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Goodbye, Walter: The Inspiring Story of a Terminal Cancer Patient [Paperback]

by RuthAnn Hogue, C. Stratton Hill
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 15, 2005 0972807128 978-0972807128 1st
In February of 1997, Walter Schifter was dying of cancer. During the final three weeks of his life, RuthAnn Hogue visited him frequently and reported his thoughts and fears in a series of articles for the [i]Daily News-Sun[/i], a newspaper serving the Sun Cities in Arizona. Walter's pain and misery put him on the verge of suicide, but compassionate hospice care reawakens his zest for life as he teaches us how to care for the dying and shows us the dignity and worth of every individual. Ms. Hogue's encounters with Walter touched her so, that she experienced a spiritual awakening and a re-commitment to the relationships in her own life. Join them on their journey to the edge of life in this remarkable and inspiring story.

Editorial Reviews


"Hogue's book struck a deep chord. Her work celebrates the end of life instead of having us fear it." -- Bob Stump, R-District 9, Arizona House of Representatives; Health Committee Co-Chair.

"This is an important story, beautifully and sensitively told." -- Bev Harvey, writer, Write Visions

Hogue was forever changed by the experience, and so was I. -- Paul M. Howey, author Shoah: Journey from the Ashes, and Freckles: The Mystery of the Little White Dog in the Desert

I love your book. Very touching. -- Kerry Lynn Blair, author of The Heart only Knows, and The Heart has Forever

In this intimate and personal journey, Hogue reminds us of love and faith and how they are eternally entwined.  -- Phil Alvidrez, noted television producer, MagicDust Television

RuthAnn Hogue's secret is her commanding use of specific, concrete detail. She is a master at her craft. -- Linda Shelley Whiting, historian/author of David W. Patten: Apostle and Martyr

This book is a necessary read. The story is a reaffirmation of life. -- Mark Potter, Director of Suddenly Unexpected, an MPotter Production

About the Author

RuthAnn Hogue graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Telecommunication and Journalism in 1997. She has won numerous awards as a journalist, including the Arizona Newspapers Association first-place award for Journalistic Achievement. She currently serves as the news editor for the [i]West Valley View[/i] (Avondale, AZ).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Mapletree Publishing Co.; 1st edition (September 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972807128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972807128
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,251,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

RuthAnn Hogue is the first-place recipient for nonfiction books, memoir, in Arizona Press Women's 2006 Communications Contest. Goodbye, Walter advanced to earn second-place in national competition with the National Federation of Press Women. She accepted the award in Denver in September 2006.

Hogue's day job is writing Web copy for Apollo Group, Inc. She also teaches JMC 425 Online Media part time for Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

She is devoted to her family, which she says always comes first.

Hogue has also captured numerous awards for her work as a journalist including many first-place prizes. Notably, the Arizona Newspapers Association in 1997 honored the Daily News-Sun with a first-place award in its class for Journalistic Achievement for "The Journey Home: Diary of a terminal cancer patient." Hogue was so touched by the experiences she shared with Walter and Lillian Schifter while reporting the series that she felt compelled to convert it into a book.

The result, Good-bye Walter: The Inspiring Story of a Terminal Cancer Patient, has been published by Mapletree Publishing Company, an imprint of Wind River Publishing.

Hogue, born in 1962, is the mother of five children. A goal she set in 1990 to become published led to a story in a national church magazine. She used the $40 she received to pay for a summer newswriting course, which set her firmly on the pathway to becoming a professional writer and editor. She enrolled in college in 1993 and graduated in August 1997 from Arizona State University with a bachelor's degree in print journalism and a minor in political science. She received several prestigious scholarships while attending ASU's Walter Cronkite School.

In addition, she wrote for local newspapers, the college newspaper and reported the evening news live for the campus radio station while attending school. Hogue landed her first full-time reporting position in December 1996 with the Daily News-Sun, and by November 1997, had been promoted to an editing position. Before that, she had already done much award-winning work as a part-time news assistant for The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette while attending journalism classes.

In spring 2000 as Neighbors editor for the Arizona Daily Star, she implemented a plan she developed to produce and publish daily micro-local news specific to nine geographic areas. She later went on to accept a city editorship at the Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review newspapers where she doubled as a writing coach. She has been news editor of the West Valley View and managing editor of the Gilbert, Chandler and Queen Creek editions of Independent Newspapers in the greater Phoenix area.

In addition, Hogue has taught journalism and writing courses for the University of Arizona and occasionally teaches workshops on time management. She has also taught high school journalism and English and contributed columns to The Arizona Republic's Southwest Community section.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beauty of this story June 10, 2005
As the publisher, it's interesting to see the reaction of different people to Goodbye, Walter. Some seem to get it and are deeply touched by it. There may be others who can't understand why the focus in the book is on RuthAnn, the author.
We, the publishers, asked RuthAnn to focus on herself--it wasn't her idea, and the original manuscript she submitted didn't do that. The reason is that the beauty of Walter's story is the change he wrought in her. Here is Walter Schifter, who felt so worthless as he was approaching the end of his life that he wanted to commit suicide. However, once he is properly cared for, the richness of his personality and his value as an individual come out. He comes to realize that, even though doctors have told him he has only two weeks to live, every day still matters because he now has a purpose for living. His focus changes from his pain and misery to what he can do for others during those last days.
RuthAnn, as she comes to know Walter, is profoundly affected by his sense of purpose, and she is touched in such a way that she decides to put her own life back together.
I love her honesty and her openness. She is struggling with a life that has, in its most important aspects, come unglued, and she freely shares that with us. Walter doesn't preach--he's not that kind of person. But, with his example and his deep desire to be useful to others, he helps her see what is truly important in life. As she builds her life on those important things, it falls into place. And that is the point of this story. It's a profound, beautiful lesson.
We are seeing tendencies in society to devalue the lives of those with terminal illnesses, people who are totally dependent on others. Some even encourage them to end their lives early. With this book, Walter and RuthAnn show us that life has eminent value, even in its final, potentially miserable days.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Personal Narrative July 9, 2005
I am in agreement with Mr. Hall. (The reviewer from Sierra Vista obviously has issues.) The thing that strikes me so much about this book is the sense it gives you of how important life is--not just the importance of being alive, but of living life with a purpose. Death can come to any one of us at any time. Live life earnestly, love earnestly, and rejoice that you have a place in the universe. This point is made with great PERSONAL power.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye Walter January 1, 2008
At first I was a little confused about who this book was about, Walter or RuthAnn. But as I finished the first chapter, I realized that it is about both of them and how Walter's terminal illness enlightened him about his life's purpose and the difference that he made and touched RuthAnn's life in profound ways as well. Isn't that the meaning of enlightenment? I think that it is showing another, by example, something that makes a difference in their own life and transforms them. Through her relationship with Walter, his wife and his friends, RuthAnn began to see life through a different, more empowering avenue and she made more positive choices. I appreciated the opportunity to get close to people that I would not have otherwise gotten to know and realize again, how precious and wonderful it is to be's not about me....all the time!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Goodbye, Walter: The Inspiring Story Of A Terminal Cancer Patient by RuthAnn Hogue is an influential biographical depiction of a struggle for life and the many barriers required for survival. Hogue's personal story will enrapture the reader in its telling of a difficult and inconceivably strenuous time for both the author and Walter Shifter, her friend dying of cancer. Goodbye, Walter is very strongly recommended for its inspirational content for readers looking to overcome their own difficult situation, as well as readers who have friends with cancer or other terminal conditions.
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