Adam Parker Block Memorial----1951-2008

Adam Parker Block----1951-2008

Adam Parker Block, 56, died Sunday morning January 27th at his home in San Francisco after a protracted pulmonary illness. A fifth generation Seattleite, he was born at Swedish Hospital February 7, 1951. He attended high school at Lakeside and Putney Schools and college at Reed, California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), graduating from Harvard.

Adam was a writer, avid reader and keen social observer and critic whose deep curiosity and insights crossed many disciplines. He lived in San Francisco for the past 30 years. In the 80’s Adam was popular music critic for The Advocate where he wrote a regular column, "Block on Rock". His writing also appeared in numerous publications including Mother Jones, the San Francisco Examiner magazine Image, the Bay Area Reporter, the New Musical Express and Creem. During that time, Adam interviewed virtually every pop star from Elton John to Bono.

Adam was a challenging and unforgettable friend, in turns fiercely loyal and loving and breathtakingly selfish, combative and self absorbed. His curiosity, knowledge, humor and spirit were contagious. Adam believed punctuality, deadlines and being awake during daylight hours were vastly overrated. He loved to outrage and often bragged that being gay, Jewish and half Texan (on his mother’s side)---he had something to offend most everyone. Adam loved literature, art, music, film, news, politics, humor, ideas, food, drink and travel---but most of all, smart lively conversation and animated debate.

Adam is survived by nine siblings; Jonathan, Daniel, Kenan, Susanna, Mary Judith, Tamara, Christina, Melinda, Newton and his step mother, Mary Lou Block as well as 13 nieces and nephews. Adam’s father Robert Jackson Block and mother Dorothy Wolens Block preceded him in death.

With Adam’s death, the lives of those who knew him will be calmer and quieter but far less interesting.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

from Chris Boothby

I was Adam Block's junior year roommate at Putney School. I just received the latest Putney Post and read the obit there and thereby found this blog and have been reading many of the posts there finding bits and pieces of the Adam I knew. As near as I can tell Adam was the only one of us who openly identified as gay at Putney and seemed to delight in shocking the rest of us with his readings of the Marquis DeSade. Naive as I was, I think I assumed that this was just a phase he was going through and expected for him as I hoped for myself that it would play out with adolescence. So, as I finally came out in my early 50's, thoughts of Adam have been with me periodically and I had accomplished enough web research to know that he was in the Bay Area, his critic role, etc, but I had not actually made the step of contacting him. Now I find myself shocked that this is no longer an option.

I was one of the ones who hung out in the potato shed secretly smoking with Adam and others as described by his friend Schuyler herein. I had a different opinion on the potatoes, as instead of digging and handling them, I was the one who drove the tractor the rest loaded with their bushels of the crop. I also remember the incredibly smudged glasses and as Adam's roommate, his lack of hygiene, both personally and spatially. I will always see him in dark blue blazer with copious dandruff flakes covering the shoulders.

Perhaps it is just as well I had not contacted Adam. Like Adam, not only did I like men, I was also devoted to alcohol and other drugs, but I reached the bottom of my downward spiral with addiction in '79, so seeing him actively using would have been very uncomfortable.

I am very happy to see such an outpouring of fond memories of Adam in this blog. The picture from 1965 is exactly how I remember him. I am currently in Portland, near Reed College and glad to know Adam had his stint there. Just as others note, I remember Adam's wit, intelligence, voracious appetite for reading and eagerness to challenge assumptions. I am glad to hear these traits were operative to the end.

Chris Boothby,
Portland, Oregon

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