Passing of a Legend
by Dean Johnson
On Tuesday, September 25, 2012, when I was sitting on our deck enjoying the weather with Helga, Marty called with the shocking news that sometime after midnight this morning he “felt sick and in pain.” He immediately called a cab to take him to the emergency room at Beth Israel Hospital.
After undergoing a series of tests his doctor, John Fox, told him that he had a life-threatening (90%) blockage in one artery and strongly recommended by-pass surgery – sooner rather than later.
The surgery was scheduled for Thursday the 27th. Dr. Robert Tranbaugh would be the surgeon in charge.
Marty and I discussed, for nearly two hours, all of the ramifications of this major event in his life – most of all his “brand and identity” – that of a “fit 82-year-old with extraordinary table tennis skills” – as well as what to do about all the scheduled events and responsibilities in his life that would now have to be put on hold:
• A meeting with a producer and his film crew from England who was flying in tomorrow to shoot additional footage for a documentary on Marty with a focus on action shots.
• An exhibition in Connecticut on Monday for which he would be paid $1,000.
• A $10,000 hardbat challenge match which he was trying to arrange with Michael Landers.
• An exciting offer he’s had from Susan Sarandon and Jonathan Bricklin for a dedication of a room at SpinNY to be known as “Marty’s.”
• Last but not least, the care of his wife, Yoshiko, who is not well. For several years Marty has been her caregiver.
Caption: Marty & Yoshiko in 1981
Watch for Dean’s book launch of “A Table For Two” in mid-August.