James M. ("Mike") Brundage-Neill

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8 years · 10 months · 22 days
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In the winter of 1974, I moved to Salt Lake City to live with an aunt who was dying of cancer. I was enrolled at the University of Utah, studying for a Secondary Education teaching credential, when she passed away in May, 1975.

It was during this time that I met Tony A. Hardman, and we became very close friends. The few special months that were allotted to us to be together were among the happiest days of my life: How we laughed! How we enjoyed each other's company!

But, inexplicably, Tony disappeared; and I could not locate him. Having successfully completed 9 months of a one-year program at the University, I abandoned that goal and moved on. At the start of the new year, in 1976, I moved to California and began my life over. I have lived in Sacramento ever since.

I didn't contact Tony again until I passed through Salt Lake City on 02 Jan 1987. I didn't ask him to explain anything; he didn't need to. I just wanted to assure myself that he was alive and well and happy; and to let him know that I never forgot him...and that I never would. I asked him if he was married and he said yes. Did he have children? Yes, a boy and a girl. I told him how happy I was for him. We didn't linger over fond memories or reminisce on our good times together. But I was glad to have been able to tell him goodbye, something I didn't have the opportunity to do in 1975. I told him that I kept him in my heart and in my prayers (I still do)and that I would never forget him. I am deeply saddened today (21 Jan 2011) to learn that my beloved friend passed away 20 years ago! O! How I regret that I did not keep in touch with Tony, so that I could have offered my continued love, support, and friendship...when he needed it!


I was born in the Boise Valley, Idaho, on a very rare Easter. I am the eldest of two sons of United States Air Force Captain Robert W. Neill. I majored in Fine Arts Painting and Sculpture at Glendale Community College (Arizona) 1968-70; Fine Arts Painting at the San Francisco Art Institute (1970-72); the Instituto Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (Summer transfer courses, 1970); Fine Arts Painting and Art History at the University of the Americas, Cholula, Puebla, Mexico (1972-74); and Art Education at the University of Utah (1975).

I served my Country during the Viet Nam War (1967-68) and I served the Arts community at the California Arts Council (1980-1992). The Sacramento Valley, California, has been my home for most of my life. But as an Air Force dependent ("Brat") I have also lived in Arizona, Florida, Texas, Maine and Puerto Rico.


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