"John Igo and I were good friends when we were both students at Trinity University, and we were both very interested in the English language. We shook our heads at each other when we’d read, in a book or other professional publication that the supposedly intelligent author would use the phrase, “whether or not,” apparently unaware that “whether” implied the “or not”. One thing that comes to memory in that regard is when we took a course in Humanities from Dr. Meiker (not his name, but the spelling is important). Meiker was hired by Trinity because his wife, a PhD in Philosophy from Yale would not accept a Trinity a teaching position unless the school also hired her husband, whose Doctorate was a Doctor of Divinity degree from some small Baptist seminary in Kentucky or Tennessee. John and I cringed when Dr Meiker pronounced the name of the author, Theodore Dreiser. as Theodore Dreezer. One day Meiker called on John to answer a question and John replied, “ Well, Doctor Meeker . . .” and Meiker said, “The name is My-ker, Mr. Igo.” And John said, “Oh, I thought it was like Theodore Dreezer.” (Meiker still called Dreiser Dreezer) .And we both had a good laugh with each other when Meiker pronounced “lascivious ” as “lavicious .” I wrote a column for the weekly school newspaper, The Trinitonian, . that dealt with language errors and mispronunciations as well as other humor, and when I wasn’t able to produce the column, I would ask John to fill in for me. And he did, with great humor and under the byline “By Hookor Bycrook.” I was happy to get back in touch with John in recent months and jokingly reminded him that, when my wife and I told him we were getting married, he said that, as “only” children, with no brothers or sisters, he would bet us a quarter that our marriage would not last more than one year. Gary tells me that John got a laugh from my demanding payment of the 25¢ plus compounded interest for the 65 years of our marriage." ~ LaRocque DuBose
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John Igo (Robert Maxham, Photographer)
"I arrived at Igo's office with a camera, a light, and bag of lenses. He was concerned about his face appearing too round. I told him I would forego the "portrait" lens which is a short telephoto (Telephoto close ups tend to make the subject's face look rounder.)
"I just don't want to have a moon face," he said.
"Okay then, hatchet face," I said, reaching into my bag for a wide-angle.
He smiled and said that would be better.
"How did John Igo's life affect me?
No longer tied to a regular job, and well past a degree-oriented schooling, my time was suddenly my own, the poverty temporarily acceptable. One thing I chose to do was audit John Igo's class. On offer was his clever wit and his eye for the right phrase. I was pleased to receive his compliment for some passages, however, also came to realize that the more I learned, the more I expected, and just how hard it can be to make something look easy."
~ Robert Maxham
"To all the nieces and nephews he is Buddy. Reading the messages posted here brought back memories of the kids sitting at the dining table while he graded papers. They were 3x5 index cards. We got to have them to draw on the unlined side when he was through with them. I think there were millions of them and we had so much fun with them." ~ Christine Kiesel (John's Niece)
"My first encounter with John was when he came to Galveston to be groomsman at my wedding in 1958. We had an instant rapport. With my writing and background in the fine and performing arts, we could readily communicate---sometimes with just a look. He always encouraged me and supported my endeavors. Once, when I was participating in a co-author book signing at Barnes & Noble, I looked up and he was sitting in the middle of the front row smiling. When he noticed the progression of arthritis in my hands, he presented me with a ballpoint pen like he used. As bibliophiles, we would joke about the piles of books that filled our living spaces. I was not permitted to take any of his classes because, he said, "I don't teach relatives." But he did teach by being my friend. The last days with him were difficult. Holding a cup while he drank and tucking a warm cover around him was a privilege and I will always miss him." ~ Junette Kirkham Woller (Judy)
"Mr. Igo was a dear friend and colleague of my mother, Zula Vizard, and an inspirational guide in my life since grade school. Without a doubt he was the finest poet, playwright and essayist I've known, likely the greatest I will ever know. That he would be a friend to me is the highest compliment and our visits were joyous and illuminating. Now and forever he shall be missed, yet remaining in the hearts and minds of so many he is never far from us. I'm thankful to have had the honor and pleasure of knowing him. At our last lunch together I admitting stealing a phrase from one of the poems in God of Gardens for a line in a song. His reaction was to strike the table with his index finger, happily declaring, "Yes,yes,yes!". It was as if he considered his work like jazz or folk art, not rigid but designed to flow into other work, to grow. There will never be another like him." ~ Edward Vizard
Special Guest Book post from Carol Baass Sowa -
"Like most who attended SAC in the 60's, it was my first encounter with an amazing man who loved all of the same things I did. The one great passion we shared most was local history and the families of the northwest area of what is now San Antonio. We were even kissing cousins of sorts due to the marriage of his cousin, Lorraine Marnoch to Joe VanDeWalle, my husband's uncle. From the history of Bandera Road, to for whom the roads in this area were named, to stagecoach routes and stage stops along the way, to tales of times and places forgotten by most, we never lacked for lively conversation. This man had a curiosity for, and always some tidbit of information about, any topic one could name. It was my privilege to have him as an honored guest at a fundraising dinner for the Huebner-Onion Homestead and Stagecoach Stop in 2001. It was an even greater honor to have him back as guest speaker at that same event in 2015. It was one of his last speaking engagements and once at the podium, his strong presence and unique way of commanding an audience with his love of spinning a yarn was as amazing as it was in the days of his youth. Our loss is heaven's gain, and I'm sure he is up there entertaining angels and enjoying being free of the earthly bonds that could not constrain one such as him. He will be missed by those of us who knew and loved him." ~ Linda Cooper Persyn
