Karl Pohrt (d. 2013) was the owner of Shaman Drum, an independent bookstore that closed in 2009 after 29 years in business.
Memories of Karl Pohrt have been published in a wide set of bookseller publications as well as local news and blogs - see e.g. memories published in the Ann Arbor Observer (by Tom Fricke).
Obituary, from Publishers Weekly:
Karl Pohrt, founder of Shaman Drum Bookshop in Ann Arbor, Mich., died on Wednesday. He was 65. Pohrt was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer in October 2012 and wrote about his illness on his blog, thereisnogap.com.
In 2009, plunging textbook sales and the economy forced Pohrt to close 29-year-old Shaman Drum, which had been located on the edge of the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. He also ran the nonprofit Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, which he founded in 2008.
"Karl Pohrt was a true bookman: a bookseller, compulsive reader, and a publisher as well. He had a very strong sense of the material and spiritual value of the reading experience. He was a man with a mission and an unshakeable devotion to the idea that books could transform human beings and the world for the better,” said Bruce Joshua Miller of Miller Trade Marketing in Chicago. “He was the godfather of bookselling in Ann Arbor and Michigan. He’s already missed,” commented Deb Leonard, executive director of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association.
A memorial service will be held for Pohrt on Sunday, July 14, at 2 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, 3257 Lohr Road, Ann Arbor. The family requests that donations be made to the church or to the Children’s Literacy Network.
Obituary from MLive
Karl Weidner Pohrt, age 65, passed away at home on July 10, 2013 surrounded by family and friends.
Karl was born and raised in Flint. He graduated from the University of Michigan - Flint in 1969. He moved to Ann Arbor that same year to fulfill his national service obligation working as a conscientious objector at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital during the Vietnam War. Karl began his career as a bookseller at Centicore Books on Maynard St. in the early seventies. He subsequently returned to the University of Michigan where he earned a masters degree in American Culture. All this was but a prelude to his life work.
Karl was the creator and owner of Shaman Drum Bookshop, a beloved community institution and gathering place from its opening in 1981 until its closing in 2009. Shaman Drum was recognized by authors, publishers, and book lovers as one of the country's finest independent bookstores. This national recognition led to Karl serving several terms as president of the American Booksellers Association. Locally, Karl served on the boards of the Downtown Development Authority and the State Street Association for many years.
Karl is survived by his wife Dianne, daughters Tanya (Kraig Binkowski) and Natasha (William Morgan, Jr.) and grandchildren Natalie, Maxwell, and Gavin; brothers Richard and Thomas (Carmen); mother-in-law Mary Oppewall, numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins, the Chandler family of Hays, Montana. A memorial service for family and friends will be held at the Episcopal Church of The Incarnation at 2:00PM, Sunday, July 14. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in his memory to the Episcopal Church of The Incarnation, 3257 Lohr Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48108 or the Children's Literacy Network, 1954 S. Industrial Hwy., Suite D, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.