I didn’t know Bobbie really well. I mean everyone knew Bobbie. If there was a sci fi/fantasy/nerdie convention in the region, Bobbie had been on staff at one time or other. If she wasn’t on staff at a particular convention, she was either volunteering, or helping someone presenting at the con, or helping run someone’s table in the dealer’s den, or helping run someone’s fan club table, or she was running a fan table that was raising support for a WorldCon bid.
We were never on staff at the same convention the same year, but we interacted frequently. Either she would be in charge of a department I was interacting with as an attendee or a guest, or I was working in a department of another con where she needed to work with me as an attending or panelist or guest. A few years ago she wound up running a table in a dealer’s den selling artwork by a mutual friend, and it was the table right next to mine. So we finally got to have conversations that lasted more then a few minutes, and most of them weren’t about a problem that needed solving or an event that one of us was rushing off to.
So while I think it would be wrong to say we were great friends, we were more than merely acquaintances.
Of course, Bobbie was a very friendly person, so it was difficult to come away from the most superficial interaction without feeling you’d just spent time with a friend.
I mentioned that she often seemed to be working on a WolrdCon bid. WorldCon is the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society, and is held in various cities around the world. Each con is run by a separate committee, and to get the right to host the con is a complicated process involving setting up a bid committee, drumming up support by selling advance memberships, and putting together a formal proposal which will be voted on at a WorldCon a couple of years before your proposed hosting date. It’s not a small undertaking, and you’re competing against other groups from literally all over the world (this year’s was in Texas, next year’s is in London, and recent cons have been in Japan, Australia, Canada…).
A few weeks ago the vote for 2015 WorldCon was held, and the Spokane committee was chosen. The co-chairs had subsequently been announced, and one of them was Bobbie.
It was a great triumph.
Then, this morning, my various social networks started sprouting mentions of Bobbie’s death. She hadn’t been sick, as far as any of us knew, so everyone was asking, “What happened?”
At the moment, all we know is that she died peacefully in her sleep, it was a complete surprise to her family. They aren’t going to know the cause for a while, and the family has asked that we all give them some space to deal with the shock on their own.
I was really looking forward to having a WorldCon practically in our backyard, and I was especially psyched because I knew several of the people who will be running it, so I was happy for all of them. Especially Bobbie.
Now, I just want to find Fate and give it a few swift kicks.
Update: File 770 has a nice article about Bobbie.