In Memory of Nick Stump
Wonderin’ where the lions are
“his generation now lives only in the stories we tell and those memories we hold close. You can’t have basketball or love without losing sometime. So, I like it that spring comes at the end of basketball season. We will take our victories and losses with hope for next year. And I will always cherish those few precious times when this old hillbilly was given a break.”
—Nick Stump, “Love and Basketball,” Ace Magazine, 2014
On the bleak and icy morning of February 17, Lexington woke to the shattering news that legendary bluesman and writer, Nick Stump, had died after a brief hospitalization. As his daughter, internationally renowned DJ Marea Stamper shared with friends, “He hung on with life support, but when his ride showed up he was ready to go.”
Stump, née Michael Stamper, was best known as the frontman for the iconic Metropolitan Blues All-Stars. A patriot, poet, screenwriter, and musician, he modestly characterized his Vietnam wartime service as “a low-level intel analyst.”
In recent years, pre-Covid, he’d had a standing Thursday evening gig with friends at Henry Clay’s Public House downtown.
“Writer, singer, storyteller, musician, soldier. Thank you for your service. ALL of it.”
—Lexington artist John Lackey
Stump was preceded in death in February of 2013 by his beloved bride, the writer Bonnie McCafferty. The two married in 1992. She wrote, “The wedding ceremony was much like our courtship — swift, heartfelt, slightly surreal and absolutely hilarious.” In a piece called, “The Comeback,” she later wrote movingly about her 1993 brush with death, when she suffered a double aneurysm and spent nine days in a Louisville ICU awaiting surgery.
An outdoor joint memorial will be planned for Stump and his bride Bonnie later this summer.
This article also appears on page 18 of the March 2021 print edition of ace magazine.
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