Friends

From Glenn Chesnut

“He was one of the kindest, most honest, most caring, most generous men I have ever been privileged to know. He was unfailingly and steadfastly dependable through whatever came his and my way. I know that the angels will place a starry crown on his head, and that the souls of the just will welcome him with hymns of praise. I hope he understood all the gratitude I had for all that he had done for me — and for the rest of us too. We wouldn’t have had an AA History Lovers group, for example, if he hadn’t been there supporting it from the very beginning.”

From Natti Ronel

I met Ernie when he visited Israel back in the nineties, and from my side I admit that it was a beginning of deep appreciation and love. Ten years ago we met again when I visited Canada and he drove all the way to meet me somewhere in Ontario. Between the years there were several periods of intensive mutual correspondence. It began by regular mail, and I still have Ernie’s handwritten letters. Then we became modern and corresponded more intensively by email, discussing issues that have to do with the practice of spirituality, spiritual intelligence and alike. Ernie’s thinking was of the top – deep, wide, encouraging, alerting, inspiring. Many times when I wrote papers, I had his thinking in my mind, guiding me to better shape my ideas.

Ernie was very much educated in Judaism – “to become a better Christian” as he once told me – so let me end with two Hebrew sayings:

ברוך דיין אמת  (Baruch Dayan Emet) – Bless is the true judge  – we say it when we hear about a death of a person.

יהי זכרו ברוך  (Yehi Zichro Baruch) – Be his memory blessed – we say it to bless the one who died.

From John Koster

Ernie was unquestionably the “go to” guy on a range of historical and spiritual questions. It’s hard to envision anyone taking his place in that capacity. He set the Gold Standard. Even since his death occasional questions have arisen giving rise to my first instinct, “I should call Ernie about this”.
 
I last enjoyed lunch with Ernie in Ann Arbor this past Fall and we corresponded a few times thereafter. As usual, he was his customary informative, challenging, reasonable and re-assuring self, ever ready to provide answers or ever ready to unselfishly provide helpful follow-up recommendations as to where the answers might be found.
 
Ernie was a resource and an inspiration to many and he will be sadly missed.

From William R. Miller

Ernie was not someone who spoke often, so when he did I was always interested to hear what he had to say.  He had the blessed combination of being both an encyclopedic historian and a master storyteller.  I particularly value the article that we wrote together, and I knew that we were doing something right when both of our polarized colleague groups asked us, “What on earth are you doing publishing with HIM?”  We have lost a precious treasure for the addiction field, and his writings will continue to inform and inspire.
Bill Miller
From Andrea L. Mitchell
Who at the {Alcohol Research Group] did this dirty deed?. These were the words sent by Ernie to the Kettil Bruun Society List  in 2008, responding to a message which had informed the list members of the fact that I had been “laid off” from my 37 year career, as the librarian of the Alcohol Research Group.    Called in at 4:30 and told to leave that nite.  Financial crises.Ernie’s words gave me new hope that there was  Humanity still left in the world.  I will never forget him for that.
Who at the ARG did this dirty deed?.
Thank-you,  Ernie, your words were so   much    appreciated.
From Edward Khantzian

Ernest was truly a visionary in getting at the roots of human distress involved in alcoholism and how and why AA was so effective in ameliorating the suffering associated with these  disorders.  Although I was not fortunate enough to have met him personally, his wisdom and understanding was always evident to me in his writing and teaching and has much influenced me in my work with patients and in my thinking about addictive disorders.

From Jim Christopher

 Remembering the warm support and encouragement Ernie gave me over the years regarding Secular Organizations for Sobriety, I am most grateful. I am sorry for your loss.

Jim Christopher / SOS International

From Hossein Dezhakam, founder of Congress 60, a recovery community in Iran (translated)

I hope you are fine, and you kept trying in another world with strong feet and a strong body.

Dear Ernie, it is quite interesting that you and I were friends and yet we didn’t meet and we didn’t even speak the same language. A strong feeling, which is love for humanity bonded us together and I love you from bottom of my heart.

Our discussions on the role of spirituality in recovery were prolonged. I enjoyed these discussions very much, I thank our wise mutual friend Mr. William White for introducing us.

Dear friend, in days that people steal a stick from a blind man or in days that everyone tries to gain more for themselves, people like you and our friend Bill, were after helping others to make them come out of ignorance darkness.

Dear Ernie, you know well that the rulers of time are those who create, produce and teach and devil’s pupils are those who ruin.

How beautiful you didn’t take a sword to fight the darkness, to split blood, because blood can’t wash away darkness. You established a fire to fight against darkness and the light of that fire fought against addiction darkness. Every page of your books and dear Bill’s book is an instrument for people who desire to fight against darkness.

At the end I thank dear Bill, and dear Ernie’s wife for involving me in this memorial and I pray for you all to be in a blissful state and to be healthy.

From Daniel Laguitton, Quebec

June 28, 2015

I met Ernest Kurtz twice at the Rutgers Summer School of Alcohol Studies where he was teaching in the early nineties and I was in touch with him by mail on a few occasions since. I have kept an indelible memory of his vibrant teaching style and, most of all, of the substance of his teachings. If I had only one word to sum-up the wisdom he was trying to reach and communicate, I would use the title of his masterly history of AA : Not-God. By a mysterious alchemy, that word paves the path to transcendence and echoes the famous verses of TS Eliot : “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Rest in peace, Ernie, and thank you for the teachings.