Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press/File
ELKINS PARK, Pa. — The founder of the Dead Poets Society of America suffered a fatal heart attack little more than a month after commissioning his own tombstone.
Walter Skold enlisted the son of novelist John Updike to carve a unique tombstone that will be topped with a dancing skeleton and a quill. Michael Updike, who received the poet’s deposit last month, said he never expected to be carving the monument so soon.
There was no indication of any premonition of an untimely death before Mr. Skold’s passing at age 57 on Jan. 20, in Elkins Park, Updike said Friday.
‘‘He was a sweet soul,’’ said Updike, of Newbury, Mass. ‘‘He was a kind person with this quirky predilection to poets’ graves and death and the macabre.’’
Known as the ‘‘Dead Poets Guy,’’ Mr. Skold visited the final resting places of more than 600 poets after launching the Dead Poets Society in 2008 in Maine, drawing inspiration for the name from the 1989 Robin Williams movie.
Along the way, Mr. Skold drew attention to bards and poetry while producing a massive repository of information on poets’ final resting places.
He also had a sense of humor.
He traveled in a cargo van he dubbed the ‘‘Dedgar the Poemobile,’’ sometimes embellishing the dashboard with an Edgar Allan Poe bobblehead.
But he was serious about honoring poets, and he launched a movement to create Dead Poets Remembrance Day on the Sunday closest to Oct. 7, the date Poe died.
‘‘It takes a little chutzpah to say we’re starting a holiday,’’ he said in 2010. ‘‘But we believe it’s a really good idea, and we hope it catches on.’’
Mr. Skold was living in Freeport, Maine, when he left his job as a public school technology teacher to pursue his passions of poetry and photography and to launch the society.
A celebration of Mr. Skold’s life will be held Saturday in Elkins Park, and h will be buried at a family plot in York, Pa. There also will be a remembrance in Maine.
Seven current and former students say former professors groped students in plain sight, hosted hot-tub parties with students, openly debated who had the “hottest lab,” and sexually assaulted grad students.Continue reading »
Some parts of Massachusetts could see up to a half-foot or more of snow, and Greater Boston may see about 2 inches, thanks to a storm that’s expected to affect the evening commute.Continue reading »
The engineer who prepared the work plans for replacing gas mains in the Lawrence area failed to account for a critical sensor in a line that was being replaced, the agency said.Continue reading »
It’s time for a “never-Trump” Republican like Mitt Romney to undertake a thankless third-party run to tank the election — and save the country.Continue reading »
Folks should be able to get home Thursday evening without any snow, but if you’re headed out after 7 or 8 p.m., be prepared for some heavy bursts.Continue reading »
The subterfuge failed, and the traveler and her husband ultimately forfeited about $27,000 in undeclared currency to the federal government, officials said.Continue reading »
James Dobson, 32, was on his “Positive Vibes Tour,” spreading a message of joy for a good cause.Continue reading »
A new study adds more weight to the theory that climate change may have been behind the decline of the Harappan civilization.Continue reading »
If the predictions from the experts are any indication, Thanksgiving traffic this year will be worse than last year. Here’s are the best and worst times to leave.Continue reading »