On Tuesday, the world lost a real gem – Andre Pope.
I met Pope with my brother on the same day we met veteran podcaster Dave Slusher, whom Chris had arranged to meet after listening to his podcast and discovering that he lived in Conway. I had agreed to tag along that day probably 12 years ago. We got together at Bummz Beach Café in Myrtle Beach.
I knew nothing about both of those guys, except for the fact that my brother always mentioned Slusher when he talked about podcasts. I was still relatively new to the Grand Strand, having moved here in 2005.
Andre must have been like 27 then, although I perceived him to be younger than that. He was cordial and kind – and as I would find out would be a through-line in our friendship, always willing to help.
He told me that he was then a partner in an outfit called 803 labs. We talked about blogging, podcasting and social media – and it wasn’t long before the subject of tech meetups came up – and how cool it would be to launch an event in Myrtle Beach.
I’ll be damned if those guys and others didn’t put together an event called CreateSouth, which took place for several years. My brother and I provided the entertainment for two of these. Another friend, Paul Reynolds, helped me get set up with my first Blogspot blog.
Andre leaves behind a wonderful wife, Heidi, and two awesome kids – Memphis and Ryder.
I’d have to say that Pope was a renaissance man, and somebody else recently referred to him on Facebook as a doer. He was a major proponent for cycling in our area, an expert pit master, entrepreneur, designer and family man. He taught graphic design at Horry-Georgetown Technical College and was creative director at a graphic design/marketing/advertising firm called Design Cypher.
Early on, he invited me to lunch at Magnolia’s at 26th, a southern-inspired buffet here in Myrtle Beach. The man genuinely loved meeting and getting to know people, which is why I wasn’t surprised that he was also involved with a coworking space called Cowork MYR. He was a consummate connector.
Andre was one of my go-to sources for stories, especially during my time writing for Weekly Surge, a McClatchy product and local alt-weekly under the umbrella of The Sun News – and this covered a variety of subjects from tech to social media to cycling and more. He was a busy guy, to be sure, but never once did he turn down an interview request. He provided credibility to whatever piece I was working on, was always patient and never failed to teach me something.
For a while, he would look slightly different every time we saw him – perhaps with low sideburns at one time or a totally different getup the next – so much so that my girlfriend always told him that she was never sure if it was him. That was a trip – and I wonder if anybody else noticed that over the years.
He was also a part of a group that I call the “yeah, man” guys – meaning that this was his way of saying “you’re welcome.” I loved that.
When I last saw him, he was resting in a camper outside The Boathouse in Myrtle Beach, where a packed benefit was going on in his honor. My brother, his wife and my girlfriend and I only visited him for a few moments. I gave him a hug and a peck on the top of the head and told him I loved him.
I swear to God, the man said to let us know if there was anything he could do for us.
That was Pope for you.
My heart goes out to his sweet family. Andre leaves a void that can never be filled. I will miss his intellect, his humility and his “yeah, man.”