Remembering Richard Mahler

Richard MahlerThe Southwest Festival of the Written Word has lost a great and much-loved friend. Richard Mahler, or Rico as he liked to be called, was an Everyman: writer, editor, publisher, radio host, media consultant, photographer, teacher, naturalist, and literary pioneer. If you wanted something done, and done well, in the world of words, Rico was the man.

He had a particular affinity for the outdoors. He was a frequent surveyor of New Mexico flora and fauna, and was named Volunteer of the Year for 2014 by the Wildlife Land Trust of the Humane Society of the United States.

In fact, the best-known of his thirteen books is probably The Jaguar’s Shadow, an outdoor odyssey. This epic quest to encounter a jaguar in the flesh is quintessential Mahler: a wild adventure across endless deserts, steamy rainforests, malarial swamps, and border badlands, leavened with Mahler’s trademark dry wit and his philosopher’s gaze at a world gone mad.

Rico was unassuming and laconic, and one had to dig deep to understand what a driven, dedicated writer he was. His work appeared in some very fine publications: Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Outside Magazine, Southwest Art, Utne, Alternative Medicine, and New Mexico Magazine, to name but a few.

Recently he founded a publishing press called Relham (read it backwards) for original new work. In this venture he served both as publisher and mentor to numerous authors. He also co-hosted Use Your Words: Writers Speak, a literary radio show broadcasting out of Silver City, his adopted home. His sonorous, measured tones gave the show gravitas without pomposity.

Richard will be much missed by the writing community as well as the community at large. Our condolences to Pamela, his fiancée.

JJ Amaworo Wilson

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