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R. I. P. William Monical

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For those who knew Bill Monical I just received news that he has passed away. A very influential figure in our business, founding member of the AFVBM and a mentor to several prominent members of the profession. I met him in 1971 when he came to the Smithsonian instrument laboratory to trouble shoot a problem with a  beautiful Barak Norman gamba held in the collection. He was very encouraging of my ambition to become a violin maker and was a resource for information on early instruments until his retirement. He will be missed.

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9 minutes ago, Mark Norfleet said:

It was the quick inventory he did before leaving a room he had been in for a while.

So a pilot was flying along when his engine failed, and the place crash landed. Everybody survived, and the co-pilot looked over and saw the pilot make the sign of the cross.

"I did not know that you were Catholic," said the co-pilot

"I'm not," said the pilot. "I'm just checking that everything is here." And as he moved his hand to each place, he said, "Head, heart, wallet (right shirt pocket), testicles."

I hope Mr. Monical would appreciate the joke. I imagine that is the origin of his "inventory."

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I just found out about Bill's passing a few hours ago. I'd been thinking about him a lot over the last few months. He moved to Oregon some years back and I was able to spend some time with him outside of violin meetings. Bill was certainly one of a kind. He was probably the most influential force in helping me to develop my eye on the inception of my business. When he answered the telephone with: "hello this is William Monical". It was hard not to stop the conversation to wonder where in the World that crazy accent might have originated. It was like the first time you ever heard Katherine Hepburn say her lines in a movie. He was a wonderful, helpful and generous man. Bill would sit at a dinner party very quietly while urbane and historically informed guests were expounding on a given subject and finally let forth with " well you know, actually the real story is......"  It was hysterical to watch the jaws drop in the mashed potatoes. I'm going to miss him very much. 

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I had the pleasure to have him met once while I was in New York. At that time I was going around to meet the members of the AFVBM because I wanted to become a member. 

Ill never forget my first phone call. A loud voice saying ‘HALLLLOOOOU’ answered my call. It was Bill Monical himself. When I visited his shop in Staten Island it was a journey to meet this unique man full of humor spiced with the monical way to talk. It was a pleasure to meet him. Condolences to the family. 


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What's all that ruckus? Oh, it's Bill and Cathy Monical, finally together again, having a ball! :)

Cathy had a sense of humor that was even more outrageous than Bill's. :D

Upper left photo (click to enlarge): Bill center back, Cathy in front of him. The guy in the down jacket is Otto Schenk.


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11 hours ago, MeyerFittings said:

It was hard not to stop the conversation to wonder where in the World that crazy accent might have originated.

Yeah, have to kind of think he just created it himself.

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  • 5 months later...

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