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 (http://www.avenireclectia.com/). 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.
Rest peacefully, Walt. We’ll meet again.