RIP: Lloyd Biggle, Jr. (1923-2002)

Dr. Lloyd Biggle, Jr., Ph. D., musician, author, and internationally known oral historian died September 12, 2002, after a twenty-year battle with leukemia and cancer.

He was born April 17, 1923 in Waterloo, Iowa. During WWII he served as Communications Sergeant in a rifle company of the 102nd Infantry Division, and was wounded in action, twice. He received a shrapnel wound in his leg, near the Elbe River at the end of the war, which left him disabled for life.

After the war, Dr. Biggle resumed his education. He received an A.B. Degree with High Distinction from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, and M.M. and Ph. D. Degrees from the University of Michigan. Dr. Biggle taught at the University of Michigan and at Eastern Michigan University in the 1950′s. He began writing professionally in 1955, and became a full-time writer with the publication of his novel, All the Colors of Darkness, in 1963, a profession that he followed until his death.

Both Dr. Biggle’s science fiction and mystery stories have received international acclaim. He was celebrated in science fiction circles as the author whointroduced aesthetics into a literature known for its scientific and technological complications. His stories frequently used musical and artistic themes. Such notables as songwriter Jimmy Webb and novelist Orson Scott Card have written of the tremendous impact that his early story, The Tunesmith had on them in their youths. It literally changed the course of their lives. The Tunesmith was recently chosen for an anthology of stories to be entitled, Masterpiece: The Century’s Best Science Fiction. Among his enduring science fiction creations were the Interplanetary Relations Bureau and the Cultural Survey, both featured in novels and magazine stories.

In the mystery field, his Grandfather Rastin stories appeared formany years in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He loved writing historical fiction set in late Victorian and Edwardian England. He began the new Sherlock Holmes novels, The Quallsford Inheritance and The Glendower Conspiracy, which were researched on long visits to England. These were followed by a series of stories featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine starring his Victorian sleuth, Lady Sara Varnley. He also wrote the Pletcher and Lambert mystery novels.

He published two-dozen books as well as magazine stories and articles beyond count. His most recent novel was The Chronocide Mission. He was writing almost to the moment of his death. "I can write them faster than the magazines can publish them," he once said, with the result that even though his writing has been stilled, his publications will continue until his backlog of stories is exhausted.

Dr. Biggle was the founding Secretary Treasurer of Science Fiction Writers of America and served as Chairman of its trustees for many years. In the 1970′s, he founded the Science Fiction Oral History Association, which built archives containing hundreds of cassette tapes of science fiction notables making speeches and discussing aspects of their craft. He numbered many of these science fiction notables among his friends, and his article in the July/August 2002 Analog Magazine," Isaac Asimov Remembered," was based in part on his personal recollections of that towering celebrity.

He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Dr. Biggle is survived by his wife of 55 years, Hedwig (Janiszewski) Biggle, daughter Donna Emerson of Caro, Michigan, son Kenneth Biggle and devoted daughter-in-law Deanna Biggle, of Adrian, Michigan. His family will cherish many memories, including the special vacations he planned for them to enjoy together. He was an example for his family on how to live each day with courage and hope. Dr. Biggle is also survived by his sister, Donna Otteson, of Cedar Falls, Iowa, sister-in-law Helene Hirvela of St. Petersburg, Florida and dear family friends Doris Maleski and Harry Maleski, Jr. of Willis, Michigan.

Cremation has taken place. Friends may visit the family, September 15th, from 2pm to 8pm at the Janowiak Funeral home, 320 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of White Plains, NY, or Arbor Hospice, of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

—Kenneth Biggle

Comments are closed.