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.


Thursday, January 31, 2008

from Hans Nelsen

Adam remained a big figure in my life, like he was for quite a few others. There in my imagination he holds a presence, although we saw each other seldom, every few years, and he always quite sarcastic. Yet, I knew he cared deeply.

Its very sad that he is gone.I had tried to reach him a few times recently, but never quite connected. Naturally, there is a sense of deep regret. If only, and all that.

Words fail at these times. We are simply with you and your family in the loss, and our friend, who was such a lively mind and spirit.

I'll be at the memorial.


from Hans Nelsen

Adam and I were very close during our teens. We must have exchanged a hundred letters during high school. He was at Putney and I at Garfield in Seattle. He was a huge influence on me. His knowledge of art, literature and travel helped to open my eyes to the world. We spent the summer of '69 hitchhiking around together
in London, Paris, and Amsterdam. He was one of a circle of compatriots, the frequenters of Fishtown and Laconner.

Always brash, sarcastic, full of feeling, easily hurt, inconsiderate, but full of passion for his friends. He had a special sort of insight, brilliant in so many ways. In our early years I would have given anything to think he thought of me the same way.

I saw less of him as the years went by, but he remains one of those few figures in my imagination that spring from one's childhood and remain present in one's life despite distance.

from Na'aman & Varda Gershuny family - Israel

Just heard the sad news regarding Adam.
Although it was expected the final news must have come as a shock.

Please accept our sincere condolences

Naaman, Varda, Michael, Racheli & Frode

from Greil Marcus

I was thinking today about Adam's writing and when he stopped. It's been a long time since Adam wrote as a mainstream journalist, for Mother Jones, the San Francisco Examiner magazine Image, and more.

His work was distinctive. There was a sense of personal engagement--the feeling that the subject at hand mattered to him--but that never got in the way of the reader; the writing was not personal. It was rigorous, carefully reported, and while Adam was able to get people like Bono to open up as others could not, that wasn't trumpeted; what you read came across as ordinary speech.

If anything, Adam could fit stories about which he was passionate, with dynamic and conflicted feelings, too closely into a conventional journalistic format. He lacked the self-confidence, as a writer, to test editorial expectations, to break rules. The expansiveness, insistence, demanding energy of Adam talking wasn't in his writing as much as it should have been. He was a professional, hiding his deep friendships with people he wrote about, their respect for him, his for them.

I was sorry for years that he stopped writing. I regret it again now.

All best,

Greil Marcus

from Wilho Saari (Naselle, WA)

My condolences to the Block family. I had Adam in music class in the sixth grade at I.I. Stevens many, many years ago! I have fond memories of Adam. May God be with you all during this time of sorrow. Sincerely,

Wilho Saari, teacher at Stevens from 1960-1966.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

from Veronica Donella, Verona

I am one of those who had the pleasure to meet Adam, and spend some time with him.

I remember him as an artist, with a superior intelligence. He updated me on all the latest psychiatric discoveries on various mental diseases, made me see the movie “Rimbaud” on his notebook, and most of all, in our long walk through Verona taught me that I should never be depressed because I live in the middle of history and all what surrounds me (architecture and art) should give me the force to overcome any difficulty.

I know that since that conversation I started to be aware of my European and Italian roots, and lately I realized that I could never live in a place with less than 3000 years of history! So I could say that Adam was the one who made me appreciate my country, and in a way gave my a reason to start to love it .

Love to you and a prayer for Adam


from Ned and Jakie Martin

Please accept our heartfelt condolences on the loss of your brother Adam. While I did not ever have the pleasure of meeting Adam, your wonderful words made me keenly aware that it was my loss not to have known such an exceptional person.

Ned and Jakie

from Carol Nelsen

I read in the paper about Adam's death. The obituary was very nice. I did not know Adam well, but I remember him fondly.

I will never forget the parties that my family came to at your Dad's place; you grew up in a great family. I was always impressed.

Hans and Adam were closer than I was with Adam. I guess I just wasn't his type!

My family send you and your family our best and know that this is a difficult time for each of you.
I would love to be able to come to the memorial service if you could let me know about it. I will let Hans know as well.

If there is anything that I can do to help you, please do not hesitate to ask.



from Fred Nemo - aka Scott Bullitt

It's a shock to lose Adam all of a sudden. I spent an enthralling and non-stop afternoon with him last fall, strolling around North Beach trying to get a word in. It had been some time, and he served me up a banquet, including the single greatest name-drop in history.

I've sometimes felt that he and I switched maternal role-models at the tenderest age - he following the razor-sharp hit-woman Carolyn, and me the assiduous nurturer that was your mom. Not that i am not acerbic, or that he was not fully loving. I have the most striking early memories of him.

So sorry for your loss,

Fred Nemo

from Dr. William Schwartzman

I am so sad that Adam is gone.

