Steven M. Frischer (1955-2014)

[An appreciation for someone whose passing went unnoted by the fan press at the time,]

By David K.M. Klaus: Steven M. Frischer, just Steve Frischer to his friends (1955-2014), St. Louis, Mo.  Heart attack.  Attended his first convention, St. Louiscon, in 1969.  He once said he could be remembered as the 13-year-old in a red baseball cap who bothered Harlan Ellison by following him around the convention and continually asking Star Trek questions.  He hitchhiked to L.A.Con in Los Angeles in 1972, then from there hitchhiked north to Guerneville, California to meet Robert Anton Wilson, who was very down on his luck in that part of his life.  Steve bought groceries for Wilson’s family contributing to their survival in a small part until Illuminatus! finally sold, launching Wilson’s career as a novelist.  Hitchhiked to TorCon in Toronto in 1973, said the Royal York was the nicest, friendliest hotel he’d ever seen.  When people with no rooms slept on the chairs in the hotel lobby, they were gently awakened around ten a.m. and offered tea at no cost, courtesy of the hotel.  Actually rode in a friend’s car to and from MidAmeriCon in Kansas City in 1976, no hitchhiking needed.  Member of the Ozark Science Fiction Association (OSFA), the Graphic Fantasy and Science Fiction Society of St. Louis (GRAFAN), the St. Louis Science Fiction Society.  Regular attendee at Archon, St. Louis’ local convention for many, many years as well as one day mini-cons hosted by GRAFAN in the mid-’70s.  Active member of the Church of All Worlds.

Open, friendly, found and welcomed new members for each of the groups he was in.  Son of two Buchenwald survivors, what they survived darkened his life.  He eventually married and had a daughter, Gidget Frischer, to whom he was devoted and close both before and after he and her mother Jodie divorced.  Steve was intelligent, both school- and self- educated, learned enough kenpo karate to stop a mugging attack by three men on him, then ran before they could recover from the shock of the short, skinny Jewish guy kicking one of them to the ground.  Enormously well-read in all forms of sf, loved reading Heinlein over and over, as well as del Rey, de Camp, Blish, Tolkien, Dickson, Anderson, Niven, and so many beyond counting.  Original Star Trek too, of course.

Gidget had to break down the door to his apartment, too late to save him, but he now has a grandchild even though they will never meet.  His ashes were scattered at the base of trees planted in his honor in the same cemetery where his parents were laid to rest.

6 thoughts on “Steven M. Frischer (1955-2014)

  1. He sounds like a wonderful man; I’m sorry I never knew him. (Very belated) condolences to his friends and family.

  2. Steve was the first person to ever say the word “worldcon” in my presence, leading to another huge change in my personal universe.

  3. Also, in July 1976 when I was living alone and had no television, Steve opened the door of his parents’ and his home to me at eight o’clock in the morning so that I could see the first pictures from the surface of another planet, from the Viking 1 lander on Mars, live, as they came in one horizontal pink line at a time on the Today show.

  4. I knew Steve only slightly, mostly from seeing him make extremely interesting and intelligent comments at Archon panels, and from talking to him for 5 or 10 minutes at a time after some of those panels. That was enough for him to be one of my favorite fellow St. Louis fans, and to know that he was as smart and as kind a person as there is. I’m truly saddened to hear this news.

  5. Steven’s daughter Bridget Frischer has informed me that I have made some mistakes.

    Her given name is Bridget (which I had known), I had thought her name change to “Gidget” went beyond Facebook, my error. Also her mother spells her first name Jody, not “Jodie.” I couldn’t remember, not having spoken with Jody in several years, and took my best guess, which wasn’t the right guess.

    I think I got the location of where Steve’s ashes were spread from another obituary, possibly from a newspaper. That is also wrong, they were spread on land owned by his brother Jerry; I also erred in understanding what Bridget had written about finding her father, as the door had been unlocked. I had mistakenly interpreted what she had written about having to push through the door as breaking it in. Again, my error.

    Steve also loved the work of Ray Bradbury, whose books I had managed to forget from his library of the ’70s. Mine again.

    I apologize for these mistakes and thank Bridget for the corrections.

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