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January 23, 2017


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Jack August was a true gem of a man between his impressive scholarship of Arizona's past and being acquainted first hand with so many key political figures, but also for having a deep sense of decency along with a great sense of humor. I spent a lot of time with Jack in 2016-first asking him if the collection of early Tombstone documents coming up for sale at an auction in Dallas last June was worth buying up to keep in Arizona. He not only wrote me back quickly to say "yes, buy it all up", but also went through every document I bought to tell me it's full history and how rare it was. He then asked me loan it to the Arizona State Capital Museum where he worked as the official State historian so that he could make an exhibit of them, which he did present to the public in September and October. I truly enjoyed working with him and will miss him terribly. He was a great asset to the state of Arizona as a scholar, and a great friend and human being. I had no idea that he was ill and learning about his passing away at such a young age still leaves me in shock.

My husband (Danny) and I absolutely loved spending time with Jack - I still can't believe that he is gone. He even wrote a paragraph about Dan in one of his books and proudly showed it to us when it was published. Such a loss of a wonderful man and friend.

At times I grew weary of listening to Jack talk about how much admired you and your work.. :). He really loved you.

Very sorry for your loss. I wish I had known Jack August.

Thanks, Jon..... a beautiful tribute!

A great tribute to a great Arizona historian.

Wonderful tribute to a great man. His passing is a great loss to all of us who care deeply about Arizona and its history. Vaya con Dios amigo/

I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute.

I did not know Jack August,but as a resident since 1966 I was revolted by the conservative views espoused by the Republic and E.Pulliam.I am sure Jack and i would have been friends
I have found it ironic that the" chicks are coming home to roost" at the Republic It is called a "liberal rag" by the wing nuts.For 40 years I was waiting for this day but I find no satisfaction as the "kookocracy" as you call it has found it's backing from other sources.
We rode the tiger for 50 years,but getting off is a bitch.Unfortunately for all of us.

Rogue Columnist,

In my seven years in Arizona, I came to the conclusion that dissent (from the rampant conservatism) was, at best, tolerated. Tolerated in the sense that, if the "in crowd" could, they would change you in an instant. Conformism was expected. If you chose to be inclusive, worldly in your political views, or anything not "orthodox," you were shunned and subject to scorn for not getting the "gist."

The horizon is very limited in Arizona.

Sorry to hear about your friend's passing. Really good obituary. While I was unfamiliar with Jack August, after reading it I wished I had known him and was saddened by the loss to Arizona and his family and friends at far too young an age.

Really good guy. We were supposed to meet for a beer a few weeks ago. He was helping me with something, going well beyond the call of duty. Told me couldn't seem to shake "the crud" and would let me know when he was better. Terrible news. Hope all is well up there. All good here, though I sure do miss writing magazine-type stories once a month for much of my "adult" life. Life does go on, however, for us lucky ones....pr

Paul, Phoenix is poorer for the lack of your in-depth journalism.

Rogue Columnist, sad to say, but the powers-that-be in Phoenix and Arizona are probably at best indifferent to his passing, if their cynicism is any clue.

I have a lot of good friends who will no doubt mourn my passing, but I doubt any one of them is capable of putting together a tribute like this. You conveyed the weight of his loss to those, like me, who knew nothing of him.

I never knew Jack August personally, but I know his brother and I know from conversations with him that this eminent man was one of Arizona's, and the West's, most admirable scholars and a funny, interesting, and good soul.

Jack August worked to shine the historian's light on one of the most crucial pillars of the state's prosperity: water. He helped Arizona, and her people, understand what came before so that they might prepare for what is to come. That is a true gift.

Condolences to his family.

Jack August was my cousin, I loved him and we were close.

Our connection goes back about 60 years, when Uncle Jack and Aunt Tess relocated their family from Philadelphia to Phoenix. Even then, the kids – not just Jack – showed the strength, playful spirit and love of family that always reassured me: When I am with them, I am home.

This link extended beyond the backyard football games Uncle Jack refereed and the barbecues, where Uncle Jack and Tess shared their appreciation for people and the larger world they inhabit.
I know Jackie took that understanding into his adult life. It made him a good listener, a good story-teller and fueled his desire to make sense of a confusing world. Of course, Jack would be a historian! He showed us, through ten books, a Pulitzer nomination, countless articles and his active presence in the classroom.

Events threw us together: In Tucson, where Jack pursued his Master's degree and I reported the news. In Albuquerque my broadcast career and Jack's doctoral studies intersected. He let me know the historian and reporter share many of the same impulses: the good ones are fair and tell a story completely. Jack came by those gifts naturally. He often gave me an advance look at his writing projects; I'd share stories I particularly liked.

Jack and I remained close through job changes and marriages. We shared family comings-and-goings, and Arizona always remained a target-rich environment for his political observations. Hanging with Jack was a generous education!

Jack loved his family – the one he was born into and the one he inherited when he married Kathy. He understood this gave form and direction to his life. Jack wrote about others and he authored his own life-story very well.

He always made me feel welcome. Whenever we talked, wherever we gathered, I always knew I was home.

God bless you, dear cousin. Put in a good word for me.

Mark Sanchez
January 21, 2017

So sorry to read about Jack's passing. I was really fond of him during our days in Silliman College (Yale) long ago. He always had a twinkle in his eye and made you feel good. Clearly, a life well and thoroughly lived, but gone much too soon.

I spoke with Jack August a only handful of times. The first was at Seamus McCaffrey's, where I was to meet a group of others interested in discussing Arizona history.

It was mid-March or April 2016, I'm pretty sure. I had only recently become aware of Jack because our common FB friends were congratulating him on his new gig as Arizona Historian; with a swell title like that I had to take a closer look, and I liked what I was reading by and about him.

So when I walked into McCaffrey's, I just assumed when I saw him at the bar that he was also there for the discussion. "You're Jack August!" I said, and then seeing he'd just taken a swig of his drink, I filled the time with "...b-u-u-u-u-u-t I'm guessing you probably already knew that."

He had the big genuine laugh you'd expect from that face. He nodded like he was considering what I'd said. "Yes...I am, and...yes, I did!" Once he realized why I had approached him, he told me he wasn't there for the discussion but that he knew where the group was and took me to them. Along the way he said, "You know, I'd love to join you guys but I'm flying to Chicago tonight with Jon Talton."

At least, that's how I remember it: that he was either waiting for you there or that he had time to kill before heading to Sky Harbor to meet you. Or maybe he wasn't going to see you until he got to Chicago. What stood out was that it had something to do with a new book of yours and he was proud to be helping in some way.

I was reminded of that when you mentioned him in "The Bomb Shelter." The loss to family, friends, and scholarship is obviously greater, but every time I read or hear Jack's name I feel a bit regretful for the missed conversations with someone who seems to have treated everyone like they were already friends.

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