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August 24, 2012

Josepha Sherman
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 02:54 PM * 88 comments

I regret to inform you that long-time SF author and editor Josepha Sherman died last night.

I just got a call from her health care contact confirming this news.

Jo’s interment will be this coming Monday, 9:00 a.m. at the Hebrew Burial Association Cemetery, Brockett Place, East Haven, CT. GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 41.27542, Longitude: -72.88042

Arrangements are being handled by the Robert E. Shure Funeral Home.

UPDATE: Please note that the date of the interment has been changed since this post went up. It is now Wednesday, August 29, not Monday, August 27. Please note that this was misinformation. The interment is on Monday morning as originally announced. The following is, however, still true: Additionally, there will be a memorial gathering in New York City on Wednesday evening. Further information here.

Comments on Josepha Sherman:
#1 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 03:38 PM:

Upcoming Service for Josepha Sherman, 65

Aug 27, 2012

09:00 AM

Graveside Services

Place of Burial
Hebrew Burial Association Cemetery, Brockett Place, East Haven, Ct. 06512

Hebrew Burial Association, c/o Mr. Norman Goodman, 377 Main St., West Haven, Ct. 06516

#2 ::: Lawrence ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 03:39 PM:

Is anything known about the cause?

#3 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 03:45 PM:

The cause of death hasn't been publicly released. Jo had been ill for some time.

#4 ::: Rachel Holmen ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 03:52 PM:

I'm sad to learn that Josepha has died. I always enjoyed her wonderful sense of humor, and came to her occasionally for professional advice. (She once commented that the layout and illustrations for Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine seemed more like a fanzine than a prozine. This was true; I had never been able to persuade the financial powers that a professional design was needed. In retrospect, I should have tried harder.)

At one WorldCon, we were both part of the children's programming track; I believe she discussed folklore (jumprope rhymes, etc.) and I read a chapter from one of Eleanor Cameron's books.

I will not be able to attend the services in her honor. My condolences to her friends and family.

#5 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 03:53 PM:

I'm so sorry to hear about Jo. While it's been a while since we've seen each other in person, I'd enjoyed seeing her comments online.

#6 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 04:05 PM:

I'm sorry to hear as well. She was a fun person to talk with. We were probably distantly related (my middle name being Sherman, and Roger Sherman having had many children a few centuries ago).

My condolences to her family.

#7 ::: Sharon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 04:14 PM:

I'm so very sorry to hear this.

#8 ::: Jacqueline Lichtenberg ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 04:22 PM:

I'm so sorry to hear this news.

We were on panels together at several conventions, always a cheerful wave when passing on the escalators.

This is a great loss.

#9 ::: Rachel Holmen ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 04:24 PM:

I see the information for making donations to the burial society: Hebrew Burial Association, c/o Mr. Norman Goodman, 377 Main St., West Haven, Ct. 06516.

But what about donations for the medical care she must have needed? Any suggestions? Thank you.

#10 ::: Janna Silverstein ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 04:24 PM:

I'm so sorry to hear of Jo's passing. Truly, we lost her long before we lost her.

What I will remember most fondly is the day we went whale watching together here in the Seattle area. We saw everything: seals, bald eagles, otters . . . but not a single whale. We still had a marvelous day together. She was still funny and present and together. That's how I'll always think of her: on the boat, smiling into the breeze, flirting and grinning and cracking jokes and having a great time.

#11 ::: Elizabeth Moon ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 04:39 PM:

I'm sorry to hear this. Back when I first came into the field, Jo was a vibrant, funny, thoroughly enjoyable convention companion. She was especially kind to me at the WorldCon near the first anniversary of my mother's death. I was sorry to learn of her illness and had hoped she might recover and return to writing and the SF community.

#12 ::: Angela Korra'ti ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 04:46 PM:


Very sorry to hear about this. I have several of her books and loved them quite a bit. :( Condolences to her family and friends.

#13 ::: Janni Lee Simner ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 04:52 PM:

Oh no!

Her presence in the world will be very very much missed.

#14 ::: Mary Osmanski ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 04:52 PM:

The very first time I went to NYC on the train to attend Lunacon, Susan Shwartz had Jo meet me in the station to be my "escort" across town to the other train station. We got along great, and for the next con that spring (Balticon), she invited me to share the "free" suite she was in because she was receiving the Compton Crook award that year. That was when I met Elizabeth Moon as well, since she was on the other side of the suite. Jo really took care of seeing that I was introduced to other writers and made to feel part of the group. I will miss her.

