What Happened to Jim Pomeroy?
Many of us had questions about Jim's demise. Paul DeMarinis wrote up a statement soon after his sudden death to help answer our questions. Here I have excerpted it and added a few of my own notes[..]. (Names deleted for privacy)
1) from my discussion with C on April 6, 1992:
[On Sunday, March 22, 1992, Jim, three colleagues (A, C, and C2)] and 2 150 pound dogs were going for an afternoon walk in a park near Philadelphia. It had rained and the paths were muddy. They were on a descending path. The dogs had run back on the path, chasing each other and were running toward them. Jim was the first in line, the first dog ran around him but the other ran into him and hit him full force in the back of his knees. C said she saw him fall "flat". She said the ground was just damp soil, not hard or stony. Jim got up, said he was okay and they continued on. C walked with A, C2 and Jim walked behind, slower. C noticed they got farther behind. Finally, C2 came running up to meet them to say Jim wasn't feeling well and that they should turn back. Jim said he felt nauseous, so they took him to the hospital. C described it as an upper middle class place, well-staffed with no waiting. The doctor who examined Jim said he had a concussion but was not worried about it. They ( C & A) were concerned, though, so the doctor did a CAT scan. It was negative. The doctor said they should keep an eye on Jim & wake him every few hours for a few days. They took him to M's and C's house in Philadelphia and did this.
2) from my 'phone conversation with Jim on or about March 28, 1992:
Pomeroy gave me a synopsis of the above events and complained of lingering headaches. He told me the doctor who'd examined him said he had a concussion and the headaches might persist for several weeks. He said he was under a lot of pressure to prepare for his Seattle gig and for the Biosphere presentation at DIA. He was working long hours and said that when he got tired "no amount of Excedrin" would alleviate his headache. He read me an abstract of his & C's Biosphere papers and seemed enthusiastic about that.
3) from my conversation with B upon my arrival in Dallas April 8, 1992:
B said that the Art Dept. had called Jim on Thursday(?) to attend a meeting on Friday, to which Jim neither came nor responded by 'phone. He said this seemed unusual. On Monday the 6th the Pacific Science Center called the Art Dept., concerned that Jim hadn't arrived (he was slated to arrive in Seattle on Saturday the 4th ). Since B had the key to Jim's house, the Dept. (chair?) asked him to go over and check. He knocked on the door several times, and the door swung open. In the front room he saw Jim's body on the rug beneath his "Beating a Dumb Joke to Death" sculpture. He knew immediately that Jim was not just asleep and called 911. The paramedics arrived, determined that Jim was dead, called the coroner's office and left. The police were there and they looked at the artwork suspiciously, asked B a lot of sleazy questions [about possible suicide (based on the sculpture and his proximity to it)]. Later the coroner's office arrived and took the body. B told me the results of the coroner's report: Cause of death: "Acute subdural hematoma" at the base of the brain. Time of death: as recently as 12 hours previous. B had this explained to him by a nurse friend who said that pressure from a burst blood vessel in the brain would cause cessation of breathing and produce unconsciousness and death within 15 seconds. She said even if emergency services had been summoned, it would have been too late. The only way to save such cases would be if Jim had been in a hospital and a brain surgeon had been able to operate immediately.
time of death:
Last 'phone conversation w/Jim anyone had was thursday night. Answering machine messages not erased starting on friday. Jim saw a doctor in Arlington on both thursday and friday and got a note from this doctor that he was unable to travel. Presumably this meant he intended to cancel or postpone the Seattle gig, but they hadn't been notified.
Another recollection I have is that Jim was drinking slim-fast during that last week, perhaps in an attempt to fit into his performance costume. I don't remember whether someone told me this when I arrived in Arlington or I saw the containers out on the counter.
Webmaster notes: Jim was able to find irony in his situation till the end (and beyond). He noted to me that he had been knocked over by an Irish Setter on St. Patrick's Day, and wondered why they'd given him a CAT Scan when he'd been hit by a DOG.
If you have any more details, corrections, or embellishments, please contact me.
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