I remember coming home from classes to find Art reading the bible for hours with some scraggly looking, older guy, an “ole fart” to me.  I knew even then that Art found climbing as his path to connecting with his spirituality…. Not the bible, and I was left wondering.. What was that about?  Only later did I find out that the “guy” was some climber type named Layton Kor, and only much, much later who that even was.....  and why Art would spend hours with him just to grab a few snatches of climbing stories and tips.  That was his love of climbing.   

Besides Layton Kor, Jim Erickson, Jim’s dog Alice (a better climber than I would ever be), David Breashears…the ‘kid”,  “Sweet” Carolyn, Luke, Lonnie, Nancy, and many more passed in and out of those doors and our lives.  Art started bringing home a foppishly beautiful Dianna Hunter, climbing nymph, dancer, and fabulously big hearted young woman.  She once unceremoniously sat at our ill-used piano, and surprised everyone with her skill playing classical music.  It turned out that her waifish clothes belied the upper class lifestyle she turned away from to become a climber.  Art later recalled how she caught him on a BIG fall in Yosemite…. Hoping his protection would hold…. He watched as she bounced up and over and up and over, across from one end to the other of the ledge she was perched on.  Protection unzipping, and then finally holding, he swung over next to her and sat, shaking….. having lived to see another day.

Dianna’s death while climbing shook us all.  Like the Challenger disaster, I can still remember, over 30 years later, exactly where I was and the sights and sounds and smells around me when I learned from Art about her death.

With Layton Kor, Jim Erickson, Dave Breashears, and many more rolling through our doors as friends of Art,  I had no idea until years later, how blessed I was to be witnessing much of early climbing history being written around me. 

Always with a smile, a story at hand, Art charmed his way through those years.  But he would also be someone you could count on when it mattered.  When girlfriend Nancy dislocated her arm reaching behind her between the car seats, stuck in that position interminably who did she want there for her but Art… not the emergency squad…but Art… for he knew what to do and didn’t lack the courage to pull her arm free and painfully pop it back into place.

It was with Art while traveling over backcountry roads in that old car of his - through the Rocky Mountains for the first time that I first saw, often emphasized by the elation in his eyes;… the beauty of nature, impossibly beautiful fall aspen colors for the first time

I have memories of Art taking me skiing, up for my for  only my second time ever… skiing on those old cable bindings and garage sale skis, … Art taking me to the top of Steamboat  mountain and into the trees between the expert slopes… full of fresh powder…. Spending the next ½ hour just digging my way out.   Late that night, cross-country skiing into Strawberry Park (the only way in at that moment), …to heal the soreness of just digging my way out of those trees.

The old beer bottle stretch party game- reaching out beyond the line to delicately send the bottle upright while straining every muscle in one’s torso… the ugliest pud contest, mischievous, good intention, lovely women,   the “hey MIike… let’s wrestle”…. and finding myself wrapped up like a pretzel in about 10 seconds….his sweet but stern grandmother, and fondue with his mother prepared after her drinking some wine and painting every inch of her kitchen in large multi colored polka-dots..-  Art a chip off her block.   Poetry,  painting, chaos theory, more chess, more Bushmills, more smoke, the Grand Tetons, his getting “lucky” three times in one day, three different ladies, three different states:… I hadn’t in months.  More marathon, all day chess games leading into all night chess games, and all weekend chess marathons.  Going bouldering on Flagstaff at 3:00 am, in order to meet the sunrise.  Always a story and a laugh at hand.

  The Last time I saw Art was several years ago, at what I remembered to be his grandmother’s house in the 'Boat.  It was a challenge just to walk across the room for all the projects and books and dead soldiers.  Life was looking a little rough around the edges for Art, but amidst the mess, one thing clearly shined through – Art’s unequivocal love for his son, Tim - who was carving out his own life as a nationally recognized hockey player.  Although I’d always sensed the subtle presence of a hollow place in Art’s heart.... perhaps one left by the absence of his own father… there was never a sign of self pity or wallowing…about anything,  only an attitude, regardless the setback, of pulling up his bootstraps, lacing his shoes, and getting on with life no matter what.  There was always, - only a determination to fill that warm heart, with his own joy for life, and now as a father himself, to fill it with the unquestionable love and pride in his own son.  Today, Tim can assuredly take such pride in the life his father lived, and the true wealth of spirit his Dad brought to this world and those around him.