#15 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 04:53 PM:

I was stunned to hear this.

I literally don't know what else to say. It just doesn't seem right.

#16 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 05:06 PM:

I'm very sorry to hear this. She served as consulting editor for a few Tor books on my watch. Her authors seemed to like her -- at least one of them, an established genre bestseller, specified working with her as a condition of us acquiring the particular books -- and she was always very professional in her dealings with the house.

#17 ::: Kim Kindya ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 05:21 PM:

Hello, everyone:

I am as shocked and saddened to hear of Jo's death as I think most of you are. I had been her friend for 20 years or so, starting with my stints working at Tor Books and later at Simon and Schuster. I will never forget Jo's sense of humor and fun and love of animals.

I would like to announce that John Ordover (former Star Trek editor at Simon and Schuster and also good friend of Jo) and I are organizing a gathering in New York City, since we know the service in CT may be difficult for many of our friends to get to, especially on short notice.

Please come to the SOHO GALLERY FOR DIGITAL ART on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29, from 6:30-8:30 pm.

(Some of you may have heard of another date for this event -- we have indeed changed to THIS date with respect to people's convention travel plans.)

The gallery is located at
138 Sullivan Street,
between Prince and Houston Streets
New York, NY 10012.

Nearest subway stations are C, E at Spring Street
1 train at Houston St.

If you need further info, please contact the gallery at or 212 228 2810.
RSVPS would be appreciated.

Alexandra Honigsberg will be leading some brief prayers and words honoring Jo's Jewish Heritage, but the main purpose is an informal gathering to share our memories and celebrate Jo's life.

Kim Kindya

#19 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 05:26 PM:

(^#@!!&&@#!!.... I am very sad....

I remember her at I forget which Worldcon, with Jan Stirling, the two of them skipping into the Dealers' Room together announcing, It's time to go SHOPPING!" She knew incredible numbers of show tunes, and led singalongs of them at many a convention wherever there was a piano left out after midnight in functions space or by a hotel bar. She wrote lots of books, and edited lots of books. At 3 AM in hotel lobbies, she and Mike Resnick would talk about horses.... I am deeply saddened....

#20 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 05:35 PM:

Rachel #9:

Jo's health care was most recently provided by Bridges in West Haven, CT. I'm sure they'd appreciate donations.

#21 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 05:37 PM:

Just as a reminder to all, if you haven't designated a health care proxy, it isn't a bad idea to do so.

#22 ::: Delia Sherman ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 05:39 PM:

This makes me so very sad. She was so kind to me when I first came to fandom--it wasn't a con until I'd hugged Jo. She always joked that we were non-identical twins. I'll be at the memorial at the Soho Gallery for sure. Thank you so much, Kim Kindya, for organizing it.

Delia Sherman

#23 ::: Ellen Datlow ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 05:43 PM:

This is terrible news. I had no idea she was sick.

#24 ::: Michael Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 05:54 PM:

She was a nice person, always fun to talk to to.

#25 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 06:03 PM:

I was so sorry to hear this. My condolences to her family and all close to her.

#26 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 06:08 PM:

I don't believe I ever met her (different parts of the country and all that). But my condolences to her family and friends.

#27 ::: Andrew Porter ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 06:09 PM:

I am stunned by this news. Horrible. I've known her for many years; she was a really nice person, who helped me a lot when I was publishing SF Chronicle. If anyone needs a photo of her, I took many. Contact me.

Alas, I am leaving Monday for the worldcon in Chicago.

#28 ::: Vera Nazarian ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 06:12 PM:

I am still in shock. It is very hard to comprehend that this vibrant, warm, energetic, happy human being is gone. Jo Sherman lit up any room in which she sparkled. Missing her dearly...

#29 ::: Frank Halvorsen ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 06:40 PM:

She was always smiling and a brilliant conversationalist. SAd,Sorry to not see her again.

#30 ::: Melanie Fletcher ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 07:05 PM:

I was lucky enough to meet Josepha at one of my first Worldcons -- she was charming, funny, and most welcoming. My heart goes out to her family for their loss.

#31 ::: Kim Headlee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 07:15 PM:

Seventeen years ago, when I was D (that pregnant) with my daughter, I attended WFC that year where I met Jo for the first time, and I always looked forward to renewing our acquaintance after that. So much fun, so full of life. So dearly missed. My deepest sympathies to all her loved ones.

