Friday, April 13, 2018

McManus Leaves Behind Lots of Laughs

From The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington:
Patrick F. McManus, the New York Times best-selling author of books such as “Real Ponies Don’t Go Oink!” and “The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw,” died on Wednesday in Spokane. He was 84.

Patrick Francis McManus was born on Aug. 25, 1933, and grew up along the banks of Sand Creek outside Sandpoint [Idaho]. His father died when he was 6, leaving his mother, a school teacher, to raise him and his older sister. In interviews over the years, he spoke glowingly of his childhood as one where he would spend hours outdoors. His family may not have had a lot of money, but there was time and freedom to explore the world.

“I had a wonderful time as a child growing up,” he told Sandpoint Magazine in 1995. “I was down by the creek all the time and had all this freedom, running around all these mountains. (His friend) Vern and I took off one time and wandered around those mountains for a week. That’s not a bad way to grow up.”

As a humor columnist [for Outdoor Life magazine], he mined his own life for his stories, creating a beloved cast of characters based on people he knew from his childhood, guys like Rancid Crabtree and Crazy Eddie Muldoon, a dog named Strange, and even his sister, Patricia the Troll. McManus published two dozen books, and sold roughly 6 million copies, in his lengthy career. Several of those books were collections of his magazine humor columns, but he also wrote novels.
Among those novels the newspaper casually references were six “charmingly wry” (to quote Kirkus Reviews) mysteries starring Bo Tully, the middle-aged sheriff of fictional Blight County, Idaho. The first of the Tully books was 2006’s The Blight Way, while McManus’ final installment in the series was 2014’s Cicles in the Snow.

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