Around March, my friend Howard Ozer told me he was heading out on a safari. He did these things often, adding to his collection of trophies.
In the Hemingwayan universe Howard inhabited, men shot animals. Women did, too. If you were his friend, you accepted that.
I wished him bon voyage and suggested that we catch up at the meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and have a drink or three, but at the meeting in early June I didn’t see Howard swagger through the McCormick Center. I figured he had something better to do. We didn’t connect in the summer, either.
Then, late in September, at the meeting of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, I ran into Regina Schwind, who was the cancer center administrator when Howard was the director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center.
“How is Howard?” I asked.
“Not well. He died in April,” said Regina, who is now a graduate student and program director at UIC.
And so I learned that Howard, the Eileen Lindsay Heidrick professor in oncology at UIC, had died in the jungle of Cameroon, near the Boumba River, on April 6, 2018. He was 71.