#32 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 07:35 PM:

Josepha was the very first Real Author I ever met, at Albacon. She and Jennifer Schwabach and I used to have long e-mail conversations consisting entirely of puns. I hadn't heard from her for months, and I'd been worried...

I can't stop crying.

#33 ::: Lylassandra ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 07:42 PM:

We just took our daughter to her first fairy-tale-sampler youth ballet, and she's become completely obsessed with The Firebird. I just pulled out Vassilissa the Wise and was contemplating a reread of The Shining Falcon. I guess I'll definitely be doing it now. I'll miss her work.

#34 ::: Jane Frank ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 08:00 PM:

I am so sorry to hear this news. Jo and I "bonded" at a DragonCon a few years ago, and I always looked forward to spending time with her. She had a wonderful sideways sense of humor, a sharp eye and a great chortling laugh - one that I heard less and less after she left NYC and her troubles escalated and seemed insurmountable. Yet she still had ideas for story collections we'd never get any publisher to buy! It's good to read that Josepha had so many people who cared about her . . . I will miss her bright spirit.

#35 ::: John C. Bunnell ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 08:02 PM:

I only met Josepha Sherman in person once, and I don't recall for certain what convention she'd have been in Portland for (most likely a Westercon, I suspect), but somehow she and I ended up together at Powell's City of Books downtown. And I will never forget the sight of her standing in the middle of one of the main rooms, gazing rapturously upward, and saying in the voice of one who has found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow...

"And they ship!"

She was one of the angels then, and now she always will be.

#36 ::: jane sibley ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 08:12 PM:

OMG, this is the passing of a really fine folklorist, writer, and friend. And so young, too! We got together at science fiction cons sometimes, and her depth of knowledge and approachability (some authors get a bit snooty, but not Jo!) were so appreciated by so many folks. I have a number of her books. Wish she could have written more. She will be missed bigtime!

#37 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 08:28 PM:

I'm so sorry she's gone. She was enormously fun, and a fabulous folklorist.

She helped me find subversive citations for my dissertation, and was diabolically good at it. It started because I mentioned I was citing her second Spock book, Vulcan's Heart as an indication of the way fairy folklore was still being used and changed.

Back when she was on AOL, she used what I think was a Genie tradition of the Salmon of Correction, to my great delight. I once mentioned in passing that no one had ever tried to write a fantasy based on CĂș Chulainn as he is in medieval Irish. She immediately sent me a response essentially daring me to do it with her.

She was especially proud of her work on Storytelling: An Encyclopedia of Mythology and Folklore, but I always particularly liked her Once Upon a Galaxy for teaching.

She was a super folklorist, and a great deal of fun at the same time.

She'll be missed.

#38 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 09:44 PM:

I was Jo's contact for the last several years, while she was in CT.

Bridges, the mental care facility that cared for Jo and helped her find housing and a legal conservator, called me this morning while I was on the way to a PT appointment at Dartmouth -- I'm sorry I haven't been able to post until now, but I only got home a little while ago and have been flat-out since with calls, posts to FB and the Malibu List, and such.

The only reason listed on her death certificate is, according Bridges, "dementia." As she developed symptoms as early as 7 or more years ago, my suspicion, based on family experience (alas) is that it was Early Onset Alzheimer's.

She'd been treated for mental illness for so long, that by the time it was clearly clinical dementia, it was probably too late.

I'll feed Mister Jim an essay on Early Onset when I can -- I unfortunately know far too much about it from personal history.

The one thing I feel sure of is that Jo, wherever and however she is now, is the Jo we all knew before the illness. Whole, vibrant, funny as hell, and sharp as a tack. What a wonderful woman she was, and such a good friend.

#39 ::: Wendie Old ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 09:58 PM:

I shall forever miss Jo Sherman -- GEnie friend, horse loving friend, roommate for many ALA conventions and various SF conventions, and all around good person.

#40 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 10:04 PM:

Shit. I met her once, briefly, at the 2002 Dragoncon. And now I'm going to have to break the news to my wife, who'd worked with her for quite some time at August House.

#41 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 10:06 PM:

I mean, if it hadn't been for her, my wife would have never gotten her first freelancing gig. Damn. I owe her a lot.

#42 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 10:11 PM:

Oh damn.

