On Sunday we got a call from Lisa (lisagems of LJ) saying that Ray Crandall had died (obituary here: http://taylor.createatribute.com/registryMain.php?i_memorialid=1168653774&override=1123669592&PHPSESSID=3081123a57bd2fe2080b861b090df1ca ). I hadn't seen Ray in a long time, perhaps not since 1992, but he was one of those people...
He was quiet, deep, friendly, charming, goofy, and DECENT, the truest Paladin I have ever met, or could imagine. He was a peaceful man who loved combat and weapons, physically tiny (5' 4" and about 100 pounds when I knew him) and impossibly quick (he could flip coins to order).
And then there is this: In May of 1988 I printed 50 copies of "Ebony Quarterstaff", a personal anthology. In June Lisa held a party at her home and Michigan, and I delivered copies of EQ to her and Ray there. At some point in the evening, I looked over at Ray and saw him sitting quietly and listening to the whole room, as he usually did, but he had an unusual smile on his face, and he was hugging his copy of EQ to his chest as if it were something precious. I have been playing at being a writer for more than 30 years, and the payouts have been few, but that moment... It pays the freight on a great deal.
Thanks, Ray. Fare well. You are missed.