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A sad passage

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Professional Member


Joined: 22 Mar 2011
Posts: 86
Localisation: NYC

PostPosted: 2014-01-07, 06:30    Post subject: A sad passage Reply with quote

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I am saddened by news that I just heard of the passing of Dan E. Mayers - the founder of the International Shakuhachi Society.
Dan was 92 and had a passion for Shakuhachi and the game of chess, in which he was a winner of the British Seniors Championship as well as the U.S. Seniors Championship.
I will play a Honkyoku for the safe passage of his spirit into its next incarnation.
"The magic's in the Music, and the Music's in me" - The Loving Spoonful
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Kiku Day


Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 877
Localisation: Nr Snede, DK/London UK

PostPosted: 2014-01-07, 10:03    Post subject: A sad passage Reply with quote

Sad news indeed! He was something!
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Professional Member


Joined: 16 Aug 2011
Posts: 23
Localisation: London UK

PostPosted: 2014-01-07, 13:21    Post subject: a sad passage Reply with quote

I've missed Dan Mayers since he moved from the UK back to the States.
He owned a vast house and even vaster garden in Wadhurst, Sussex, very near where I grew up. He had planted thousands of trees to create an arboretum. According to Dan, Kew Gardens were regularly on the phone seeking his advice.
In the pre-internet era, Dan made himself a focal point for anyone in the UK with an interest in shakuhachi. He would lend or sell instruments from his large collection, which included shakuhachi paraphernalia, scores, LPs, hats, one-hole Korean flutes and so on. He loved to conduct groups of bemused shakuhachi players on perambulations around his gardens, and if Yoshikazu Iwamoto was present, Dan would select a beautiful spot for him to play. Meanwhile herons circled above, eyeing up the carp in Dan's ponds.

Here is an obituary of Dan, written by his son Darrel for the newspaper in Sun Valley, Idaho:

Chess champion Dan Mayers passed away at his home in Sun Valley on Thursday. He was 91.
Mayers (known locally as ‘Thunderbunny’) grew up in New York City, raised by his father Lewis, a lawyer, and his mother May, a physician. Early in his life he devoted himself to chess, and won the New York City High School Championship in 1939.
In 1953 Mayers played against 9-year-old Bobby Fischer at the Brooklyn Chess Club, and won. It was the earliest recorded game of Fischer, who went on to become the world chess champion.
After graduation with a degree in geology from the University of Arizona in 1944, Mayers was drafted into the U.S. Army, and was assigned to work at the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. While there he developed an interest in magic.
After studying at Harvard, Mayers set off on what would become a lifetime of traveling. During a business trip to Europe he met his wife Barbara, and they moved to Mexico where their first children Vanda and Randell were born.
In 1958 they moved to England, and it was here that Mayers embarked on creating a unique wilderness garden called Lorien, with a vast collection of azaleas and rhododendrons from around the world. Gayle and Darrel were born in Sussex.
Apart from chess, Dan had many other interests and passions. He was successful as a distributor of emeralds and amethysts from Africa. He was also an aficionado of the Japanese shakuhachi flute, and became the president of the International Shakuhachi Society.
After his wife Barbara had passed away he moved to spend his final years in Sun Valley, but continued playing chess to the end of his life. In 1996, he won the British Senior Championship, and in 2004, he won the U.S. Senior championship. Just days before he passed away he was competing in the North American Open at Bally’s Casino and Resort in Las Vegas.
He is survived by his four children, Vanda Gerhart, Randell Mayers, Gayle Schumacher and Darrel Mayers, and ten grandchildren.
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie


Joined: 18 Mar 2011
Posts: 635
Localisation: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

PostPosted: 2014-01-08, 02:17    Post subject: A sad passage Reply with quote

I visited him there. It was beautiful. He was undoubtedly one of the most eccentric people I ever met and that's saying a lot! Cooked a mean fettucine alfredo!
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