I knew that Jo had been struggling, even a decade ago, with depression, which seemed to me like the flip side of the coin: such an outgoing, joyous, zestful person, enthusiastic and smart and friendly, dragged down into the dark. When we moved West I lost contact with her. I'm so sorry.

But yes, Nancy (#38), wherever Jo is, she's talking and laughing, and probably singing about gopher guts...

#43 ::: miriam winder k. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 10:53 PM:

She will be missed!
Josepha always was so intelligent and knowledgeable plus warm and "hamish" at cons. I attended her folklore panels and always came away with ideas for storytelling at High Holy Days ( have to keep a herd of little ones occupied for several days of services).

#44 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 11:03 PM:

#43 -- Mad ... Omg gopher guts! I'd forgotten about that song! I can here her singing it now....

I met up with her once in NYC during a PCExpo, when I was writing for BYTE: she in her suit, me in mine. Hiigh heels and all -- and standing by some booth babes, singing Gopher Guts to them. I think we broke their little brains. :)

#45 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 11:42 PM:

I am so sorry to hear this. I always enjoyed her convention panels, and she was always charming and friendly even though I barely knew her. She will be missed.

#46 ::: Robin Wayne Bailey ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 12:15 AM:

I'm shocked and saddened. Celebrating my 38th wedding anniversary today, but came down to the computer to find this news about Jo. We met for the first time at a WFC in Tuscon many years ago. I was putting together a small party for dinner at a Thai restaurant. Jo overheard and asked to come along. We had a lot of dinners together at conventions after that. I'd lost track of her, of course, since I don't do that many conventions anymore. Sorry I let that happen. Rest well, Jo.

#47 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 12:51 AM:

I'm so sorry to hear this. I remember a Westercon in Portland waiting for dinner and Josepha singing 'We want weasels!' to the Hallelujah chorus.

I don't remember anymore why we wanted weasels.

#48 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 01:10 AM:

I really didn't know her personally, spoke with her a few times in passing at various cons, but I always looked for her name on schedules after the first time I heard her on a panel. Anything she was talking about was sure to be entertaining.

Of course, I will have to do my memorial reading from Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts.

#49 ::: Crystal Paul ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 01:21 AM:

Any con she attended immediately became more fun, especially if you got to go out to eat with her.

A few years ago, my husband & I had arranged by email to room with her at a con. However, she had 10 AM panels & we're filkers, so we never saw each other awake in the room the whole weekend. She checked out Sunday before we were up & left a check for us.

Come the next con, we reminded her of that bit of weirdness, & she cried "Oh, so *you're* the people I roomed with!" We were slightly surprised that she hadn't connect our names with our faces, but thought nothing more of it. Now I guess we know why.

#50 ::: janeyolen ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 01:50 AM:

Oh, dear Jo. We used to have such good fun together and conversations that ranged far and wide. Did some signings in odd places. Once we literally closed a mall down because of a huge Noreaster which we had to drive through to get back to my house, laughing all the way.

I last heard from her three or four years ago after unsuccessfully trying to persuade her to move up to Western Ma. after she'd lost her housing in NYC.

Jo could be as delightful as she could be annoying, up and down, exhaustingly full of wild and imaginative (and undoable) plans. She vacillated between puns and punchlines and deeply thought-out more scholarly books, between being a storyteller and being a professional fan writer, and I think few of us understood she was actually spiraling into a disease that would rob her of her dignity and destroy her brilliant mind.

Fly high, Jo, wherever you are, you and your raucous laughter.


#51 ::: Terri Windling ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 02:28 AM:

Jo was an absolutely brilliant folklorist. She's going to be missed in the myth & folklore community as well as sf/f. Very sad news.

#52 ::: Jeremy Bloom ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 02:30 AM:

So sad. I spent many lovely nights at cons with Josepha, drinking and trading stories (and puns!). She was delightful, ranged from the erudite to the earthy, and an all-around great lady with a wild, wonderful imagination and mounds of talent.

#53 ::: Ann Marston ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 03:39 AM:

Hearing of Jo's death saddened me greatly. I roomed with her at many cons since 1994, and it was always a very amusing experience. She taught me a lot, and I'll miss her.

#54 ::: Karen ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 08:40 AM:

I started crying as soon as my husband told me the news last night. I have many wonderful memories of sharing time with her at DragonCon. We'd go to dinner at Trader Vic's and share raucous stories... We'd often get strange looks from the other tables, but the waitstaff always commented that we "were the most fun table they had ever waited on."

