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.
I modestly propose that in addition to arming teachers, we should allow students to carry their own weapons.Continue reading »
McGlynn Middle School principal Jake Edwards has been put on leave, Mayor Stephanie Burke said Thursday.Continue reading »
Thomas Lucey allegedly staged the attack and is now facing criminal charges that he fraudulently collected worker’s compensation and private disability insurance.Continue reading »
Trump’s controversial proposal, made previously by others, has prompted a social media backlash from teachers.Continue reading »
Before her simplistic half-pipe run went viral, the 33-year-old was known as a standout Harvard student with a bright personality and a determination to succeed.Continue reading »
The fashion industry is built on glamour and allure, but many models, especially the very young, know it for something else: sexual exploitation and abuse.Continue reading »
Millbury police are searching for a speeding driver who nearly ran over a mother and her 7-year-old daughter while they were crossing the street last Friday.Continue reading »
The increase in arrests of undocumented immigrants in the last fiscal year signals that President Trump is pushing to fulfill a campaign vow on bolstering enforcement.Continue reading »
Jerry Springer protege Steve Wilkos is facing a drunken driving charge in connection with a car crash in Connecticut last month.Continue reading »