RIP Walt Staples

Many of you know Walt Staples from the Guild and online conferences.  I’m saddened to have to tell you that he died Wednesday afternoon, March 14, of natural causes.

Walt was a very talented writer, with a quirky sense of humor and a unique world view.  He was prolific, especially in the past few years.  One of his favorite playgrounds for stories was the shared universe of Avenir Eclectia (  Publisher Grace Bridges said he accounted for nearly a quarter of the stories there.  He also loved writing stories in his small “Suthern” Danube County, and when Karina Fabian started a blog about the space industry, he pitched in each Saturday with a story about growing up during the space race.  Nonetheless, he was never interested in payment.  He used to say it was too much trouble finding a publisher–and it’d ruin his “amateur status,” anyway.  He just liked to tell stories.

He also had a voracious appetite for books, fiction and non-fiction, especially history but also geology, space, and anything that caught his fancy.  He had the same appetite for news, and often forwarded the zaniest articles, accompanied by snide comments, to his many victims—er, friends.  He had several pen pals, electronic and hand-written.

He gave unselfishly.  He served as President of the CWG for a while and taught workshops at the online conference, before his wife developed medical problems and he quit all that to better concentrate on her.  He was very conscientious about her care, and about making sure she had enough books for her Kindle.  Even in the height of stress, he didn’t complain much; just soldiered on because he knew people needed him—and he kept his good outlook and his humor through it all.

They found him at a bus stop, where death took him suddenly and unexpectedly, with his family waiting for him at home and books and letters en route from pen pals.  He was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.

This was one of his publicity shots. He never showed his face. Other photos include the back of his head and him kissing his wife, Jan, behind a hat. Some of his friends never knew what he looked like, but it was his heart and mind that mattered.

Rest peacefully, Walt.  We’ll meet again.

About Karina Fabian

Karina Fabian writes everything from devotionals to serious sci-fi to comedic horror. Her latest novel, Live and Let Fly, stars a Catholic dragon and his magic-slinging partner, Sister Grace, as they save the worlds from maniacal middle managers and Norse goddesses. (Coming April from MuseItUp) Karina also teaches writing and marketing online. Learn more at
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8 Responses to RIP Walt Staples

  1. Karina, this was so beautifully said. I think I’m going to feel this loss in a way I haven’t ever. Walt was truly a gift in my life, and he also became a gift to my husband, my children (who he wrote stories for when they sent him pictures), and even my mother-in-law (who reported that she had TEN games of Words with Friends going on with him).

    I was truly blessed by Walt and I was always inspired by how he lived his priorities, even as he always, ALWAYS had time for a laugh or a chuckle. In the sentence after sharing someone heart-rending, there would always be something that made me smile and hope that I can be as graceful and grace-FILLED in my life as he was in his.

    • He used to tell me about those games he had going with you guys. I never could get into them. (Half the time, I don’t even remember I have a cell phone.) He told me about the stories, too. He loved those pictures.

      We’re thinking of making an e-book of his stories if we can arrange it with his family. It would be wonderful if your kids wanted to include a couple with their pictures. (Knowing they may have to redraw if they sent them to him.)

  2. Requiem Aeternam.

    Anima eius et animae omnium fidelium defunctorum per Dei misericordiam requiescant in pace. (May his soul and the souls of all the departed faithful by God’s mercy rest in peace.)

  3. For those who are interested:

    Funeral Arrangements for Walt Staples: Mass Monday at St. Adalberts, just down the block from John J Gmiter Funeral Home, 119 S. 15th, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. Flowers are fine, or you may make a donation to St. Vincent De Paul in his name. Viewing at the funeral home Sunday 2-4, 6-8.

    If you want to write something about Walt for the family, please contact me ( and I’ll get you his address, or post it here and I’ll copy them and send them in mass.

  4. I’m sure they would do that, Karina, and I would be happy to share the stories he wrote for my kids with the world.

    Let me know if I can help in any way.

  5. Thanks for letting me know, Karina. Walt was a tremendously uplifting influence. Just always encouraging, steady and around to share good humor.

    He wrote a piece for Residential Aliens in which one of his military space characters was serendipitiously fluent in the obscure ancient local dialect of Canadian, and sent the link to me for a laugh.

    We had a game for awhile in my blog’s comments section where my Texan critique partner would try to stump me by making his point in bad Spanish, and I’d try to stump him with my bad French. Well, Grace Bridges and Walt showed up to the Language Game one day and spun through about five languages in a dazzling attempt to stump each other. Win! (Actually, I’m not sure who won, but it was hilarious.)

    I’m still in shock over the loss of our friend. My heart goes out to Jan.


  6. Ann Seeton says:

    I benefited very much from his forum at last year’s CWGC and someone like him will very much be missed.

    My prayers for his repose and the comfort of his family and friends.

    May he rest in peace.