“Here’s a song to those who are gone with never a reason why.” — Phil Ochs
January 2012 was a really rough month.
Aalandria Holly Edmonds was a new friend to me — though I’d been involved in her life almost since her birth. How? Because she was named after a character in The Twilight Empire: Robinson’s War — a name I made up for the series. I only found out about her last year (2011), from her dad, who wanted to show her my story for her 18th birthday. I was so honored that I figured out how to bring the book back into print, just for her. Later in the year, she and I started corresponding together on Facebook. She was a good kid who had had a few rough patches in her life. I became very fond of her very quickly. I was looking forward to being her friend for many years to come. In January, though, she was gunned down by persons unknown. I hope the police will catch her killer(s). I’ve missed her every day since, and I’ve written a story in her honor that I will publish soon. Prayers and good thoughts for her family are appreciated, and for those of you of a mind to do more, donations can be sent to:
Aalandria Edmonds Memorial Fund c/o
Tempe Monthly Meeting
318 East 15th Street
Tempe, Arizona 85281
Jean Wells was an old friend of mine, one of the first friends I made when coming to work at TSR in 1980. She got me through the only panic attack in my life and was a generous and helpful person. We worked together on the infamous, banned module B3: Palace of the Silver Princess. She went into the hospital for a minor issue a few weeks ago and was dead the next morning. No one is sure why. Gary Con has a nice memorial here. Her family said to make a donation to your favorite charity in her memory. (I donated to Wisconsin Public Radio.) Thoughts and prayers — especially for her husband and family — are appreciated, too. Jean was a very spiritual person.
Damien Bona was a writer and an expert on the Oscars, so expert that he actually helped in the production of at least one of the broadcasts. I only talked to him once or twice, but he worked with my brother Mark for years and was loved by everyone who knew him. I own a signed copy of his book on movie casting blunders, Staring John Wayne as Genghis Khan, which is wonderful. In the middle of January, he had a heart attack at work, and the EMTs and doctors couldn’t save him. He lingered long enough to become an organ donor. Though I barely knew him, he was one of those people you felt good just knowing was in the world. I’m deeply sad that he is no longer with us.
Update 2: The LA Times just printed Damien’s obit during Oscar week. (And the NYT finally put him in the print edition.) What I like, though, is the company Damien is keeping in the LAT related stories as I post this: James Arness, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Falk, & Whitney Houston. Not a bad crew to spend eternity with.
Al Rio was a comic artist, and a great one. I didn’t really know him, but he was a good friend to my dear friend David Campiti, who also represented him. Last week, Al killed himself — which someone once noted is usually a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You can read more here. My deepest condolences go to his family, friends, and especially David.
I hope not to have another month like this January for a good long while. Please, all of you, stay safe and be well.