We all gotta go. I know that. I edit Dead People Server, partially to track "people's status," but also as a reminder - we all gotta go some day.
The last few weeks, a number of people connected to the science fiction field have died. Weirdly, each death has gotten a little "closer." First Lafferty and Knight, older men whom I knew slightly. Sad, but not all that unexpected. Then, George Alec Effinger, younger and more of a friend. Then, very suddenly last night, Bruce Pelz.
Non-fans reading this blog might have heard of R. A. Lafferty, Damon Knight or George Alec Effinger, but might be scratching their heads over Bruce Pelz. Bruce was "just" a fan, but what a fan. He was one of the first people to take collecting and recording fan history seriously. He was a librarian for many years, and had arranged to donate material he'd collected to UC Irvine. He and his wife Elayne had spent much of the last few years taking fabulous cruises. They'd been to Africa and Greece and Alaska in recent years; I know because he would bring his photo albums to cons and share them with us. He'd helped to run cons for many years, and was a founder of Smofcon (to help run cons) and FanHistoriCon (to celebrate fan history).
Patrick Nielsen Hayden keeps saying that we should stop dying. He knows there are some things out of our control. I'm sure Bruce didn't choose last night to die; he was 66 and still had things in his date book beyond doctor visits. But, if you have a choice about it, go fast without the weeks or months of wasting away and loosing your love of life. While I regret I won't be running into him at the next few Midwestcons and Worldcons, I'm happy to have known him, and to know that he had a great impact on fandom and will be well-remembered.
My sympathies to Elayne, his wife and Cecy his daughter. And to the rest of us who knew him.