"I am so sorry to hear that John Igo passed away this month. I just today posted my review of A Stone for Plot Four on Amazon, which I have been thinking about a lot since I read it a few weeks ago. I knew Mendez Marks in the 1970s, and I was so pleased to discover this book and to learn more about his life. I can perfectly understand why Mr. Igo was fascinated by him, and I am grateful that he took up this special quest and produced such a unique book. My condolences to all his family, friends, and colleagues." ~ Alice K. Boatwright, Author
"I met John Igo on several public occasions, both times he asked about my brother, Albert (1950--75) who had taken his class. From I could tell they made a lasting impression on each other. I am most grateful for his always remembering my brother and I will never forget John Igo." ~ David Dimitri Katakalos
"I met John when I was a Jefferson High School student in the mid-70s at an English Honor Society meeting where he was our featured speaker on Mexican literature. He brought a pasteboard banner with him which spelled out Mexicanos; each letter was decorated in the myths, styles, and colors of Mexico. His dialogue with us was rich in history, lyrical in many ways, and of course witty, organized around topics which began with each letter. Several years later, he enthralled me again in our study of Beowulf. He was my teaching and writing mentor, my friend and colleague. When I queried as a young teacher whether I might use the handouts he'd provided me in classes I took with him, he heartily endorsed my honest theft, encouraging me to make it my own. He is among those teachers I had the amazing good fortune to know and study with, those who propelled me into teaching. Thank you John for your many shared gifts." ~ Jane Focht-Hansen
"John Igo was one of a kind. As a teacher, writer, poet, & theater critic, wonderful story teller, & a gentleman of the old school. Any one who was lucky enough to make his acquaintance, never forgot his charm & wit. He will be missed by all of us." ~ Julia E. Cammack
"John Igo was my godfather. He was a wonderful inspiration to me, encouraged my creativity, and sent me copies of his books. I will miss him." - Monica Reilly
"I only recently became acquainted with John. Of course his talent and his intelligence were remarkable, but his kindness and his generosity is what I will remember most. He always made time to talk and share stories. I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to know him, if only a little bit. We have lost a friend who cared about the places and people of our shared history. We will miss him." ~ Kathy Hill, Leon Valley Historical Society
"He was an inspiration to those with inquiring minds . . . where ever you go, "Igo" ... rest in
peace dear colleague." ~ Holly Matthews
Award Winning Author
"I'm going to miss you. Thank you for all you have given me." - Brody Patrick, Great great nephew
"A long time ago as a teen who wanted to write, but barely knew how, I took a couple of English classes from John Igo. I remember that his zeal and passion for the language was contagious and inspiring. If Mr. Igo praised a paper or the wording of a sentence, it was enough to elevate your mood for days. Throughout his wondrous and brilliant life, John Igo helped and motivated hundreds of students like myself. He was a true San Antonio treasure and an exemplary gentleman and educator." ~ Susana Hayward
"John Igo was a friend of the family. My grandfather, Walter Hausman, and my dad, Ernest Hausman, knew him well. It was an honor to be able to take photos of him at the dedication of the library that bears his name. I really enjoyed the few times I was able to visit with him as he shared some of our family history with me. He was an amazing person, down to earth and very generous! " ~Paul Hausman, Majestic Images
"At one of the family gatherings I took my young nephew out into the wooded part of the property to shoot the B B gun. Unfortunately, it was also by the driveway and he shot out the window of Buddy's (John) Volkswagen. He just said, "no problem things like this happen." He was a kind and patient uncle." ~ Chip Clark, (John's Nephew)
"John Igo was a dear friend of the late Alice Geron, of Watercress Press, which is how I met him when Alice took me as a partner in the business. Watercress published many of his short works, plays, stories and essays, and I worked very closely with him in the last few years, transcribing his various works, and overseeing design of the finished books. I will miss him very much." ~ Julia Hayden
"I met John Igo back in the 70s in many of his classrooms. I was an Interpreter for the Deaf and he was always fascinated with the communication process. He taught poetry and wanted to get the concept of poetry across to the Deaf students. He created a method of timing with a small abacus to teach the Deaf poetry. The visual worked and the Deaf students were amazed as well as John Igo. Wonderful memories with Professor Igo and his awesome sense of humor. You left your mark Sir. Honored to have known you and shared a small corner of your passion and your world." ~ Edie Huff
"John Igo was the very first faculty advisor for the SAC Catholic Student Association (a Catholic club on the SAC campus). I was the Catholic Campus Minister for SAC from 2002-2015. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Igo in 2005 when we had a celebration at the SAC Catholic Student Center." ~ Joseph A. Liedecke Jr.
