Wednesday, March 14, 2012

RIP, Harry Stamper

I'm very sorry to say that my friend Tom Stamper's brother Harry Stamper died last Friday:
On Friday, March 9th, 2012 folksinger Harry Stamper passed away at his home in Charleston, Oregon. Harry Stanford Stamper, Jr. was born September 20th, 1944 to Harry and Viola Stamper in Roanoke, Virginia. Harry wrote prolifically on a range of subjects, although he was best known for his labor songs and his work with the ILWU, his union for 37 years. His song, “We Just Come to Work Here, We Don’t Come to Die” is considered a classic in labor and folk song circles. The song is featured on Classic Labor Songs from Smithsonian Folkways and on the album We Just Come to Work Here, We Don’t Come to Die: Songs of Health and Safety. Harry’s music has been recorded and performed by a wide array of musicians including Anne Feeney, Citizen’s Band and General Strike. Stamper’s lyrics were featured in Sing Out!
Tom introduced me to Harry many years ago, and I was especially honored to have him play an extended, hilarious and raucous set at my Open Mike in Ashland, in around 2005. Harry was a pro, a true pro, and an extremely funny, engaging, thoughtful, whip-quick, and just plain human human to be around. He was just a very special man, and it made my life better just to know him the little bit I did.

Sorry for the loss of your brother, Tom.

Here's an Oregon Public Broadcasting clip from 2001 on Harry. They did a nice job.

P.S. Found this, too. Very nice:
A musical tribute in Harry’s honor will be held at the ILWU Local 12 Hiring Hall, 2064 Sherman Ave., North Bend, Oregon on Saturday, March 17th at 2 p.m. The family wishes to make it a party that Harry would have liked to attend. Holly says, “We want to pack the house.” So come on prepared to play, sing and/or tell stories and celebrate a life well lived.

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