Thursday, September 16, 2021

Mathew Paust, RIP

Matt's Blog:  Crime Time

Here's the obit he wrote for himself, as he could see the end, with bladder cancer:

Mathew David Paust has at last slipped quietly away from the furiously whirling social experiment known throughout the galaxy, and perhaps beyond – and not without a chuckle, groan, snort, or perhaps something more imaginative – as “Earth.”

For all we know, Mr. Paust’s spirit may at this moment be strolling in celestial glory with angels or getting his ticket stamped by Beelzebub or standing alone on a corner in Winslow Arizona. What we can say with certainty is that his physical remains are stashed for the time being in a Maxwell House (good to the last drop) coffee can to be sprinkled by loved ones at a time and in an undoubtedly breezeless location of their choice.

Mr. Paust was born in Columbus, Wisconsin, two days before Japanese war planes bombed U.S. Naval ships at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Turmoil on the Korean Peninsula had occupied world military considerations by the time Mr. Paust entered the U. of Wis., and Ike was quietly ensconced on the Burning Tree Golf Course (when not punching spike holes in the White House floor boards.) After three years of severe collegiate embarrassment Mr. Paust escaped into the martial hysteria himself, joining the U.S Army where he served four years learning that book learning beats the hell out of ground pounding. He returned to academia, from which he graduated eventually with a bachelor of arts degree that launched him on a career in journalism. He spent the rest of his working life reporting and developing his writing skills for a series of mediocre news organizations, retiring from the Newport News, Va., Daily Press several steps ahead of the news industry’s absorption into the more lucrative entertainment industry. Ultimately stumbling into that field alone Mr. Paust has managed a blog, Matt Paust’s Crime Time, and self-published several books, which can be found in paperback and Kindle formats at

Mr. Paust was fortunate to have raised three beautiful children. He is survived by a sister, Jeni Starritt (John), a daughter, Sarah (Jake Ryan), sons, Joshua Rackley (Anne), and Michael Rackley (Shannon), and two adorable grandchildren.

Arrangements are pending with Hogg Funeral Home and Cremation.

And Matt's farewell at Fictionaut:

Dear friends,

Sorry to spring this on some of you rather unexpectedly. As most of you know, I do not like to talk about my personal problems -- especially health issues. For those not quite up to speed, it's time to let you know the cancer has pretty much had its way with me. Not sure how much time is left, but I wanted to get this to you while I still have a little left of what I consider to be the best of my faculties, i.e. irreverent sense of humor. I wrote my obituary (attached) with this consideration in mind. My daughter, Sarah, is in charge of arrangements (and please keep this private until D Day or unless my condition continues to drag out -- for the better, of course).

So . . . then there now, goodbye and good fortune to you and your loved ones. Maybe we'll meet again someday. Lunch is on me of course at oh, say, how about that corner in Winslow Arizona?

Love, Matt

December 5, 1941-September 18, 2021

Matt Paust on YouTube:

I owe an apology to readers here...Fictionaut and subsequently Facebook were announcing Matt's death as early as 7 September, and rather than bother the family, I waited to see if anyone would post on either site something which would confirm matters, or suggest people were assuming Matt's early, extremely limited circulation of his obituary above was indicative of even greater imminence than was. 

More the fool, I. But my incomplete caution did have me anticipating matters by only two days.

As Matt's close friend Shirley Chirch informed us this morning:

On behalf of Matt, I wanted to let his friends on this list know that he passed gently into the mist while listening to a lullaby yesterday morning. 

And, in reference to the too-early notes on Facebook and Fictionaut, she noted:

He laughed so hard when I told him his obit had already run. you should get some enjoyment out of that...he said he felt like Mark Twain and reports of his death were greatly exaggerated!

So, a small, unintentional gift near the end. TM


Neeru said...

OMG. I just can't believe it. He was always full of life.

Todd Mason said...

He was, Neeru...but eventually, our bodies will suffer some unvanquished foe.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Man... this hits really hard. He and I emailed on an infrequent basis, often after I had linked to his blog and shared something. I had no idea he was sick.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sickened by this news. I should have kept better track in the last two months.

Todd Mason said...

Matt was keeping a low profile. I think he didn't want even an approptiate anount of fuss.

George said...

I always appreciated Matt's comments. I've lost a couple friends to bladder cancer, a viscous killer.

Tim Young said...

Matt and I were such good friends through our dealings at Fictionaut. Even though we had never met in the flesh we had a strong bond. I can only hope that our bond continues into the next what-ever-it -is! Rest well, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Terribly sorry to see this! Matt always had such insightful comments on "Writing in a Woman's Voice"...he will certainly be missed!

TracyK said...

I am saddened to hear this. I had noticed that he had not blogged for a couple of months. I will miss Mathew and his intelligent posts and comments. And his sense of humor.

e.rose said...

A supportive friend on Writing in a Woman's Voice. I always appreciated his comments on my work and on the other poets' work. May he rest in peace. The world will miss him.

Todd Mason said...

Barry Ergang said...

So sorry to learn of Matt's passing. I didn't know him well, but I always found his blog posts intelligent and insightful. Rest in peace, Matt.

Kathryn Carter said...

I will indeed miss Matt's FB comments with me very much.
He indeed was a very bright & gifted writer. Glad his passing was peaceful & pray he's welcomed into God's kingdom. Much sympathy to his family that I know he cherished deeply.

J F Norris said...

Dammit! One of the genuinely good people I knew through the blogosphere is now gone. I enjoyed his posts and loved when he stopped by my blog. His comments were always spiked with Matt's trademark wicked humor and good ol' common sense. I only wish I had got to know him in the living and breathing world instead of this digital one. I'm sure I would've enjoyed knocking back a few with him and listening to his many "war stories" of his days in the press room.

(Had to delete the previous comment which was filled with dumb "autocorrect" errors standing in for my usual flurry of typos that I missed fixing myself.)

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Todd, I happened to visit Patti's blog and read about Matt. I'm so sorry to hear of his passing. I got to know Matt through his blog and enjoyed his humour. Later, as I stopped blogging, I reconnected with him on FB and he was always kind to respond to my posts. I will miss him. So many of our lovely blogger-friends have left in recent years. I never met them but felt as if I knew them personally.

dennis said...

I met Matt in the early 1970s when we worked together on one of those "mediocre" newspapers, the Times-Democrat in Davenport, Iowa. I quickly saw that he had two things that were in short supply, especially among the editorial staff, a sense of humor and an appreciation of writing as something that could convey more than just "where, what, and when." We lost touch after I left the newspaper, but through one of those serendipitous accidents facilitated by the internet, we re-established contact several years ago. I saw that his sense of humor, his love of good writing, and his social consciousness were intact. A good guy and friend who will be sorely missed.