I got to meet up with Jo one time in New York when my husband (then fiance) was attending MacWorld. Jo knew we were getting married, so she took me around Manhatten to all her favorite sari shops and helped me pick out a beautiful ivory silk shalwar and kameez for the ceremony.

The one thing my husband said last night that stopped my tears and made me laugh was, "You just know she is giving Joseph Campbell hell right now!"

#55 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 08:49 AM:

Josepha's interment has been rescheduled from Monday to Wednesday. I've updated Jim's original post to reflect this, and also to link to Kim Kindya's comment #17 announcing the memorial gathering in New York City.

#56 ::: Holly Jahangiri ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 10:53 AM:

I am so sad to hear this. I knew Josepha from GEnie - some 22-23 years ago, I guess. I remember helping her to come up with lyrics and poems for Greasy Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Childhood... she had such a wonderful sense of humor. We lost touch when I moved to Houston. I didn't realize she'd been struggling with mental illness/dementia, but now understand why my attempts to get back in touch over the last decade didn't go anywhere. :( My condolences to her friends and family.

#57 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 01:07 PM:

#55 - Patrick, I'm confused. I talked to Mike, the lawyer who's been handing her life for the last few years -- and the man who is in charge of handling things with the funeral home, etc. -- because he owed me a phone call from yesterday.

I'd seen this note about the internment being changed, and it's news to him. It's also news to the guy at the funeral home. What's up?

#58 ::: Ellen Kushner ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 02:03 PM:

I drove Jo from her last apartment in Manhattan to the first of her new ones in Connecticut on moving day when she left here in 2006 (shortly after Delia & I moved here ourselves from Boston, back when I still had a car). She told me that, when she could no longer afford space for it, she had given her considerable folklore library to a NY college, so that others could use it, and she could still visit it. I was just thinking of that the other day, hoping it's all still there. Does anyone know? It may have been Hunter.... ?

She used to ask to stay on our couch for B.E.A., so that she could attend and walk the floor pitching books to various publishers, dogged and determined to continue working and supporting herself.

I knew that things were spiraling downhill for her these last few years, but had no idea there was a diagnosis and just what was going on. I love seeing the warm and delightful memories so many of us have of her - but I also want to deeply thank those who are sharing some of the more difficult info; it really helps to come to terms with her story, and her loss.

#59 ::: Steph ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 02:31 PM:

I'm sorry to hear this. I also knew her from GEnie, and sold one story to her back in the 90s. I met her a couple times at cons, and she was always friendly, warm, and kind.

Rest in peace, Josepha.

#60 ::: Katharine Eliska Kimbriel ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 02:45 PM:

The one thing my husband said last night that stopped my tears and made me laugh was, "You just know she is giving Joseph Campbell hell right now!"

Now it's my turn to smile and cry.

She was talented, smart, funny as hell, and generous with her time and heart. Jo was a strong and fierce friend, and quickly forgave after anger. I am so sorry that she ran out of time too soon.

Thank you to everyone who tried to help, for as long as you could, for as much or little as you could. It gave her time and hope.

Condolences to her family and those who loved her.

#61 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 04:30 PM:

I did not know her, and it sounds like I missed out big time. My heartfelt condolences to those of you who did. May she walk in beauty forever.

#62 ::: Kim Kindya ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 06:41 PM:

This is a request to Andrew Porter, if he manages to see this before he heads out. Sorry I don't have your individual contact info. Could you e-mail me a couple of photos of Jo for our memorial at the SoHo Gallery? (If you look on our website you'll see how we would display them.) I'll need them by Tuesday morning.
In fact, if anyone wants to send me one or two photos, that would be great. Please make them as large and hi-res as possible. (Ideal specs -- at least 1360x768 pixels -- doesn't have to be exact dimensions but gives you an idea of size -- 300 dpi preferred but we can work with a very large 72dpi image.)

#63 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 06:46 PM:

Nancy Hanger (57): Given that Patrick's update links to Kim Kindya's announcement of the NYC memorial service on Wednesday, I think he was led astray by Kim's note that the date of that had changed--the memorial service was briefly scheduled for Thursday before moving to Wednesday.

#64 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 07:17 PM:

It's unlikely, given Jewish tradition, that the interment has been moved to Wednesday.

The funeral home's website shows Monday. This is highly likely to be correct; the rules demand burial within a certain timeframe and Wednesday is too late bar extenuating circumstances.

