Farewell to Phil Willmarth.
It is with great sorrow that I heard of the passing of Phil Willmarth. He was a kind, generous and a true gentleman. I was first introduced to Phil by my dear friend Terry Nosek when they visited my show in Las Vegas. It was a friendship at first meeting. Phil was the long term editor of The Linking Ring and much to my surprise several months later Terry and Phil featured me on the cover of the magazine! It was the first time I had ever been honored in this manner.
While on a visit to New Zealand Alan Watson and Richard Webster persuaded me to resume my long dormant career as a writer. For the seven years following that visit I have written a column in the Magic New Zealand ezine. I look at those early columns and am amazed how primitive they were, but I continued practicing my new found craft and now I am writing some stories and articles in magic publications of which I am really proud.
One of my early ‘fans’ in my writing endeavor was Mr Willmarth. He read all my columns and gave me some invaluable advice on how to make them better. Phil also asked me if he could re-print some of them in The Linking Ring, I was delighted and encouraged. Before long I was writing a monthly column for The Ring and continued to do so for some time. I even won the IBM award for best columnist. The true joy of those columns was getting to work on the topics, content and execution of them with Phil. It was as enjoyable as it was educational. I got to work with a master who could set me straight with just a few words. I remember with great fondness our (often late-night) conversations and discussions. They meant a great deal to me.
Phil leaves behind a literary, scholarly and human legacy that makes him one of magic’s finest. I will miss our occasional, gentle conversations greatly.