I will miss his funny, loving, annoying, humane menschlichkeit as will you all.

I remember him the last time I was in San Francisco , searching for a little no frills Chinese restaurant with great reviews.

Adam walked slowly and puffed; but was ever debonair in his fedora, leather jacket and scarf.

The food was fantastic and Adam was putting his usual energy into rapid fire questions, stories and acid commentary. When I last spoke to him, before the holidays, he was straining at his physical limits, trying to comprehend his choices, his mind burdened by lack of oxygen, but still analyzing and questioning.

Thank you for sharing his last moments.

I add my condolences to everyone’s.


Dr. Bill

from Barbara Lamphere

I’m so sorry to hear of Adam’s passing. He was a great guy. I didn’t know him well, but always enjoyed my interactions with him when we were in Seattle together. Arguing late into the night about this or that, he was always the last man standing. I’m sure it’s hard on you all to lose your brother, I can’t imagine.

Give my love to your siblings and hug one another extra tight.

All my love,


from Ann Senechal

Katherine sent me your obituary of Adam, which so perfectly captured his spirit -- that infectious curiosity in constant play with a steady stream of show-stopping ideas.

It has been decades since I've seen him, but now he has returned wholly formed, talking a mile a minute, intensely, across far-ranging subjects, in the clearest part of my memory. That's surely a testament to Adam's originality, energy, and remarkable intelligence.

I'm so sorry you've lost your brother, but what a relief to know he's free of his horrible illness. All my thoughts,


from Luc Deroches - Commercial Director Masi

I been informed today regarding the death of your brother, I will like to offer my warmest sympathy.



from Tom and JoAnn Keefe

JoAnn and I were both saddened to learn of Adam's passing.

He was definitely one of a kind, a Seattle original. We know that you and his other siblings will be comforted by many fond memories of his love of life and his full speed ahead demeanor.

Thanks for letting us know. Best regards to all.


from Raffaele and Deborah Boscaini, Verona Italy

I feel really very close to both of you in this sad time. I never had the opportunity to meet with your brother Adam, but knowing you and reading his obit seems to me to have lost a great chances to have another good friend from Seattle.

Togethar with Deborah I would like to send you a warm hug being convinced that your always positive approach in life will help you to look to the future.



from Debbie and Peter Brody

We wish to extend to you all our sincere condolences for the loss of the irreplaceable Adam.

We got to have dinner with him a couple years ago and so can confirm the accuracy and consistency of the wonderful epitaph's description.
The world is indeed more tedious when it loses such a one. That must be more so for those closest to him. Our best to you all.

Debbie and Peter

from Sandro Boscaini - Verona Italy

Daniel had already informed me about the loss of your brother Adam. I feel very close to you and wish you to feel the strength to go through this moment of sorrow.
I saw Daniel very touched by the event. There is not much to say in these situations, the only thing we can do is to offer you and Daniel our greatest friendship and support.

With deepest sympathy,

Sandro, Raffaele and all Masi's staff

From Anais Winant, Mark Sidran’s wife

I am thinking of you as you say your final farewell to your high spirited Adam.

Coming from a large, decidedly bright but definitely difficult and surely dramatic, when not tragic or despairing, family, I feel like I know Adam and understand you all the more. I am thankful you are in my life albeit not daily. Still you are there.

My warm thoughts and unwavering affection,


from Myra White, Admissions Director at Bailey-Boushay House

I just now took the time to fully read the obit on Adam.
It was beautifully worded. I passed it on to Brian Knowles, our director and his response back to me was: "I'm really sorry I didn't get to meet him....

Take good care,

With Respect and Sympathy,


from Llewelyn Pritchard - Washington DC

SAD NEWS about a charming but acerbic kid - ALWAYS fascinating.

Llew in DC

from Brad and Anne O'Connor

Hi Daniel:

Of course, we were saddened by Adam's death in part because we knew him but also because he in many ways was so much like my sister Cathy who died last March 7, also of chronic lung disease.

Like Adam, Cathy was a nonconformist who marched not to the drumbeat of conventional behavior, but to whatever she damned well wanted to do, all too often at her own peril.

It was a rough ride for all of us with seldom a dull moment during -- and long before -- Cathy's illness. Now that she's gone, our lives, too, are calmer, quieter and also far less interesting.


Brad and Anne

from Skip and Jackie Kotkins

So sorry to hear about Adam. But the obit was true to the man and I am sure he would have loved and approved of it. Please pass along our condolences to all the rest of the family.

Jackie and Skip

from Gordon Wilcox

I am sorry to see this, but applaud your very good obit for your garrulous brother, whom I liked and appreciated.


from David Falsberg

Well said – RIP.
Adam will be happy to find out that there are indeed drugs and alcohol in the afterworld and they can’t kill you.

