Dear Austin Chronicle,
My older son, Jack Minor, age 38, was an avid reader of the Chronicle. He died November 11,1996, after a really hard battle with bile duct cancer. Since being diagnosed in January 1996, his last 10 months were virtually consumed with attempts by him and his doctors to keep him going as long as possible with the best possible quality of life. He and the medical community did a great job. Morphine and some marijuana were a tremendous help. Believe it or not, the Chronicle made a significant contribution. Before Jack became too ill to go to work, he used to pick up two copies of the Chronicle faithfully each Thursday, one for him and one for me. Those who knew Jack knew him as the consummate music fan, maybe even more so when it came to Austin-based music. When he had to stop working, I took on the task of getting our Chronicles each week. Now regrettably, I only get one.
I want to tell you a little about Jack, especially what music did for him last year. There are things I have forgotten, but I remember the highlights. He had a computer and was on the web a great deal networking with other music fans. Van Morrison was one of his heroes, as was Elvis Costello. Jack was invited to go see Van Morrison in New Orleans. He needed tickets and someone in California was advertising a pair to "the highest bidder or the person who had the best story." Jack told the guy his story. He received two free tickets by Fed Ex within a day or two. A friend of Jack's took him to New Orleans and he had a wonderful time. He also saw Bob Dylan. Jack was not one of his bigger fans until this concert. Friends and the people at the Music Hall saw to it that he had a good vantage point, right in front, albeit in a wheelchair. The concert was "the best" concert he had ever been to, and he had been to hundreds. Dylan converted him that night and Jack could tell you in minute detail about all the Dylan's riffs and licks. For the first time he appreciated what a great guitar player he was. Jack was also able to see Elvis Costello here in Austin last summer. There was an Elvis Costello newsgroup on the web that was under the guidance of a very young man, I think from the Midwest. Every one in the group revered the guy and were awestruck with his finesse with new members of the group and his knowledge of Elvis and his work. Then one day his daily postings disappeared from the group suddenly and without explanation. A few weeks later it was reported to the group that he had passed away. Jack was facing his own death, and this really shook him. He wanted to know more, but as far as I know he never got the full story.
Bill Hicks was also often on his mind, and Jack was able to find out more about Bill's ordeal through articles in the Chronicle and one of Bill's very accommodating friends here in Austin. There were many other things. He got to see Teddy Roddy do his Elvis gig at the Continental Club and loved it. Just a few days before he died, he went with his mother and me to see his brother, Paul, do a rare gig of cover tunes at his Sunday Free for All. This was an event that we will always remember. Music certainly meant the world to Jack, as it does Paul, and perhaps we two parents are slowly beginning to understand why. Incidentally, two of Jack's three children will be attending the ARC's Music Camp this summer through the initiative of some wonderful Austin musicians. Thanks Austin music and thanks Chronicle.
Jack Minor, Sr.
Go to Jack Minor's Page