Systems analyst, musician and poet, Cardinals fan
Roger Blaine Humes of Claremont lost his battle with cancer on June 13, 2014. He was 61.
Mr. Humes was born to the late Jake Blaine Humes and Frances Kathryn (Kirchner) Humes on August 14, 1952 in Keokuk, Iowa. He graduated from Central Lee High School in Donnellson, Iowa and received a bachelor’s degree in history from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He married Cynthia Ann Smith in 1985 and they lived together in Iowa City, Iowa and Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, India before relocating to Claremont in 1990.
Mr. Humes was a systems analyst in the College of Engineering at his alma mater, Cal Poly, until he recently retired. However, he always considered his true calling to be as a poet and multidisciplinary artist.
Mr. Humes was a guitarist and percussionist and created both music and lyrics for many original songs. His compositions included the wistful “Say Goodbye, Emily Dickenson.” (“You write poetry to be hidden in your drawers/while you write poetry to hide you from the world.”)
He published six books of his own poetry, such as “Pages To Angela,” “after the visitation” and “There Sings No Bird.” He also contributed to and served occasionally as a guest editor for Harvest International, a nationally distributed, student-run print anthology published by the English and foreign languages departments at Cal Poly.
He had a favorite description of poetry. The prophet Mohammed is said to have asked a friend, the poet Abdullah bin Rowaha, “Abdullah! What is poetry?” His response resonated with Mr. Humes. “It is something that pulsates in my heart and is then spoken by my tongue.”
He combined his computer skills and passion for poetry and social justice when he conceived of and implemented The Other Voices International Project in June of 2004. The Other Voices International Project (othervoicespoetry.org) is a cyber-anthology that erases the boundaries of nations, ethnicities, religions, cultures and age in order to collect and present some of the world’s best poetry. Mr. Humes published 46 volumes of poetry on his othervoicespoetry.org site. Each volume showcases 15 poets from around the world with samples of their work and a short biography. Other Voices is listed in the journal section of the World Poetry Directory of UNESCO. Mr. Humes was also an active member of The American Institute for Progressive Democracy (TAIPD) and a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan.
Mr. Humes is survived by his wife Cynthia, his daughter Margaret Rita Rose Humes and his son Mackenzie Blaine Humes.
A celebration of his life will be held st 2 p.m. on July 5, 2014 at the Monte Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Montclair. A private family ceremony will be held in Iowa at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Monte Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 9185 Monte Vista Ave., Montclair, CA 91763, or to The American Institute for Progressive Democracy (TAIPD), 2058 N. Mills Ave., Claremont, CA 91711.