Thelemic date

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bernie Zuber • 1933-2005

A long-time friend of mine, Bernie Zuber, passed away last Friday, October 14th, at 2:15 P.M. at Arcadia Methodist Hospital. He was the co-author of The Tolkien Quiz Book and one of the premier experts on Tolkien long before the Peter Jackson movies and even before the Hildebrant Brothers Del Rey editions of the 1970s.

He endured bipolar disorder but finally found the right mix of drugs to control it and even wrote about his experiences, becoming a local advocate for the mentally ill.

In the last few years, he started attending raves, becoming a bit of a celebrity: he told me kids would take a photo with him to prove that older people enjoyed their music, too. His gentle good humor and kind-heartedness endeared him to more than one young thing, such as bathtubgirl.

He was married for many years to Teny, and together they entertained a wide variety of Southern California fandom. I always enjoyed being in their presence because they had a sort of Nick and Nora Charles meets the Hobbits quality that I loved about them.

In the early 1980s, Bernie read a draft of my novel Death's Dimensions. Shortly after that, he was in a minor auto collision and for some reason his bipolar condition kicked in. He later told me that the novel had disturbed him at just the wrong point in his life. Happily, he was able to look back on the hell he'd been through with the cest la vie attitude of his French ancestors.

I'll miss him. Seventy-two is too young.



At October 19, 2005 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Victor, Bernie became quite the painter these last few years, energized by the low-brow art scene and art raves in Los Angeles. We are caring for his paintings and hope someday to have postcards of them (or something) for people to enjoy as a memory, or even to discover him once again. Thank you for your blog entry regarding his passing. We will all miss him. His friend and caregiver, Mary Torregrossa

At August 31, 2007 10:11 AM, Blogger Steven said...

Thank you for your tribute to Bernie. I lost contact with him when I moved to Berkeley years ago but have fond memories of the Tolkien Fellowship and the Westmarch Chronicle. With the advent of Google, I've been tracking down old friends. I'm sorry to learn that he's gone but delighted to learn that he was, well, still Bernie. Raves, indeed!

Steve Aultman

At April 14, 2008 8:51 PM, Anonymous jennifer robin said...

I'm so sad to hear about Bernie's passing. He was such a vibrant person and a lover of the arts. He has come to many of my performances over the last 10 years or so. I always admired his energy, he would often take the bus to my gigs. He would always keep up with local happenings and was dedicated to his Shire post. I also remember how he loved the wine and hor deurves at an opening! He really dove into his life. I hadn't seen him in several years, now I know why. Thank you for writing about him.

At June 11, 2010 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just googled Bernie's name to find out what became of him. I knew him back in my days in a Tolkien discussion group that he helped found, called Hobbiton. He was a heckuva nice guy and a pleasure to talk with, even if I did get ribbed about not having read the entire trilogy.

Bernie lead our group in the Pasadena Doo-Dah Parade in 1979/1980 time frame. A lot of people thought we were in the SCA becuase or our costumes, despite the fact we had a Nazgul in our midst.

He is greatly missed by all who knew him. Thank you for writing about him



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