Saturday, August 22, 2009

Elmer Kelton, R. I. P.

Elmer Kelton dies at 83 : Local : "Award-winning novelist Elmer Kelton of San Angelo died Saturday. He was 83. More details will follow."

I hardly know what to say. Elmer was one of the greats, not just as a writer but as a person. I first met him when I lived in Brownwood, nearly 30 years ago. What a tremendous loss to the writing community and the world.

UPDATE: Elmer Kelton dies at 83 : Local : "SAN ANGELO — Elmer Stephen Kelton, 83, died Saturday. He was born April 29, 1926, at Horse Camp in Andrews County to Mr. and Mrs. R.W. “Buck” Kelton, and grew up on the McElroy Ranch in Upton and Crane counties. He completed his education at the University of Texas after serving in Europe during World War II.

Kelton married Anna Lipp of Ebensee, Austria in 1947 and began a career in agriculture journalism at the San Angelo Standard-Times in 1949. He became editor of the Sheep & Goat Raiser magazine in 1963 and associate editor of Livestock Weekly in 1968, retiring in 1990. Kelton maintained a parallel career as a freelance writer, beginning with short stories in the post-war pulp magazine trade, progressing to novels, non-fiction books and countless magazine articles. In all, he wrote more than 40 books, including “The Time it Never Rained,” “The Wolf and the Buffalo,” “The Day the Cowboys Quit,” and “The Good Old Boys,” which became a Turner Network movie directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones. Kelton was named the number-one Western writer of all time by the Western Writers of America. The WWA voted him seven Spur awards for best Western novel of the year and the career Saddleman Award, and he received four Western Heritage Wrangler awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame."


Rick Klaw said...

This one hurts. Elmer was a true Texas gentleman and one of the greatest writers of his generation, western or not. He will be missed.


Unknown said...

Amen to that, Rick.

Cap'n Bob said...

I've started reading him recently and I wish I'd started decades ago.

Anonymous said...

There is something in this that is searingly beautiful. He rose to become the finest novelist of the West of all time. And yet he spent a lifetime as an agricultural journalist, with the Goat and Sheep Raisers magazine, and the Livestock Journal, continuing with his sweaty daily work until his retirement. He supported a wife and family all his life, never abandoning his secure living for the glamour--and treachery--of a life as a novelist. There was, in this humble sensibility and humility, a greatness almost beyond our fathoming.

Richard Wheeler

Richard Prosch said...

Sad news indeed. Bill, thank you for the posting.

George said...

I've read Elmer Kelton's work for decades. The man was a gifted writer. I hope to read every book he ever wrote.

Hope said...

We will all miss Elmer Kelton. Not only was he a gifted writer, he was one of nicest persons I've ever met.
He had no ego (a man who received numerous - and well deserved - awards), but he always exhibited kindness and consideration to everyone.