Finding A. Reid Fitzner

February 24, 2012

Yesterday I stumbled across an ink drawing done by a classmate of mine named A. Reid Fitzner. I remember he was a cool guy, an art major I think, and we were in an anthropology survey course together in my fourth year as an undergraduate.

One day, while sitting in lecture together, Reid seemed completely uninterested in the lecture and started drawing something from the Newsweek magazine he had. At the end of lecture, he had drawn what you see below using his Bic ballpoint pen. I was amazed. And my enthusiasm was rewarded: he gave me the drawing.

Later on in the semester, he confessed to me that he was suicidal. I don’t recall what I said. I never saw him again after that class. I searched for his name and found only a college project from 1972, and a vital statistic from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin:

Record Type: Death
Name: Arthur Reid Fitzner
Birth Date: 2/22/1953
Death Date: 7/12/1987
Newspaper: Reporter
Page Number: N/A

And that was it? What happened to you, Reid? Did you become an artist? Did you go insane? Did you commit suicide? I look at the intensity of the pen strokes, especially in the eyes of the old Indian man, and I feel an incredible intensity in your being. I guess I’ll never know, unless someone searches for his name and finds this post. If they do, please tell me whatever happened to A. Reid Fitzner.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Fred Haak December 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

As a native of Fond du Lac, I knew Reid from grade school through high school. We were good friends then, but parted ways after graduation. Before one reunion, someone had mentioned his passing. Several spoke of his battle with mental illness, but there was no information of the cause of his death, whether it was suicide or not. I wish I could share more, but I refuse to speculate.
Reid displayed amazing artist talent even in grade school, and impressed many. He was a gifted person. I hope what ever demons he had have left him and he has found peace.

Previous post:

Next post: