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Arlo Guthrie Says a Prayer for the Late Pete Seeger

Seeger, a 1936 Avon Old Farms School alumnus, passed away at age 94 on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014.

Pete Seeger, a legendary folk singer and member of the Class of 1936, passed away at age 94 on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. Credit: Avon Old Farms School
Pete Seeger, a legendary folk singer and member of the Class of 1936, passed away at age 94 on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. Credit: Avon Old Farms School
Arlo Guthrie, a friend of legendary folk musician Pete Seeger's, had a conversation with the Avon Old Farms School alumnus after his passing Monday – through prayer.

Guthrie posted on Facebook that he meditates and prays every night before bed and that on Monday around 9 p.m. "he decided to go visit Pete Seeger for a while, just to spend a little time together."

"So I was sitting in my home in Florida, having a lovely chat with Pete, who was in a hospital in New York City. That's the great thing about thoughts and prayers- You can go or be anywhere," Guthrie posted on his Facebook page. 
"I simply wanted him to know that I loved him dearly, like a father in some ways, a mentor in others and just as a dear friend a lot of the time. I'd grown up that way - loving the Seegers - Pete & Toshi and all their family."

Seeger was slated to be the first recipient of the Woody Guthrie Prize in the legacy of Arlo's father in February. He was scheduled to perform with Arlo at the event. 

"We are honored to present the first Woody Guthrie Prize to Pete Seeger, whose incredible career pushes the boundaries of how music can make us think, feel and act," Woody Guthrie Center Executive Director Deana McCloud said in a statement. "We can think of no better recipient than a colleague, friend and confidant of Woody himself. Pete and Woody are arguably two of the most prolific folk musicians of their lifetimes."

So what did Guthrie have to say to Seeger in his prayers?

"I let him know I was having trouble writing his obituary (as I'd been asked) but it seemed just so silly and I couldn't think of anything that didn't sound trite or plain stupid," Guthrie said. " 'They'll say something appropriate in the news,' we agreed. We laughed, we talked, and I took my leave about 9:30 last night."

To Guthrie, the prayer was like a conversation and he imagined Seeger responding to him.

" 'Arlo' " he said, sounding just like the man I've known all of my life, 'I guess I'll see ya later,'" Guthrie said in his Facebook post. "I've always loved the rising and falling inflections in his voice. 'Pete,' I said. 'I guess we will.'

Then he shut off the lights and went to sleep and woke up at 3 a.m. to texts and phone calls from friends about Seeger's death.

" 'Well, of course he passed away!' I'm telling everyone this morning, he said. " 'But that doesn't mean he's gone.' "

Are you a Pete Seeger fan? Tell us your memories of listening to his music or seeing him in concert. 

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