"keenly on his guard" [HOUN]
Sadly, the Baker Street Irregulars have lost another one of our own, just over a month after the most recent obit. Paul Smedegaard, BSI ("The Randall Gang") passed away suddenly on November 14.
Paul, who proudly hailed from Racine, Wisconsin, received his investiture in the BSI in 1977 and had been a stalwart member of a number of Sherlockian societies of the Midwest - too many to mention, really - but if you check out his profile on the Sherlockian Who's Who site, you'll see what I mean.
Paul was not only a joiner, but a leader. And everything he led, he led with a fire-in-the-belly passion that ignited similar feelings in others. It was a joy to see Paul get truly excited about things.
If you didn't know Paul, here are a few of his Sherlockian activities worthy of note:
- His involvement in Hugo's Companions, where he was was one of Vincent Starrett's own picks and served as Sir Hugo XIII (lucky 13!). You can read Paul's thoughts on "What Is a Sherlockian" in Sir Hugo's Literary Companion: A Compendium of the Writings of Hugo's Companions, Chicago On the Subject of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, the volume just edited and released by David Humphrey.
- Paul's honorary membership in the Sherlock Holmes Klubben i Danmark, as it hearkened back to his father's roots in Denmark.
- His membership in the Master's Masons, a group founded by Ron Fish for Sherlockians who were also Master Masons. Paul took great pride in his affiliation and was an officer in his lodge.
We had many occasions to chat with Paul during the BSI Weekends, and even saw him last year in Philadelphia, when we visited the Copper Beeches. Paul had driven all the way from Wisconsin to be there. He was that dedicated. And during the 2006 BSI Weekend, Paul decided to have an "episode" at the Gillette Lunch, where he turned ghostly white (even for a Wisconsoner) and had to be whisked to the emergency room. True to form, though, he showed up for the BSI Dinner later that night.
So we're sure the crew at From Gillette to Brett II is going to miss Paul this weekend. The Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis were part of his roster and I'm sure he would have made the drive down to Indiana to take part in such a wonderful event.
Paul was one of the nicest Sherlockians out there and he will be missed by many people around the world. He leaves behind his wife Margaret, who is also an Irregular ("The Criterion Bar") a son, a daughter and six grandchilren. Paul's funeral will be Saturday morning at 10:00 AM at Unitarian Universalist Church, 625 College Ave., in Racine. Visitation will be Friday night and Saturday morning from 9 to 10. The full obituary is available from the Racine Journal Times.
Please consider leaving a comment below that we can forward on to Paul's family as a sort of guest book.