Samuel P. Pickett, 80, of Chicago, passed away on Wednesday, January 2, 2008.

He was born in Aurora, IL, on June 10, 1928, to the late Patricia and Marcus Pickett. Samuel was given a homebirth; he arrived upon the world in the family’s back kitchen. As he slipped from his mother’s heaving womb, three poetess-aunts crooned to him in the feathered rhythms of William Carlos Williams, the staccato rappings of e. e. cummings, the wily tongues of Carl Sandburg. One could say that he was destined for verbomania from the very start.

During early elementary, Samuel learned Spanish, French, German and Chinese through books and the local immigrants around town. As a fourth-grader, he won the twelfth-grade spelling bee, and by sixteen, he’d published three highly-regarded novels. Upon high school graduation, the young wordsmith had compiled a comprehensive list of English neologisms from 1900 to 1946. For this he was awarded the Charles Talbut Onions, whence began his journey into the world of lexicography. Samuel quickly rose to prominence as head etymologist of the Oxford English Dictionary, and went on to pioneer many advances in the field.

At thirty, Samuel was the first person in history to enter into wedlock with a word. His new wife was the darling but rather rare adjective Caliginous. They were married on July 30, 1958. Later on, his affairs with other desirable nouns, verbs and adjectives were discovered – Supplicant, Lubricity, Amaranthine, and Festoon all came forth with lurid tales of homo-linguistic passion. Samuel and Caliginous divorced on December 6, 1988. They had no children.

Per Samuel’s Last Will and Testament, his epidermis is to be stripped and transformed into paper for a very special edition of the WXYZ volume of the OED. Remaining body parts will be cremated, so that the ash may be mixed with ink used to print the edition. A viewing of the completed volume will be held at Morton’s Funeral Home at 7p.m. on February 2. Thereafter, the book will be housed in the permanent section of the Washington National Library.

~ by kingzoko on May 31, 2014.

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