I will not be able to be there, but intend to go to the memorial on Wednesday.

#65 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 10:14 PM:

As far more people read this than read my FB page, I hope if we're all correct in our assumptions, that Patrick will correct his correction sooner rather than later.

Mister Jim echoed the "correction" over on, so same thing goes.

I guess we have to wait and see. This means I can't attend, as I have to leave on the 11am train tomorrow and find a cheap hotel overnight in New Haven if I'm to go at all (only one train a day from VT to CT).

#66 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 10:22 PM:

I've canceled my post at SFF Net.

#67 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 10:32 PM:

Okay, I am feeling really crabby about this. I updated the post based on a report from Jon Singer -- someone who I trust implicitly -- telling me about what had been reported by Janna Silverstein on the Vanguard list, which I am not on.

I have just been on the phone to Jon. He has asked me to send me the URL of this thread, and he has promised to sort it out.

I really, really hate being made into a source of misinformation.

#68 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 10:35 PM:

Mary Aileen #63, you are wrong; see my previous comment for where I got my information.

I am going to sleep now. I am pissed.

#69 ::: Soli ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 10:45 PM:

I have fond memories of Josepha from the writers' cons I coordinated at Mount Holyoke back in the 90s. Even the year that it was only two people (Josepha and Susan Schwartz), it was an amazing day. There is a little less laughter in the world for her passing.

#70 ::: Cathy Bowden ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 10:49 PM:

Ms. Katharine Eliska Kimbriel:

"The one thing my husband said last night that stopped my tears and made me laugh was, "You just know she is giving Joseph Campbell hell right now!"

I know that is true! She did several Star Wars Panels for me on Joseph Campbell.

Jo will be deeply missed - we always had a good time when were together.

R.I.P. my dear friend.

#71 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 11:28 PM:

Patrick really hates being a source of disinformation.


It appears that the source of the confusion was something circulated on the Vanguard mailing list. We aren't on that list. I've been told that the culprit was a misplaced modifier, but I can't confirm that until I see the text myself.

Patrick and I aren't Jewish, and in any event we wouldn't second-guess someone else's funeral arrangements. All we know is what we're told.

My guess is that the interment is still on Monday, and the memorial service is still on Wednesday.

Shabbas is over. It may be easier now to get hold of someone at the funeral home and ask. That's a guess too.

We'll let you know if we hear anything solid.

#72 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 12:41 AM:

All I know is I've been a point person to the "outside world" from Jo's custodial lawyer, Bridges, etc. for the last 2 years, and so when she died, they called me. And thus the funeral director being in touch with me. And so it goes.

It's nobody's fault, and it's all straightened out, I think. We'll see what I hear tomorrow.

#73 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 09:03 AM:

Patrick (67&68): My apologies for implying you'd misread something.

#74 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 10:51 AM:

The interment is indeed on Monday as originally announced. The post has been corrected. I'm very sorry this happened.

We should have confirmed the supposed date change rather than simply relying on a second-hand report from an old friend. Obviously we need to cultivate better habits.

#75 ::: Janni Lee Simner ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 01:19 PM:

It occurs to me that one's life is well-lived indeed when there is talk about reading Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts at one's funeral.

#76 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 04:23 PM:

Patrick: You did the best you could, and the word is out and people know when and where to show up, if they can, to honor Jo's life -- and, you know, at the end of the day, that's what counts. You've performed a real mitsvah to help so much with this, and I for one thank you deeply. Really.

Don't think I'll be going to the interment as the lupus is flaring mightily now, which saddens me, but I know there will be people there, and the gallery celebration of Jo's life will be wonderful.

#77 ::: Carol Aronoff ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 09:57 PM:

We will miss Josepha. We enjoyed talking to her at Cons. She always made panels intesting. Her death is a loss to the community.

#78 ::: Sarah Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 11:38 PM:

One of my first friends in SF, Jo would burst out in laughter whenever she saw me because she would remember the Folger's parody Justus wrote: "The best part of waking up/ Is vultures in your cup." Miss you, Jo.

#79 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 06:57 AM:

She got a kick out of my mis-hearing her at Worldcon. I thought she said she was going to "The Syphilis Suite."

#80 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 02:12 PM:


John Ordover, in response to my RSVP for the memorial, says RSVPs are not necessary.

