RIP Terry "Joe" Markus

RIP Terry Joseph Markus, whom many of us knew as Joe – a musician from the Taiwan music scene. I had the pleasure of playing guitar with him on many occasions at the old Cosmopolitian’s Blues Society open-mic jams every Wednesday back in the 2008-2009 era. For probably about 2 years, we played something together probably every week. He passed away Jan. 1, 2013 from a heart attack after having undergone major heart surgery on Christmas Day 2012.

Joe had memorized about 200-250 songs and was serious about his craft. He was a generous musician with a good sense of the song – he gave other players room to improvise, took turns, and played in a way to make up for our own faults. He was a good man.

He was inseparable from his blue Schecter guitar, an instrument he loved much. I can see him in my mind’s eye, doing those stepping motions with his feet to keep time.

The last time I saw him was at the Blues Bash this past fall in Taipei, where I introduced him to my twins – they were only just little babies when he and I shared the stage. He and I double-checked our contact details and then parted with hopes of getting together to jam again. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

AIT has informed me that he will be cremated, with the remains to be sent stateside to his family there. He was 56 when he passed away. I’ve written to his family – they do want to know about him, as he had not been stateside much in his many years of travel. If any of you would like to reach out to them as well, please let me know and I can provide a contact email.

RIP Joe.

Here’s an email from his sister, Kelley Stiles. I had known him in a music context here in Taiwan, but I thought some folks might want to know more about Joe’s background.

If anybody has any of his things or his laptop (which may have pictures, videos, etc. of Joe), it would be much appreciated if you could either contact me or AIT’s office of American Citizen Services, and I’d be glad to connect you with his sister. Likewise, please PM me if you would like to send condolences to his family. They really do appreciate hearing about Joe’s time out here.

You may be surprised to learn that he grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. After high school, he worked at various jobs and kinda “roadied” for different bands where he started playing guitar. He took some classes in Colorado and the Pacific Northwest where he met a girl from Japan who talked him into moving there. So he did. He started going back and forth to the US and eventually he finished college in Ohio and I believe did some graduate work in California. He moved around a lot even then. He got a job teaching English in South Korea…then moved to Thailand to teach scuba diving. He always went back to teaching though. All over Asia including China. Last year he landed one in Saudi Arabia. He was back in Taiwan as I think he considered that his “home base”. Music was always important to him. It was nice to read your kind words about his style. That doesn’t surprise me a bit.
The AIT does have his guitar and it will be shipped back to us, but there was no amp or other electronics in his apartment including his laptop. Not sure what happened to that since he was using it to email us and occasionally skype.
He has been cremated and they are sending him home where we will have a memorial service for him. He will be buried in Wisconsin near our mother.