On the endless flatland that houses the small town of Fort Morgan, the local cemetery is home to the grave of well-known science fiction writer Philip K. Dick.
Dick, who died in 1982 at 53 years old, produced 36 novels, 121 short stories and 14 collections in his short life; his books have been translated into 25 languages. Although his writing gave him little financial success in his lifetime, classic stories like “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (the basis for the film “Blade Runner”), “Total Recall” and “The Minority Report” assured Dick’s fame among fans of science fiction.
Although he was born in Chicago and died in California, where he spent most of his life, Dick was buried in Fort Morgan next to his twin sister, who died at six weeks old.
Despite his lack of monetary success in his lifetime, Dick was fortunate in his mentors. Editor Anthony Boucher helped him get a start in the field and Robert Heinlein reportedly gave him an electric typewriter and loaned money to his impoverished family. Science fiction author A. E. Van Vogt encouraged Dick to write the more financially satisfying novels than the short stories he was writing for pulp publications. John Lennon was a great fan of Dick’s “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch” and talked to Dick about making the book into a film.
Since his death, nine films have been made based on Dick’s writings, including “The Minority Report,” “Screamers,” “Imposter,” “Confessions of a Crap Artist,” “A Scanner Darkly,” “Total Recall,” “Next” and “Paycheck.” He received the prestigious Hugo Award for “The Man in the High Castle” and two British Science Fictions Prizes and John W. Campbell Memorial Award.
Much of Dick’s work explored a series of experiences in the early 1970s when Dick said he had mystical visions that affected the rest of his life. He referred to that experience as 2-3-74, for the months of February and March of 1974 when they occurred. Dick apparently suffered from mental illness from his teens. He died as the result of a series of strokes and heart failure.
Ironically, since his death Dick’s work has enjoyed an enormous surge in popularity. His three children (from five failed marriages) now manage the Philip K. Dick Trust, established to encourage new science fiction writers.
Ft. Morgan was also home to band leader Glenn Miller, whose parents are buried near Dick, Houston Texan tight end Joel Dreessen and, briefly, author Michael Crichton. Members of the Ingalls family from the “Little House on the Prairie” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder are also buried in Ft. Morgan Cemetery.
The cemetery is in the heart of Fort Morgan. Take exit 80 off of Interstate 76, turn south to the first stop light and make a right turn onto Riverview. Follow Riverview to West Street and make another left and the cemetery sits on both sides of West Street. Phillip Dick is buried on the eastern side, referred to as Riverside Cemetery.
601 W. 8th Ave.
Fort Morgan, CO 80701
More about Philip K. Dick
• IMDB biography