church in Seattle.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Sep 15 - 04:30 PM

I expect (suspect) that down the road, a memorial hoot will be held to celebrate Don's life and his lifelong commitment to traditional folk music. But right now it's too soon to know when or where. The memorial service is being the next focus. CHEERS, bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Sep 15 - 10:26 PM

If there is a Song Circle celebration later on (fingers crossed!), please let us know. This is the exact date of a family event that we can't miss.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Sep 15 - 09:46 PM

Actually Saturday, October 10, 1:00


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Deckman
Date: 15 Sep 15 - 08:24 PM

OCTOBER 11TH. (stoooopid me)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST,guest iancarterb
Date: 15 Sep 15 - 08:01 PM

Bob- DATE of the memorial? I'm not seeing one -
   Carter


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Deckman
Date: 15 Sep 15 - 06:31 PM

Barbara is busy making the plans for Don's memorial service. His local newspaper obit will be posted soon. The Memorial service will be at 1:00 P.M.at "CENTRAL LUTHERAN CHURCH", 1710 - 11th Ave. (11th and Olive), Seattle, Washington bob(deckman)nelson


Saturday, October 10, 1:00


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 10:52 PM

He was a handsome, man, I do agree. And I was six years old when I made that determination. My much-older self concurs. :)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST,Wife Barbara
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 10:38 PM

Actually I fell in love with him before I heard him sing. His aunt who introduced us just told me that he played the guitar and sang a little. He was arresting at first sight.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 09:56 PM

Lovely post, Barbara. Thank you!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 09:48 PM

Thank you for posting, Barbara. And if we can help you in any way in following up on any of Don's Mudcat posts, let us know. He posted a fair amount of the book here when the topics were timely.

I thought Don was fabulous. I grew up hearing him sing at hoots and family gatherings he attended. That voice - I have no doubt that in just hearing him sing you fell in love with him, and the rest was gravy. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST,Wife Barbara
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 09:33 PM

Thanks for all your kind words. I wept through them all. Don
frequently shared the fun and meaty stuff from Mudcat with me. I, too, feel that I know some of you.

The book has been finished for a long time and in our opinions ready to publish, but like some painters, he couldn't leave it alone. He didn't want to say anything that might put a poor light on another person, obnoxious though they may be. We just need to cross check to be sure to have the latest edits. I think we will publish under the working title "It Was Pleasant and Delightful" which really seems to sum it all up.

I too write and will try to post a couple of chapters of our life somewhere. Not sure where to do that.

Would love to meet you all.
Barbara Palecek Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: irishenglish
Date: 10 Sep 15 - 09:58 AM

Very sorry to hear this. I don't really comment much here these days but when I did Don was always one of my favorites on here. RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Deckman
Date: 10 Sep 15 - 08:27 AM

And "kittos" to you Alice, for all you did. bob


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST,Alice Lanczos
Date: 10 Sep 15 - 01:57 AM

I recently stayed with Don (babysitting he called it) to allow Barbara time for necessary errands. He provided a heartwarming memory. We were saying our goodbyes upon Barbara's return. Don's last words to me were "thank you." Gracious as always.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Sep 15 - 11:46 PM

Don Firth was the stuff of legend, as was the likes of Walt Robertson, Sandy Paton, and countless others.

As the shock of his passing has begun to wear away, "Bride Judy" and I find ourselves spinning rememberings stories all day long: "Do remember the time that ....!"

One of the funnier, and I suspose goofier, stories I well remember about Don's muscianship and quirky humor happened at a marvelous hoot at the north Seattle home of Elmar Lanczos.

Elmar couldn't sing a sing on pitch if he had to, but boy did he love the music and did he know the material. His house had quickly become the most popular "hoot House" around. Most every weekend, a gathering would happen at Elmar's. And these hoots were what made us ...

For several Saturday nights in a row, there was this very attractive young lady who would show up at the hoot, quietly come in, and sit on the floor in a corner. Elmar's home was very close to the University of Washington, so there was always an abundance of attractive young people.

Don, being the classical guitarist he was, would often perform a beautiful version of "Greensleeves", complete with all the verses and guitar breaks.

Usually when this attractive young lady would arrive, she would request that he do "Greensleeves" .... night after night ... week after week ... nothing but "Greensleeves." Don would dutifully oblige. Finally he got sick and tired of doing the same old song, so he carefully prepared a new version" of Greensleeves", just for her. Don had warned me ahead of time just what to expect ... and here it came:

When she next showed up at the hoot, and again requested "Greensleeves", he launched into the loudest, most rocous "talking blues guitar lick" possible, and started chanting the lyrics like this:

"ALAS MY LOVE, YOU DO ME WRONG,
TO TREAT ME SO DISCOURTESLY,
WHEN I HAVE LOVE-E-E-E-D YOU SO LONG
DELIGHTING IN YOUR COMPANY!

