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March 27, 2007

David Honigsberg, 1958-2007
Posted by Teresa at 11:59 AM * 61 comments

I still can’t quite believe this, but David Honigsberg is dead. A terse report went out to the Malibu list this morning from Glenn Hauman: “David had a massive heart attack last night, and he didn’t make it.” Alexandra’s still up at Columbia Presbyterian, and friends have been gathering up there.

David had his first heart attack about six months ago, but he’d been doing all the right things, and the prognosis was good. He was at Lunacon just weekend before last, where he played an hour-long acoustic concert.

(Short version of the bio: David Honigsberg, b. 13 September 1958, d. 26 March 2007. Writer, musician, game designer, and rabbi. Married for 25-26 years to fellow writer, musician, and clergyperson Alexandra Honigsberg. He is survived by everyone who knew him, all of whom are in shock.)

Comments on David Honigsberg, 1958-2007:
#1 ::: Swn ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 03:03 PM:

ff tpc:

Wht xplns th flr f th mnstrm md t cvr th prg scndl fr s lng, nd s mny thr scndls? D y thnk smbdy jst st p nwsppr dtrs t cht n thr wvs, nd thrtnd t tll f th dtrs wldn’t ply bll whn thy cm bck sm dy nd sk fr smthng?

t wldn’t b tht hrd t d, whn y thnk bt t. Ppl wldn’t tlk bt t.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 03:38 PM:

Swan, either you're an astroturf spammer, or you have no judgement at all. This is an occasion of bereavement. Shut up and behave yourself.

#4 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 04:05 PM:

I didn't know David Honigsberg, but he sounds like the kind of person I would've liked to know. My condoleances to his friends and family.

#5 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 04:11 PM:

Ah, what a shame. Condolences to Alexandra and his loved ones.

.ברוך דין אמת

#6 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 04:14 PM:

I'm so sorry. What a great loss.

BTW, the link to Alexandra's home page from the link for fellow or writer (the con chat) leads to a porn site.

#7 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 04:28 PM:

Goodbye, David.

At SFF Net: Webnews.

See also: Affairs of the Heart here at Making Light.

And teach yourself CPR at home.

#8 ::: Michael A. Burstein ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 04:34 PM:

I've posted a short eulogy for David at

#10 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 04:38 PM:


That's a great short bio, missing only his appreciation for good Scotch.

He did good works.

Hope Alex is holding up.

#11 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 04:38 PM:

Fucking hell. He was a sweet man, and I am stunned. My condolences to Alexandra, and all of you who knew him better than I did.

#12 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 04:42 PM:

My god.

#13 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 05:17 PM:

Martin Wisse #4: You speak for me.

#14 ::: Neil ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 05:39 PM:

That's a shock and a tragedy. My condolences to Alexandra.

#15 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 06:47 PM:

I am getting well and truly fucking sick and tired of unseasonably warm Tuesdays with crystal clear blue skies.

#16 ::: Pamela Dean ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 08:06 PM:

I'm so sorry.


#17 ::: Merav ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 08:21 PM:

Jon told me on the phone nearly three hours ago and all I could say was "What?" and when he repeated himself, I said, "no, I heard you. What?"

I can't believe he's gone. He was just waving to me across the Luncaon lobby, not two weeks ago, looking comfortable and happy and playing the guitar.

#18 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 09:03 PM:

My deepest sympathy to his friends and family. Prayers and good thoughts going their way, this is really tough on everyone involved.

#19 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 09:21 PM:

David was a mensch, a truly sweet and good guy of the sort who makes being a mensch, and smart, and funny, look so easy you wonder why more people don't achieve it.

My heart is with Alexandra and all their family. What a terrible thing.

#20 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 09:50 PM:

Oh my god.

I haven't been in the same room with either David or Alexandra for years, but I had been e-mailing back and forth with David about hosting a house concert for him sometime. I must admit I had been really slacking about getting back to him from his last email ... now I feel *really* bad about that.

My condolences to Alexandra and all who knew him much better than I. What a shock.

#21 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 10:03 PM:

I didn't know him at all. It's clear, though, that I missed out on a good deal.

Heartfelt condolences to all who did.

#22 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 10:04 PM:

He was just two days under a year older than me. I feel the cold hand on my shoulder.