"Back in 1974, I was a student of Professor Igo at San Antonio College taking “British Literature” as a required course for my Baylor University degree plan. Professor Igo required us to read five British Literature books in 6 weeks of a summer session. Then, we had to write a 10 page paper on each which required us to answer specific questions about the books. So, you had to read the books. I can’t imagine any other Professor who actually made this initially seemingly boring subject seem interesting. I would have never read these books, in my life, had I not been in his class. He was a really good teacher that kept your interest, which I found rare in my college studies. He prided himself for rarely ever giving a “A” to a student in his classes. I was number one in his class that summer having received a “B+”. There were no other “B+’s” or “A’s” given during this summer session. He was definitely a gifted and unique teacher. I know he will be missed by his family and all that were close to him. " ~ Gary Kennedy
"I first met John as a colleague at San Antonio College in the early 1990s. When he found out I lived in Helotes, he warmed up to me immediately. He came from a pioneer family from Helotes and loved to talk about growing up there. Later, we met over several hours and several cups of coffee at Jim’s restaurant, where he regaled me with some folktales of the Helotes Settlement, which he later published as a book. At the time I was working on what would become the comprehensive history of Helotes and John kept emphasizing, “Now, remember, these are stories that I heard. Did they happen exactly this way?” He shrugged his shoulders. We kept in touch and when I called him on the phone, he was always very keen to talk about my writing, especially about my research about old Helotes. John was my friend, a unique person, and a kind man. I will miss him." ~ Cynthia Leal Massey
"It was my honor to publish one of John's last books, "A Stone for Plot Four, or Mendez, a Quest" (Wings Press, 2015). It was a biography wrapped in a memoir wrapped in a psychological case study of a brilliant but tortured, original soul whom John simply did not want to be forgotten. No one who knew him will ever forget John Igo either. Before we began editing that book, I had Gary bring John over for a literary evening with Naomi Nye and Rosemary Catacalos. He regaled us with stories for a couple of hours. One of my best stories about John comes from when I was editing the literary magazine PAX in the 80s. He had written a story about a Chicano kid on the Westside, mainly because he wanted to experiment with code switching between Spanish and English -- but he didn't want anyone to know that he'd written the story. So the author of that story was listed as Juan Yovoy. Even years later, when I called him on the phone, I'd ask if I could speak to Juan Yovoy. He laughed every time." ~ Bryce Milligan, WingsPress
"To me, John was Buddy. He was my great uncle. True to his background in education, he instilled in us a love of books...and also possibly catalog (now Internet) shopping. When we were young he bought my brother and me the entire series of Dr. Seuss books. On Sundays, when we would go to lunch at my great grandparents' house, he would give us a cardboard package with two new books in it. We had an envious collection and many of those books are still on our shelves. At the time, I'm sure I did not appreciate the gift of books. Now, with a ten year old of my own, I realize the treasure (and expenditure) that a book truly is. Thank you for your generosity." ~ Dorian Patrick
"John and I met many years ago when I was active at San Antonio Little Theatre. Long after our ties at the theatre were over, we continued to have lengthy conversations on the phone. He was the most delightful conversationalist, a dear friend and was one of those people you could not forget! Our last visit was at the library in 2015 when he spoke of his last book A Stone for Plot Four, or Mendez a Quest. His brilliance, his humor and friendship are something I will remember the rest of my life!" ~ Nita Cunningham Kaplan
"I don't remember why I took John Igo's writing class the first time, I took it every time it was offered thereafter. I felt complimented that he always welcomed me back. He gave me the confidence to know that I really can write even though I do not pursue it as a career at 84. I was a newsletter editor for over 10 years." ~ Virginia Leonard