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Thaddeus Ashby 1924—2007
Very few of you know the story of how I first came to the island 37 years ago. And not many of you ever met the hard-of-hearing “noisy neighbor” many of you heard speaking loudly, blaring his TV and music from the 60’s, and coughing uncontrollably. Only a handful of my dear, old friends have heard the infamous story of “The Flaming Beginning of Thaddeus and Babsy.”

It involved my protective father having a rather momentous confrontation with this new “boyfriend” (who was old enough to be my father); Thaddeus making a hasty exit from the bedroom of my family home in his French Citroen; the Mazarati “ooga” horn blasting as it shorted out down the street, starting a fire in the motor of this exotic red car that Thaddeus was driving...without his pants on.

While I wasn’t particularly proud of that bawdy movie-material begnning and have rarely spoken of it, I realize now that it was all part of my colorful history and personal growth that got me to where I am now.It is not surprising that this dramatic connection with Thaddeus alienated my family. My recently deceased brother, Jim, never really forgave me.

The reason I mention this story is because, since we separated in 1977, this man named Thaddeus Ashby, who became my noisy neighbor living on a 1/4 acre parcel of land inside the crotch of my two-acre “Y” shaped property, recently died.

The day of his death, we suffered the largest storm I’ve ever experienced in South Kona. With tremendous thunder and lightening and wind, 4 1/2 inches of rain fell in one hour causing huge boulders to flow down the hill, breaking down walls and flowing over the road, stopping traffic for hours.Certainly I would not liken Thaddeus to anyone else as he was uniquely Thaddeus Ashby. But a great storm similar to this also blew when our famous neighbor, Terrance McKenna, died.

Thaddeus is someone I wish to honor for his brilliant “out of the box” mind, undaunted joy of life and keen sense of humor—even when he was very ill with a lung disease that disabled him for the last years of his 84 trips around the sun. Written up in Alan Watt’s autobiography, Thaddeus was someone Alan found to stretch his mind and make him laugh. Thaddeus lived a dramatic life and was a fine story teller. That was part of his charismatic, endearing charm.

Thaddeus is survived by his dear wife, Maggie, who tells me that when the nurse would ask Thaddeus what year it was, his standard reply in recent years was, “1977.”

Without Thaddeus, the new silence at the Dragonfly is almost deafening.

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