Go to 2023 Big Muddy Festival Memories

Remembering and Missing Paul Fotsch, 1949-2023




  It has been a hard week this last part of July after we learned of the death Sunday, the 23rd, of our good festival friend and musical cohort, Paul Fotsch. He was healthy and vibrant by all accounts and had no medical condition of concern that anyone knew of, and he had played for the farmers' market the previous day. He died in his sleep, a commonly preferred way to go, but one very well might also die in the sleep of the person next to you. Our hearts are with his wife, Barbara, and daughters Leela and Ellie, who often shared the stage with him here and at far flung places.

  We knew Paul through almost all of our musical lives, Cathy and me, and Paul was a favored part of the tribe in Central Missouri. He was a member of our Discovery String Band with Bob Dyer, Cathy, me, and Win Grace. We all watched his daughters grow and play and as we all grew and played ourselves. He and his family are a prominent part of the storyboard that is the Big Muddy Folk Festival. Paul very much loved to play music, and he was an equally enthusiastic audience, as well. He was an expected presence at many musical happenings. I always knew Paul as a positive and upbeat person; perhaps that's because we were usually together doing something musical. Paul liked to tell jokes on stage, almost the cornier the better. His daughters would roll their eyes as you could see those jokes coming from a mile away. I really enjoyed them, and I often eagerly passed on some to him that I came across. So here's one I didn't get to give him:

  On our way to Missouri last month we stopped in Kansas to see an old cowboy friend of mine who was in jail. He was known as the Brown Paper Kid. He wore brown paper pants, brown paper shirt, brown paper vest and a brown paper hat. They got him for rustling.

Hope your laughing, Paul.