GREENSLEEVES ... WAS ALL MY JOY ... GREENSLEEVES, WAS MY DELIGHT!"

For some reason, we never saw her again!   bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Sep 15 - 11:15 PM

When there were hoots at our house in West Seattle or later in Everett, they would always jovially sing a few kids songs before we were sent upstairs to bed. Like we were going to go to sleep - we sat at the top of the stairs (out of sight around the corner) or at the top of the heater vent from the living room and listened to the songs. Our parents knew we were there, as we confirmed when we sang some of those songs ourselves later.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Janie
Date: 09 Sep 15 - 10:14 PM

Thank you to those of you who are beginning share memories of the 3-D Don.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Sep 15 - 09:57 PM

You are so right Ruthy. Those indeed were the days and some of the very essence of Don was so well reflected in what made up these marvelous times and hoots.MY gosh ... you and I were both still in high school when those marvelous hoots started. You even used to host them at your parents home ... how well I remember.

You might remember that if Don was late in arriving, we'd often just dilly dally around because he was "the master." Even if we'd tuned our guitars to suit ourselves, we always knew we'd have to re-tune to match his damned tuning fork.

BUT ... when everyone was finally in tune to his satisfaction ... boy did the music flow. Song after song after story, after bad joke, and then more songs. There was NEVER a single bad energy in room ... we were just all celebrating the music and each other ... and DON WAS KING!

Someone told me recently that at our ages, we should expect these kinds of losses. But I never expect them, and the older I get, the loss is bigger.

Ruthy your advice is good ... remember the love and companioship that he gave. CHEERS, bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST,Ruth Maslan Sassoon
Date: 09 Sep 15 - 09:14 PM

Corny jokes, competitive punning, Don's great voice and encyclopedic
repertoire, Elmer calling, saying "hoot" and giving an address --
great memories. Barbara, and Donnie, please find strength in all the
love Don inspired in all of us.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST,RoyH
Date: 09 Sep 15 - 03:25 PM

Like many others who have posted on this thread I never met Don, but came to feel that I knew him through his postings. So sad to hear of his passing. Condolences to his family and friends. Thanks you Don, and Rest in Peace. ROY


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Mark Clark
Date: 09 Sep 15 - 03:21 PM

Very sad to stop in here today and find this thread. RIP Don Firth. Ya done good.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Sep 15 - 08:26 PM

R.I.P,
I liked his posts, he was a Mudcat poster, whose posts I often agreed with, I will miss him


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Deckman
Date: 08 Sep 15 - 07:37 PM

Don's son Donnie has taken the uncompleted manuscript back to his home, He and Don's widow have vowed to complete the book. bob


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Sep 15 - 07:19 PM

Don said about 5 years ago that he was working on a memoir of his early years, and of the Seattle Folk scene. Was this ever completed? I used to really enjoy Don's stories of those early years. He was the real thing in a world of wannabees.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 08 Sep 15 - 06:43 PM

He seemed like quite a guy and made good use of his time on this earth.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Sep 15 - 05:52 PM

Sad news. I'm another who greatly appreciated Don's posts here.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST,MikeL2
Date: 08 Sep 15 - 02:23 PM

Hi

Such sad news.

Although I was never lucky enough to meet Don, Through Mudcat I feel that I knew him.

Rest In Peace Don.

Condolences to Family & friends.

In sadness
7
Mike


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: SINSULL
Date: 08 Sep 15 - 01:29 PM

Rest in Peace. There is no doubt in my mind that Bob will continue to celebrate his life.
Mary


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 08 Sep 15 - 07:50 AM

So sorry to hear this. I'm another one who only knew him through his posts here, but he came across as a really great guy.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST,george austin
Date: 07 Sep 15 - 09:48 PM

Don was a good friend and an outstanding individual.
My thoughts are with his wife and son during these times and I will miss him.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: GUEST,bbc
Date: 07 Sep 15 - 06:20 PM

Sorry to hear this news!

Best,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Obit: Don Firth (1931-2015)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Sep 15 - 04:48 PM

What I thought about Don, was that he was the Real Thing - not a derivative folkie like me and a lot of us, but a man who had lived through the legendary times of folk music. His stories and his life experiences fascinated me, and his posts were always interesting. His insights were wise, even those few times that I disagreed with him. And in every post, I could see what a good man he was.

Rest in peace, Don. You lived a good life, right to the end. We'll miss you.

-Joe-


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