#81 ::: Debbie Notkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 01:11 AM:

I'm very sad to hear this. I never knew Jo at all well, but liked what I did know, and can see her face in my mind instantly.

Patrick, I hope you don't still feel bad about the misinformation. These things happen, and no one blames you.

#82 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 07:41 AM:

The memorial was smallish, as expected, but quite heartfelt.

The gallery's screens displayed a couple of photos of Jo. One seemed to have been taken during a panel; she was actively listening in the image. The other was of her lounging kinda sideways in an upholstered chair, probably also from a con; her hair was whiter and her pose was so familiar, relaxed, and comfortable . . . so really Jo. The rest of the screens displayed covers of her books.

Prayers were said, in Hebrew and English, and a number of eulogies were offered, some funny, some moving, some both.

#83 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 10:49 AM:

Thanks for the report, Melissa.

We all miss Jo.

#84 ::: Tamora Pierce ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2012, 12:12 PM:

This is so hard.

I guess I was one of the last people she worked with professionally, and one of the last people she spoke with before she lost the last apartment she held in CT, when there was nothing in terms of finances and/or temporary housing I could do to help. A diagnosis of dementia/early onset Alzheimer's explains more than it doesn't.

She worked for my first editor when Jean took me on, and we exchanged letters too while she worked for Baen. Then, when I showed up at my first SFWA mill & swill, she took one look at me (and my badge) and gasped, "You're real! You exist!" She made so many cons riotous for me, and introduced me to her friends, and that's the part I keep remembering, not the parts that came later, that didn't match the person I first new.

I just got back from a 2 week holiday away from communications, which is why I only add my bit now.

Once I knew about Bridges, a couple of years ago, I kept hoping that we'd get our old Jo back.

#85 ::: Terry Ganley ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 01:13 PM:

Josepha was a dear friend,I met her at Eeriecon eight years ago and enjoyed her each and every year when she came back. She was instrumental in bringing Paul and me together, and we will always remember her. God bless you Josepha we have lots of good memories of you. Amen

#86 ::: Terry Ganley ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 01:13 PM:

Josepha was a dear friend,I met her at Eeriecon eight years ago and enjoyed her each and every year when she came back. She was instrumental in bringing Paul and me together, and we will always remember her. God bless you Josepha we have lots of good memories of you. Amen

#87 ::: Sally Mayer ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 09:13 AM:

I met Josepha Sherman in the early 1990s through various author friends at conventions and elsewhere. One of my fondest memories of Josepha was of her reading horrifyingly funny excerpts from the infamous Baen Books slush pile. She would always introduce this stack of anonymous awful writing as being from the "bowels of Baen," so we already knew it would be awful but tremendously amusing. The way she read the piles of slush made the whole thing even funnier. Another great hilarious memory came from the years at which Boskone was held at the infamously hard to access and isolated Sheraton Tara Framingham. One night after having imbibed God knows how much in the bar, for some reason a group of us found ourselves back in the room testing the ability of the barco-lounger to launch or catapult members of the group across the room with Josepha cheering us on. We all survived, but the chair emerged in rather more tipsy state after many hours of intense scientific research. Another memory from the Sheraton Tara Framingham Boskone years was the infamous annual ritual of Authors vs. Artists billiards, at which Josepha and the authors always beat us artists stale. My last memory was from several years ago at LunaCon , where a friend and I ran into a ravenous Josepha and immediately invited her for lunch. She had just lost her housing and did not seem her usual self (now we know why). Friend and I were concerned about what had gone wrong in her life, and had at the time assumed it was the awful economy that had turned around her life so precariously. After that I never saw her again. I know that in whatever place, dimension, or afterlife she has found herself in her next incarnation, it will be all the better for her vibrant energy, enthusiasm, and delightfully over the top sense of humor.

#88 ::: Jeanne Wardwell ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 10:29 AM:

I saw Josepha at more cons than I can remember. She was a fixture at Lunacon, and I loved going to her panels. And we found something else in common: a great interest in the radio personality Joey Reynolds. Many's the time we'd greet each other by trying to beat the other at crying out, "Rats in my room!" And I always wished she would put out a sequel to [i]Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts[/i]--I had so much more material for her, since I never knew she was writing that book till it was done!

I hadn't seen her in quite some time, but the last news I had of her led me to believe she was losing it then. I know from family experience how bad Alzheimer's can be. If there's anything I'm more sorry about than losing her, it's not having found out about it till this past weekend.

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