Monday, March 30, 2009 by Dave Blum

A bit of explanation is in order, I think, for my week away from this blog.  On March 22, at ~6pm, my father, Walter, died at a hospital in Santa Rosa, CA, from complications related to lymphoma.  He was 81.

It was a fairly sudden illness, one that took us all (including Dad) by surprise.  As my father, Walter, is a big part of who I am and how I became a trainer/treasure hunt writer, I’d like for all of you to get to know him just a little bit better.  What follows is the write-up we’re submitting to the San Francisco Chronicle:


Walter Blum, a feature writer and editor with the Hearst-owned Examiner for over 30 years, died March 22 of lymphoma.  He was 81.

Mr. Blum joined the Examiner in 1960 and wrote a wide variety of features on arts & culture, show business and Bay Area events, for California Living and Image magazines.  Some his favorite interview subjects included Victory Borge, Phyllis Diller, Leonard Nimoy, Buddy Hackett and Carl Sagan.  He was the author of “Benjamin H. Swig: The Measure of a Man” and co-author of “Personal Shorthand for the Journalist.”

Before moving to the Bay Area, Mr. Blum worked as a radio disc jockey and annnouncer at stations in North Carolina, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Denver.   A long-time East-coaster, Mr. Blum –  upon arrival in San Francisco- declared “This is paradise. I’m never going back.”  He lived in the Bay Area for the next 50 years.

Born in New York City, Mr. Blum was something of a renaissance man, with an abiding love of literature, history, science, politics, opera, classical music, bridge, and crossword puzzles.  After surviving polio at age 17, he received a Bachelors and Masters degree in music composition from Columbia University and was a skilled pianist and composer.  During his youth, he spend summers at Tanglewood studying under the likes of Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein.  He was a novelist as well, and a long-time volunteer reader for the Recording for the Blind.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Shirley, his two sons, Dave of San Francisco, and Brian of Jerusalem, Israel, and his three grandchildren.

Good bye Dad.  I love you.