|The oldest of five children, Donald Barthelme was born in Philadelphia, but grew up primarily in Houston. He was educated at the University of Houston and, as a young man, worked for the "Houston Post". In 1953 he was drafted into the military and served in Korea and Japan. He returned to Houston to work for the university writing public relations material--a job he did well, but didn't particularly enjoy. In the 1960s he took up residence in Greenwich Village in New York City in order to write for and edit various magazines. He became an established author of short stories, most of them first appearing in "The New Yorker", and began a pattern of residing half of the year in New York and the other half in Houston, where he had a position as a creative writing instructor at the University of Houston. In his career as the author of four novels and many short story collections, he accumulated numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the National Institute of Arts & Letters Award. Barthelme was married four times; he and his second wife, Birgit had a daughter, Anne Katherine. He died of throat cancer in Houston in 1989. In an essay written shortly afterward in the "New York Times Book Review", his friend, the critic Lisa Zeidner, wrote, "As dreckmeister, Barthelme occupies a singular position. He probably watched more network television and listened to more country music than any other artist who also quoted Kierkegaard and Beckett."