A long and true friend has died. Lou Farish of Arkansas, whom I corresponded with for years, said to me in the 1960s, "You write very good letters. You should write articles."
So I did.
I directly link that one kind statement from Lou as the spark to my formal writing to share my thoughts, resulting in getting published, via articles, books, blogs, and more.
When letters were the welcome gifts of friendship and exchange that came in my mailbox on a daily basis, I would look forward to the long communiques from Lou, filled with his thoughts, links, news clippings, and insights.
Some people may call Lou Farish a ufologist. But when I recall Lou, I think of fish rains, frog falls, and all types of Forteana. He would share the best tidbits with me in the 1960s-1970s. I shall always remember Lou as a Fortean, an archivist, a correspondent, and a good friend. Lou was interested in historical cases, and made a speciality of researching the 1890s airship cases. He took over the UFO Newsclipping Service, which also carried Forteana and Cryptozoology articles, from Rod Dyke, keeping in touch with his friends for years via that invaluable resource.
With the separate deaths last July 2011 of archivists Hilary Evans and Bill Corliss, then Bob Girard of Arcturus Books dying in August 2011, it does feel like Lou Farish's departuare signals another great passing of an incredible generations of old guard researchers who all were basically historical Forteana collectors.
The reports of Lou's death coming via that new instant communication tool, emails, informed me of the specific details of his passing.
My old co-author friend, Jerry Clark, like me, was an early 1960s' correspondent of Lou's. Jerry wrote about Lou: "We shared many interests, including pre-1947 ufology and Forteana. Some of the first 1897 clips I ever saw came from him, culled from newspapers in his native Arkansas. He was a wonderfully courteous, soft-spoken, friendly individual -- really, a gentleman of the old school. He was always a presence in my life and in the larger world of ufology. I was quite fond of him, and his passing, though not unexpected, saddens me."
Lou Farish had been suffering with cancer for some months, and was placed in hospice care last September 2011. He passed away on Thursday, January 26, 2012, at 4:55 pm, surrounded by friends, wrote another friend of Lou's, Jerry Blackburn. Blackburn, in his remembrance of Lou, shared this: "Since Lou did not have a wife, children or siblings, he left his estate, including 80 acres of land, to a trust to be used to encourage UFO research and education through awards, fellowships and mini-grants over the next several years."
Perhaps it is only a coincidence, but on Thursday afternoon, in Dorset, United Kingdom, a fall of mysterious small blue spheres from the sky occurred. About a dozen of the 3 cm round balls showered into Steve Hornsby's garden. (Thanks to Greg Taylor's Daily Grail Twitter feed, yet another form of communication hardly imagined in the 1960s, I was alerted to this strange Fortean fall happening so temporally close, a few hours, before Farish's death.)
Lou's memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 4th, at the Harris Funeral Home, 118 S. Moose Street, Morrilton, Arkansas. Harris Funeral Home published this official obituary:
Lucius O. Farish, age 74, of Plumerville, died January 26, 2012 at the River Chase Rehabilitation and Care Center in Morrilton, AR. He was born April 27, 1937 in Plumerville, AR, and was preceded in death by his parents, Claude D. Farish and Ruby Harris Farish Hubbard. Lou was known and respected for his intelligence and integrity by friends in Arkansas and around the world. He retired from both the U. S. Postal Service and the Arkansas National Guard with twenty years of service. He was an avid reader, and early in life developed a curiosity about UFOs and other unexplained phenomena. For almost twenty years, he edited the UFO Newsclipping Service, a monthly compilation of the best newspaper articles about UFOs from around the world. Also for twenty years he directed the Ozark UFO Conference, held each April in Eureka Springs, AR, drawing several hundred attendees annually to hear leading UFO researchers from the United States and other countries. A memorial service will be held at the Harris Funeral Home in Morrilton at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 4, with Rev. Don Erwin officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, P. O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123, or to the charity of one's choice.
Lou Farish, left, in November 2011, in hospice care, being visited by his good friend Jerry Blackburn. Photo: Jerry Blackburn. Used with permission.