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Sorry to see you go. Violist joins our other dear departed friends

Sorry to see you go. Violist joins our other dear departed friends

Old Feb 22, 2021, 9:00 pm
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Sorry to see you go. Violist joins our other dear departed friends

One of my oldest Flyertalk friends passed away this weekend. Michael aka Violist.

I first met Michael January 1, 2002 at the UA RCC. We became good friends, as some of the old timers on this board will appreciate. We would break bread many times over the years, in NY and around the world. Michael was a regular at our annual WineDo in NYC every June. I would tell him that he had a reservation post dinner at Chez Hammer in NYC. My wife came to expect Michael, and enjoy his company. We'd go for breakfast the next morning at my local greasy spoon, railroad car type diner.

Violist was a good guy. He was warm and welcoming to everyone. I was glad to call him a friend online and in real life. To my dear friend Lilly (Pat), we'll honor Michael at the next WineDo with a special bottle. He'd always bring something special to dinner. Sometimes, he'd ship a bottle to me months in advance because he didn't know when he'd have access to his cellar.

First class travel my friend. Magic111 (Jim), Mike cordelli, and Ldsant (Liz) are in charge now. R.I.P.
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Old Feb 22, 2021, 9:31 pm
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Mr s and I were so sad to hear this news.

I first knew of Violist when he posted a beautiful tribute to his sister Grace, a violinist who died young I believe of heart disease. I was so impressed with his writing skills - To be able to write a beautiful eulogy in the midst of his personal pain is something I truly admire. So we became friends and Bob and I shared many a meal (and drink) with him over the years. We ate in every kind of restaurant from greasy spoons to the finest restaurants and always had a lovely time with him. He was plainspoken and kind; enigmatic and open hearted; a true food and drink connoisseur who was just as happy eating microwave chicken wings in a hotel bar If the company was right.

We were lucky enough to be invited to his farewell concert in Salem Massachusetts some years ago – he was retiring from the orchestra and we spent several nights in Salem culminating in a beautiful classical concert. He had prepared us for what might be a lackluster evening given his inability to see well and remember music but I just remembered an enchanting evening listening to him and the other orchestra members playing soulfully.

I asked him a few years ago – after one of his many brushes with death – how he was able to keep going, traveling, enjoying himself to the fullest when he knew at any moment he could be taken down by one of the many illnesses he suffered. He responded with his usual candor – “I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to live either. I just want to do the things I enjoy doing for as long as I can.” Others may play at that philosophy but he truly lived it.

We last saw him on what may have been one of his last trips to the bay area – Bob and I could not make the group dinner that was planned but we arranged to meet him in Millbrae and have dinner with him there. We talked over old times, gossiped about mutual friends, and I’m pretty sure drank ourselves silly. It was a wonderful night that I’ll always remember – he was one of the most captivating storytellers I’ve ever met and I will miss hearing about his escapades, his meals and his exotic travels.

And being Michael to the end, we got a brief email from him just two days ago, apologizing for the mass email, saying he only had a few hours to live and wanted us to know but didn’t have the energy to send individual emails. I can’t imagine any other human being I’ve ever met having the wherewithal to send an email like that. He prepared us for what would happen soon.

Wishing him safe harbor at last.

Last edited by squeakr; Feb 22, 2021 at 10:11 pm
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Old Feb 22, 2021, 9:37 pm
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I'd met Michael at a number of FT events over the years, including the Wine/Brooklyn DOs, and as far flung as Oz Fest. RIP.
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Old Feb 22, 2021, 9:43 pm
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Crap. I didn't know him that well, but had met him a few times at SIN DO and he seemed like a great guy. RIP.
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Old Feb 22, 2021, 9:55 pm
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Micheal was a regular at the AK DOs too, that is where I first met him. Im sure a few special bottles will be opened in his memory one of these days. RIP Michael, you will be missed.
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Old Feb 22, 2021, 10:02 pm
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A long-time FF friend whom I've enjoyed a number of DOs and much, much more across Oz, Asia and USA. Michael, you will be sincerely missed.
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Old Feb 22, 2021, 10:08 pm
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Sorry to learn of Michael's passing. Our paths crossed a number of times over the years (Innsbruck and Singapore come to mind), and he was kind enough to join me for pizza when I was in Boston years ago at one of his favorite spots. I'll miss him.
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Old Feb 22, 2021, 10:33 pm
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dhammer's and squeakr's tributes are true testaments to the type of person Michael was. The line about him being a food and drink connoisseur but equally happy with microwaved hot wings is a perfect illustration of his character--he had a palate that was as sensitive as anyone I'd ever known (his ability to pick out flavors when wine tasting was unparalleled) but he was absolutely and utterly unpretentious about it. He was the most down-to-earth sophisticated person I've ever met--full of incredible stories and life experiences both travel-related and not but yet able to relate to others wherever they were in life. He was as much an institution of our Alaska Dos as anyone, and the next one will undoubtedly feel that much more empty without his physical presence. To Michael--one of the finest FlyerTalkers ever to grace our forums with his friendship--rest in peace, friend.
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Old Feb 22, 2021, 10:46 pm
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Been looking for a while for a photo and this is probably the best one I have (London DO, 2009, Violist in the leather jacket).

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Old Feb 23, 2021, 1:24 am
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I am very sorry to hear this sad news. I met Michael at many DOs over the years, both in Europe and in Asia and Australia. I remember attending a violin concert in Salzburg with him at a FT DO years ago.
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Old Feb 23, 2021, 7:02 am
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Sorry to hear this news.... RIP Michael.
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Old Feb 23, 2021, 7:04 am
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I only met Michael once, but what will live on for me is the inimitable style of his many TRs. I always looked forward to reading them, and vicariously enjoying whatever he had been eating and drinking. Brisket and red wine seemed to figure quite often!
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Old Feb 23, 2021, 7:47 am
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Michael was a great human being. He will be missed.
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Old Feb 23, 2021, 7:51 am
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RIP Michael. I only met him twice at SIN Do's, here is a picture of him and our table from a couple of years ago. It was my good fortune to
be seated next to him and get to know each other.

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Old Feb 23, 2021, 7:58 am
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Rest in paradise to the very first Flyertalker I met and to my friend
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