#23 ::: Penelope ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 10:20 PM:

I only met David briefly at Lunacon where I saw him play. He was a brilliant musician and I’m sad that I won’t get the chance to get to know him.

My condolences to his family and all who knew him.

#24 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 10:30 PM:

Ah, Xopher (#22), he was just about a fortnight more than three years younger than I am. Even tho' they seem to be multiplying now, I remain un-inured to such losses. Someone else quoted Edna St. Vincent Millay's 'Dirge Without Music' about six months back in another time of sorry business. Like Adrienne then, I hope it may express and comfort in mourning.

My sympathy & condolences to Alexandra and those who knew him.

#25 ::: Terry O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 11:18 PM:

While we knew each other from the old GEnie days, I can count the number of times I ever met David face-to-face on one hand, but they were all memorable.

David, you were a gentleman and a scholar.

#26 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 11:26 PM:

This is just dreadful. I haven't seen David and Alexandra since we moved back west, but I have always remembered David with fondness, and I'm outraged at the fickleness of fate, to take such a good and decent man so young. I hurt for Alexandra.

This is very, very sad news.

#27 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 11:51 PM:

I'm still in shock from a KC fan passing way to early, someone who we're close too (and their teenaged daughters...). Richard was five years younger than I, David two. Makes me feel weird. (Richard had had no heart symptoms, but had just gotten over pleurisy and attributed the minor chest pains to that, he died at his desk at work about 15 minutes after saying something about it to a co-worker.)

#28 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 11:53 PM:

"And I guess it’s the modern way – the phone call that comes
flying out of a blue autumn day and suddenly everything
goes so and quiet and soon everyone seems to be alone
with their own thoughts And now it’s as if I’m standing
beneath a torrent of falling water, feeling things I don’t
want to feel, remembering things I don’t want to remember"


#29 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 12:04 AM:

I remember David from the GEnie SFRT days as a fellow seeker into mystery, later as a good musician and a good man, dedicated to finding paths of "right action." I'll attempt to keep him alive in my heart with that memory. Condolences to Alexandra.

#30 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 12:17 AM:

I am so sorry. I didn't know him, and I'm sorry about that too. May his family and friends find peace, and may the circle be unbroken.

#31 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 01:37 AM:

I'm sorry. He sounds like a really good sort.

#32 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 03:05 AM:

My condolences.

#33 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 05:41 AM:

I never knew him nor knew of him, but from what I've read now it sounds like he would have been a good man to know. I hope that those bereaved may find comfort.

#34 ::: jane ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 07:45 AM:

I have been trying to wrap my head around this one, this death of a good, fine, funny, dear smart young man. And I cannot. Not again. Not another one.


#35 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 08:50 AM:

Lord. I am so sorry.

#36 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 09:02 AM:

Oh no. I am so saddened to hear this and my heart aches for what Alexandra must be enduring. Except for the occasional bumping into over the years most of our contact was in the GEnie days but two sweeter people I can't imagine.

May his memory be for a blessing.

#37 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 09:06 AM:

I'm so sorry.

#38 ::: Joshua Kronengold ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 11:43 AM:

I've known David since we were frequent correspondents on the BBS "After Hours" in the early 90s -- and over time, our contact moved more into fandom. We were never close, but always had a friendly word to say to one another.

It shocks and saddens me to find he's just...gone, and my heart goes out to Alexandia, and everyone else close to him.

#39 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 12:11 PM:

Alas, and alas, and alas.

#40 ::: Jeremy ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 01:00 PM:

He was too young. I'm reminded, though, of Neil Gaiman's line, so sad but so true, "You get what everyone gets - you get a lifetime."
He was a mensch and he will be missed.

#41 ::: Zeynep ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 01:24 PM:

I did not know him at all either, and it seems to be my very grievous loss. I am sorry for all those who have suffered the keener loss.

#42 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 03:35 PM:

To all of you, my condolences.

I recommend reading the following, which I was reading in Reform Judaism magazine last night on the subway, with tears in my eyes (my father's yartzeit was about ten days ago and I will say Kaddish for him on Friday). I apologize for not being technically savvy, despite repeated instruction, to do the link thing.

