We are sorry to report MW*C staff member Jim Gasahl died unexpectedly last night.
(From Scott Rosema) I can post more details now. Suzy’s life long friend Brenda lost her husband Jim last night. They had settled down after supper to watch a movie and Jim suddenly erupted into a seizure that quickly became a heart attack. Brenda quickly called 911 and then called Suzy. We both rushed over to their house to find the paramedics already working on Jim. Within about 20 minutes, they sadly came outside to where we waited and said he was gone.
We just stood there. Everyone knew there was nothing to do. No tears, no crying. We just faced it. Brenda, Suzy and I all had the wind taken from us. Today, Saturday, the tears have come and we are busy with contacting everyone about this which we started last night.
The worst will come later. Then life will pick up and we’ll learn to deal with all of the absence we’ll feel. We’ll look after Brenda as she grieves and look forward to feeling the joy of Jim’s life down the road. [Without going into details, just a few hours ago Suzy and I both lost a friend to a sudden death. We spent most of the evening comforting his wife, another dear friend. We’ll be dealing with this for quite a while……]
Back about four decades ago I attended a small convention headed by Sharon Ferraro and Paula Smith, in Kalamazoo. It was a life-changer for me, and from it, grew MediaWest*Con, which saw 40 incarnations under that name, preceded by T’Con and 2*Con. For those interested, a history written by Gordon Carleton can be found here: http://www.mediawestcon.org/mwchist.htm
Just wanted to wax a bit nostalgic and say the friendships made because of the convention have lasted in most cases, for a lifetime! Time marches on, time takes its toll (physically, financially, etc.), and in some ways, the wide acceptance of what used to be scorned fringe popular culture interests and the evolution of social media, as well as a wide shift in in-person social interactions due to the emergence of Covid, caused a paradigm shift in how members of society interact with each other. Some of us may never again feel comfortable gathering among large groups, in person. Some with compromised immune systems find themselves seemingly devalued by others who expect them to stay home because others refuse to inconvenience themselves for the greater good. Some people still don’t have personal computers, aren’t on Facebook, or find other barriers to communicating easily with each other. But interactions forged through mutual interests are treasured, and different points of view, expressed civilly, are always interesting. Just wanted to say, thanks to everyone who was part of our all-volunteer staff over the years. Thanks to those who attended (for any span of nigh onto 40 years) our annual get-together celebrating creativity and inclusiveness. Thanks to those who supported our efforts in any way. I don’t do any social media other than Facebook and old-fashioned email. But I do feel that Facebook has enabled me to stay in touch with many, many friends without which I would find it much more difficult to say hi, share info both trivial and important, sadly, find out about deaths, and otherwise interact in a much more comprehensive fashion than otherwise possible. I must say that it seems odd to not be scurrying madly around in the weeks and days leading up to Memorial Day Weekend, finalizing plans for the convention, and in the days before and of, setting up, and then tearing down, taking unpaid days off of work, and putting untold wear and tear on our psyches. It was all worth it. Love you all, and thanks for staying in touch! Live Long & Prosper, May The Force Be With You, Never Forget, and Never Surrender! And Thanks For All The Fish! Aim To Misbehave! You Are My People!
We are sad to hear that long-time MW*C attendee and staffer Sheryl Adsit passed away on January 8, 2022. She ran the Fannish Video room and Fannish Video competition for many years.
(From Lori) Sheryl was a beloved friend and part of the MediaWest*Con fannish community and staff for so many years and it was always great seeing her in person at least once a year, before Covid and advancing ages and deteriorating health and finances complicated matters. I still remember her appearance as a contestant on Jeopardy, too; a dream many of us have held!