Farewell To A Curmudgeon

Terry TableThis last Sunday, a group of Nevada City’s hardiest survivors said farewell to another fallen comrade, Mr. Terry Pittsford. When I announced the event a few weeks ago, I was unsure how many would show up. We’re not getting any younger, and with Terry, I didn’t know how many former friends he might have offended before his untimely demise.

Terry Honor TwoAt any rate, I knew we could count on the honor guard, which would have made Terry happy. He was proud of his service as a combat photographer during the Vietnam fiasco, and would have taken some satisfaction that the sound of gunfire probably frightened any hippies that might have been in the vicinity.

Terry GatheringI shouldn’t have worried about attendance. As you can see, there were a good many locals who still had fond memories of Terry, and were willing to admit it in public. There were numerous testimonials lauding his generosity, humor and crankiness.

Richard ThomasOne thing that worried me was the unfortunate absence of Dakota Sid Clifford. (He had a gig in Fremont that day.) Many moons ago Sid had penned a song called “Bullshit” that was as close to an anthem for Uncle Rumple (Terry’s alter ego in his restauranter days) as melodically possible. Fortunately, Richard Thomas stepped in to fill the hall with the familiar chant, with everyone joining in on the chorus.

Terry KVMRThe event was also a reunion, with Bobby Angel traveling all the way from Lost Angeles to relive those early days of KVMR, when it was just a cabin full of tubes and wires on the summit of Banner Mountain. (Shown here with fellow veteran broadcasters Allison Miller and Francisco Lovato.)

Terry PittI’d like to thank everyone who took the time to show up, and help make Terry’s last party a rousing success. We are older now, and our numbers dwindle by the year, but the spirit of Nevada City lives on, as will our memory of Uncle Rumple and the joy he gave us. Amen.

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4 Responses to Farewell To A Curmudgeon

  1. I wish I had the chance to meet him. I only knew Terry through his writing on your blog, but he sounded like somebody worth knowing. It’s rare to find anybody over 70 who is actually worth knowing.

  2. steve cottrell says:


    What a great day it must have been. Sad that Terry passed, but great that so many of the old gang were there to share their memories.

    There reached a point in Nevada City where so many good friends were passing that I stopped going to memorials, but I would have made an exception for Terry.

    He was a gifted writer –– and maybe somewhere in his belongings is the Great American Novel that I always hoped he would write.

    Good that Richard brought his guitar, and wonderful to see Bobby, Francisco and Allison in that photo.

    I will hit 74 this summer. My mom died at 42 and my dad at 51. Never have figured out how come I’m still here –– but I hope to stay upright long enough to someday sneak in a Bucket List visit to Nevada City.

    Thanks for a terrific posting.

  3. Don Baumgart says:

    Terry and I rode the rails together for a while as photographer and writer, getting a few classic trips down on paper. I’ll remember him hanging out the window of a rushing steam engine, probably scaring the crap out of the engineer. All aboard!

  4. Nancy Denning says:

    Thank you Bob for orchestrating such a warm and sweet memorial for Terry!

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