#43 ::: MLR ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 03:43 PM:

He sounds like a really nice guy. My condolances to his family and friends.

#44 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 04:48 PM:

It's not as if we've seen and know Death well,
we've pushed Him back, away over the years.
So when He comes we think of age: "Hell,
it's much to soon for them." The sum of fears
grows, and we find ourselves looking back,
afraid of how we'll end and what we give
for life. Don't let the fear make you pull back:
those we remember thus were here to live.

(no envoi)

#45 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 09:43 PM:

I didn't know him, but you who do feel so strongly that I find I'm sorry, too.

#46 ::: Rohanna ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 11:40 PM:

I met David at convention and it was, indeed, memorable. He will be missed. I am reminded of a song by Dave Carter called When I Go. The last verse is

"And should you glimpse my wandering form out on the borderline
Between death and resurrection and the council of the pines
Do not worry for my comfort, do not sorrow for me so
All your diamond tears will rise up and adorn the sky beside me when I go"

Dave Carter also died too young. He was 49.

#47 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 09:24 AM:

A memorial blog is here. Funeral information:

Plaza Jewish Community Chapel
630 Amsterdam Ave (@ 91st st)
(212) 769-4400
Friday, March 30th, 11am

Graveside service follows in the afternoon. I'm not sure what Jewish etiquette is for who attends the latter (or, for that matter, whether it's purely Jewish etiquette or interfaith etiquette we're following here.)

#48 ::: Mike Blake ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 10:22 AM:

I gather that like others here, the first thing that springs to mind when I hear of David and Alexandra are fond memories of good days on GEnie. We all have moved on, but it still brings a hurt to the heart to learn of this.

Yeah, he was younger than me too, but that's hardly relevant to losing another fine mind, another good soul.

#49 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 07:20 PM:

Didn't know him either, but he sounds wonderful. I am so sorry.

#50 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 10:05 PM:

Re: Graveside ettiquite -- all are welcome to attend. There will be a processional from the funeral home.

#51 ::: Lisa Padol ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 12:35 PM:

I'm so sorry.

Apologies if this is a dumb question, but is anyone sitting shiva?

-Lisa Padol

#52 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 02:21 AM:

Alex and friends and family have been sitting shiva the past few nights.

#53 ::: Ariel Cinii ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 12:32 PM:

I didn't hear of this until the 12th of April. Both Galana and I are shocked and saddened. We live not that far away from the Honigsbergs, which makes it all the more saddening. We should all take the extra step to keep in touch with our contacts even when we don't see them every day.

#54 ::: Michael Weisberg ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 02:43 PM:

Five months have passed and, as I was heading out to teach a group of students in Texas, I ran across the class notes that David and I compiled for our first class that we taught together. Since I was teaching on the same subject and wanted to review the notes, I read on. Now I'm here, typing with tears in my eyes, and felt that I needed to renew my thoughts to the world: I miss David, and wish to hear his voice beside me as I teach. We each knew David in different ways, but as my study partner he can never be replaced, and as my friend he will never be forgotten.

"Master of mercy, care for him
under the protection of your wings for all time
And bind his soul in the bond of everlasting life."

#55 ::: James W. Anderson III ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2007, 05:25 AM:

I know it has been a while, but I only recently heard about this and it is very sad.

I have to confess to being far too immersed in our project and trying to save the world and have been quite derelict with regard to staying in touch with what has been going on in fandom and with old friends.

Aside from all the great things already said so well, all I can add that means much is that David and Alexandra have always been two people that I look forward to seeing both in an out of conventions and who I find both intellectually stimulating as well as pleasant to be around.

We lose so many good people, and time is always far shorter than we think it is, especially in this modern era of apathy and being too caught up in things that really won't mean much before long.

#56 ::: P J Evans sees oddness ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2007, 04:35 PM:

I don't know if it's religious comment spam or not.

#59 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2007, 04:41 PM:

At best, loony and insensitive. At worst, worse.


#60 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2007, 04:43 PM:

If I'm detecting a question in that odd message, the answer is 17,779 plus or minus whatever date is meant. (Gives you the days within two dates.)

#61 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2007, 05:21 PM:

Abi @ 59... Gone.

"Begone, foul stench of spam! Darken this thread no more!"

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