Best wishes to all of you.


from Gerry Johnson

Sorry to hear it ....Please keep us posted on the memorial arrangements.

We'll be thinking of him

from Liz Lambert

So sad to hear . . . I know how much you will miss him.
I will miss just knowing that he’s around in this world. Please let me know about the memorial. I would love to come. Either SF or Seattle.

Love to you and your family.


from Tina Hollingsworth and Stim Bullitt

I'm so sorry for the loss of Adam. Our thoughts are with you. Stim has dear memories of your parents. He's told me how outstanding your mother was. Whenever we drive by a certain tennis court, he remembers the good times playing tennis with your dad. ......


from Alec Fisken & Kathy McGinnis

I'm so sorry about this, ........ The obituary is truly inspired!

love from us all,

Kathy and Alec

from Skip Berger

So sorry to hear about this. A hell of a run indeed.
My thoughts are with all you Blocks.



from Dr. Ronnie S. Stangler

G-d bless.
We love you, Adam.
And we all offer the deepest respect and admiration to Kenan, Susanna, Dr. J and to all of you who rendered such generous and tender care especially these last terrible days, but consistently through this long illness.

Adam was primal life force. I hope somewhere in Adam's own writings and ravings, we may find a few words that reflect the man: the wildness, originality, loyalty, passion, fierceness, and ultimately the love.

Candolences to each of you, family and friends.

Peace, Adam.

from Bette and Bennett Miller

We heard the sad news about Adam this morning and Bennett and I want to extend our sympathy to all the Blocks. Adam and Dean will be having themselves a jolly good time, but we can say that they are both at peace now and not suffering any more. Nevertheless, it is a loss felt by all of us, and especially now that the six Block siblings are only five.

Our thoughts are with all of you at this sad time. Please let us know if there is anything any of us can do for you.

Much love,

Bette and Bennett

from Jill Bullitt

How huge Adam was in all of our lives. How difficult it must have been for you to have had to be so far away. Yet how difficult it must have been sometmes to have him as a brother. And finally , how entertaining and even reassuring.I love your family. I love how , despite great difficulties you have been able to be close. I am so very sorry for your loss.

I sorely miss him. love, Jill

I am so sorry.

from Kerry and Leslie Miller

Sorry to hear about Adam’s passing this morning. At least it was peaceful. An end to a colorful life without a doubt. I, along with many others, have definite memories of times with Adam. For me, there were post 1st marriage times both in Dallas as well as in Albuquerque that Adam blessed us with glimpses of another world that I would not have experienced otherwise. I feel blessed for that.

My condolences and love to all of the Blocks. Please extend our love to all from Leslie and I.

Thank you for the continually updates over the past months. You have been and exceptional brother.


from Dr. Rick Loftus

Thank you for letting me know; I will make light offerings, as is my custom when patients pass away.

It was very moving for me to see such a large tribe of people do all they could for Adam; I know he was well-loved.

I am glad he passed peacefully with the people he cared about around him.



from Joe and Shelly Milkes

Thanks for letting us know. We are so sorry. You have our sincere condolescences. Keep in touch.


Joe and Shelley

from Schuyler and Joyce Ingle

Joyce and I send our love and condolences. When those old growth trees drop out in the forest like that, there's no replacement. I am grateful for the grade school and young man images I can carry in my heart -- so full of vitality. ...


from Dorthy Bullitt

I am sorry that you (all) have lost Adam. When Ben died, your brother Daniel was the first person to pay his respects. I shall always associate our mourning with your family's support. Like us, you had six kids. Now five. But that fifth will always be present on some level. Well into our old age.

Please accept my sympathy, It is heart felt.


from Greil and Jenny Marcus

We sat home yesterday keeping dry. We wish we had known what was going on with Adam and come over to say hello, goodbye, whatever. We are so unhappy. Not unhappy that Adam’s suffering is over, but that his last two years were so miserable. We will miss him, barking and all. How can I ever look at maple syrup, 100%, without thinking of him......

Let us know when the memorial is. We will be there.



from Margret Bullitt

I was saddened to hear of Adam's death. I had no idea he'd been ill. Please accept my condolences for the loss of your brother. Thank you for letting us know.

from Mark Levine

Our heart goes out to you and the family....what a brillant light Adam was. We are in your old neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta for the month. We walked the beach yesterday and thought
....we will be home for the 6th of March

God bless him...

Mark and John

from David Rigsbee

I'm so sorry to hear about Adam's passing. I know his image has been and will be vivid for you and all who loved him. Jill was very down to hear this news. As one who has lost a sibling, I can say in truth that I know how such a loss feels.

Adam was the only person on the family side who agreed to come to Jill's 50th birthday party in Paris, and she was so grateful for that.

My condolences

Warm regards,