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February 11, 2008

Greg McMullan
Posted by Teresa at 07:57 AM *

Sad news from Jen Pelland:

I just found out that an old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in years recently died in a fire. His name was Greg McMullan. We worked together at Harvard, and at some point after I left, he moved to Virginia, which explains why I stopped seeing him at conventions. Greg was a smart, fun guy with a big heart and a wonderful laugh, and it saddens me to know that I’ll never hear that laugh again.

His wife and stepdaughter were thankfully not home at the time of the fire, so they’re both alive, but the fire destroyed everything. If people would like to help out the family of a fellow fan, they can visit for information on how you can donate either money or items to the survivors.

You can read his obituary here.

May we none of us come to such a pass. May we all meet with kindness if we do.
Update: Anyone who knew him can leave memories and stories on the LiveJournal his brother has started. A previous entry on the LJ links to further information about the fire.
Comments on Greg McMullan:
#1 ::: Dave MB ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:48 AM:

The link to the obit does not seem to work.

#2 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:12 AM:

Fixed, and more information added from Jim's comment in the relevant safety entry, which everyone should take a minute or two to read.

I never knew him, but my condolences to his family.

#3 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:26 AM:

It's been very sad -- the first memorial for Greg was yesterday and I was unable to make it to Virginia for it.

In filk especially, Greg was very well liked as one of the nicest all-around guys you could hope to meet, and his loss really cut deeply into the community.

#4 ::: Rob Wynne ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:37 AM:

Greg was one of the first regulars on #filkhaven, even back before Mike Whitaker and I set up and moved it there. In recent years, he hasn't been on as much...many of the really early people that defined the #filkhaven community have gone away, much to our loss, but he still would pop on every now and again.

Greg and I were very much alike in some respects, and very different in others. Mostly, we shared geek/computer interests and similar tastes in reading. We differed on matters of politics and religion, but that was okay. It's ok to have different opinions about things. It never kept us from being friends.

I think my fondest memory of Greg was on #filkhaven, nearly 10 years ago now. He and Amanda Marlowe and I were all chatting about random things, as you do, and they got to talking about an idea for a Barrayar filk that one or the other of them had an idea about. I politely listened to them toss ideas back and forth, and finally said "What on earth are you two talking about?" They both turned to me incredulously. "You mean you've never read Lois McMaster Bujold??" they cried. I admitted that I hadn't, but that I'd just acquired a copy of Barrayar from Bill and Brenda Sutton, who were purging duplicates from their library. I put it on top of my to-read pile, and immediately upon reading it started scouring used bookstores for more.

I remember that at that time Greg was only just starting to date Maya, taking long breaks from channel to talk to her on the phone and them coming back very happy and excited. I got to meet both of them in person at Gafilk.....3, I think. He was a very easy person to sit and chat with.

My most recent memories are two weekends ago. Greg was pulled onto the My Filk panel at the last moment, to fill in for someone who had vanished from the room. Debbie Ohi has a great photo of him on the panel, laughing uproariously. That's how I like to remember him -- laughing. He had a tremendous unrestrained laugh, and clearly took great joy in being at the con and surrounded by his friends. Larissa and I had breakfast with him and Maya and Beth and Michelle over at the Barbecue Kitchen, and they thoughtfully covered our tab until we got back to the hotel when I had forgotten that the restaurant only took cash.

Through him, I got to know Maya over the years, and she is also a dear friend who my heart is aching for now. She was absolutely the light of his life, and he loved her absolutely and completely. Anyone who ever looked at him look at her could see it in his eyes.

(reposted from my own LJ)

#5 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:34 AM:

I first met Greg in 1988 or 1989, not too long after I started using IRC. To my eyes he was the "wise elder" of the group, despite being only a few years older than the rest of us. Wise he definitely was, though.

There were enough regular IRC users around Boston and Cambridge (and Waltham; the Brandeis contingent was fairly large) to make meetups at regular intervals. (Later, too, there were alt.callahans meetups.) You always knew when Greg was in attendance, because (as Jen says) you'd hear his joyous and unmistakable laugh.

He was, simply put, a person who was there for you when you needed him. A smile, a hug, a meal: whatever you needed. He strongly believed in paying it forward, and I still try to live up to the example he set.

In thinking about what we've lost lately, I see Mike Ford as an embodiment of wit and Greg McMullan as an embodiment of friendship and caring. Both of them had inexhaustible supplies which they shared with everyone around them, making us all better by example and making life around them better by existing.

#6 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 02:23 AM:

I don't think I ever met Greg, but he was a friend-of-friends, and by all accounts he was a stand-up guy. The world is always poorer when one such passes. I wish I could have met him.

Requiescat in pace.

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