One of the brightest lights of the SF fan community, jan howard finder, a.k.a. "Wombat," died today of complications from cancer. He was, as the saying goes, older than dirt, and he'd been having health problems for ages, so this wasn't entirely a surprise, but it still sucks.
While the last time I saw Wombat was briefly at Arisia last month, the last time I spent time talking to Wombat was at Albacon, a convention he helped found, last fall. In fact, the first time Wombat and I seriously talked was at the first Albacon in the fall of 1996, but we became fast friends, and then 16 years later, I was Media GoH and he was Fan GoH at that same con. I loved talking with him, mainly because you could have a lengthy conversation with Wombat about, well, anything
. He was brilliant, funny, charming, smart, sensible, hilarious, intelligent, and just overall magnificent.
Some time in the 2000s, he shaved his beard for reasons known only to the voices in his head. Both terri_osborne
and I agreed that he looked better hirsute than clean-shaven, so every time we saw him, we chanted, in perfect chorus, "GROW IT BACK!" and he would just fall over laughing.
summed him up perfectly: he was like a teddy bear.
The world is a lesser place without him in it. Rest in peace, my friend.