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August 22, 2013



A wonderful tribute to a fantastic person! My heart goes out to his soulmate, Gerry.


So very sad to have our dear friend Ante leave us. I too have wonderful memories and can't even process this loss. Lynda

Lorrian Ippoliti

"Sunshine in human form"...that says it all about Ante. Thank you for this.

Bob Merlis

Thanks so much to sharing your experience with Ante. So evocative. We also had (some) music in common and our abiding love for Soviet-block cars. He even once owned a Zaporozhets, Ukranian-built small car that seems to have been a knock-off of West Germany's NSU Prinz. Topics like this were the most fun to share with Ante since he was so ahead of the curve. Missing him already.


I knew when I saw the bright red Nissan Cube in front of my house, that Ante had arrived (who else would choose that for a rental??). He stayed at my house during his recent visit to NJ/NY. It was a pleasure sharing coffee and talking every morning. Still in shock but your tribute is so sweet and spot on. Thank you for this.


A great tribute to an awesome guy!


A beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing his life and light. I had the pleasure of working with both Ante and Gerry, and you're right -- he sure was a sweet man with a goofy grin and a laugh at the ready.


Great story, I didn't know as long or as well, but from my brief time of knowing him, I know all said is true and he is already missed by many.


Wow. I just read all the comments ...of course I have read this blog several times now. I admit to knowing the part about The Fugs and BBQ'ing. Dan, we actually didn't fly back together from the East Coast; I stayed an extra 2 days. I just want to say this was an incredible tribute and I'm certain Ante is honored.

Jessie Lilley

Hey Dan, you knew Ante better than I, for sure, but I know that grin and that chuckle. The man could make me laugh with just a look. I've known Gerry since high school and when she called the other day there were no words. Just a lot of, "What? Say again? WHAT?!" Oh, my heart broke for this darling guy that I'd only known briefly - far too brief a time to have stored enough memories. I have one though, that you'll probably appreciate. Mad Gerry made t-shirts. Very groovy t-shirts. I was peddling my own wares at Monsterpalooza in Burbank and told her to get me some shirts and I'd put them on my table. Maybe the monster fans would be into tye-dye. Who knows? So guess who drove the shirts to Burbank? Ante. Poor Ante dragged his ass and the shirts into the lobby of the Marriott and deposited them at my feet while glancing wistfully at the bar. We were good though. We got the shirts to the table and packed away for the night and then he, my husband David and I all trundled to the bar and found a place to plant our backsides. Beers were on us and Ante readily accepted several tasty local brews while we three sat and gabbed about monsters and music for several hours. Then our Swedish pack mule declared that it was time to go home to his spectacular wife and left us stumbling towards the elevators. The next day, bright and early, Ante and Gerry arrived at the show and I smuggled them up to the front of the line and they spent the day roaming the halls and exhibits. Among other things, Ante was a huge fan of horror and I laughed my ass off when he asked me for an autograph. The funny part, for me, was that he REALLY wanted it and then tried to pay me for it. As if. In his honor, when I left work early the other day because I couldn't stop crying, I blasted The Clash all the way home, north on Route 1 into Santa Cruz. And then David and I shared a shot of whisky to Ante Wendel. A man we both grew so very fond of in so short a time. He is missed up here on the Central Coast as well as all over the world.


A very personal and touching piece for a good man and dear friend.


It's really emotional to read about Ante especially as you found the just right words to describe our loved common friend. I and I'm sure all my swedish friends are happy that so many of you people far away from Ante's native country appreciate him as much as we always have done.

Greg Davies

Thank you for writing this inspiring letter about Ante, it is how I will ALWAYS remember him! My thoughts and prayers to Gerry my dear friend.


You have described Ante's personality very well. For me who have known him since early teenage it is uplifting to note that he kept his character traits through life…..he was truly a genuine and righteous person. He leaves behind an endless flood of joyful memories from the good old times. May his spirit be kept in our hearts.


I received a message today that Ante passed away, and it was painful to hear. But I'm glad to have known him since childhood, having attended the same school class as him for 9 years. Lived in the same society until he moved abroad. And we are many in our class who are happy that he came to our class reunion in May 2011 in my home. The same gleam in his eyes and the same cheerful manner. Our thoughts are with Antes wife and his friends "over there" in the US. We will all have our own memories of Ante and we will never forget him. Sorry if my English is a little rusty?

Greetings from Sweden.


Thank you for writing this, Dan.
I worked with Ante at Coda and enjoyed his company immensely.
You captured his wry sense of humor. I hope to attend his service. - Don


Dan, just saw your blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this human sunshine. I worked with Ante for several years at Volvo. We met in person for the first time when I moved to the US and he showed up in his old Cad convertible to "cruise" us to the office. But before that I spent hours over phone from Sweden talking with him about car issues and whatever. He was the kind of guy that even under pressure saw the fun in the situation. He was well educated, skilled and highly devoted in his professionalism. We spend hours and hours of discussing how we could improve the car and customer experiance from our point of view and traveled all over US (and sometimes to Europe) in the spirit of satisfying unhappy car (and shop) owners by fixing technicalities with their cars. Ante was always a breeze to work with, with a lot of humor! We kept the contact after I moved back to Sweden. Even after we both left Volvo we've had some good chats over phone and mail. It's hard to take in that this is no more possible, I miss him so!

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Dan Epstein

  • About Me
    Dan Epstein is the author of Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s and Stars and Strikes: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of '76, both published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press. He writes about baseball, music and other cultural obsessions for a variety of outlets and publications. He lives in Greensboro, NC, and is available for speaking engagements.