We are deeply saddened and devastated to learn of the passing of Bud Webster. Bud had been ill for a while, and had moved into hospice care, but no amount of foreknowledge really prepares one for reality.
There are a lot of people who describe Bud as both their friend and mentor, and I think the greatest gift he ever gave me was the ability to claim the same. When the Merry Blacksmith Press was trying to get off the ground in its first year, Bud took a chance on us and became one of our first authors. It was a privilege to work with him in collecting and editing Anthopology 101, Past Masters, and The Joy of Booking. We had been discussing a collection of his poetry and short stories, as well as a possible new edition of his Groff Conklin book, but those plans had to be put on hold after his illness made it too difficult to concentrate on such projects. Bud was a dedicated and generous friend. Patient and understanding. Really… he was just the best guy.
I first became aware of Bud through his Bubba Pritchard stories in Analog, and then through his Anthopology column in The SFWA Bulletin. It was while working on the Bulletin that I really got to know Bud. His reputation as sf historian was well founded in his unending knowledge of every writer, every story, every collection or anthology of the field. His generosity of spirit showed itself when one year the Bulletin found itself short an editor for its annual Nebula issue. Bud stepped up and found the issue’s copy, worked over the editing and organizing, and coordinated with me and the business manager to make sure we still got our issue out on time. He was the best team player one could imagine and an inspiration for all of us.
Our world will never be the same. We can take some comfort in knowing that Bud’s words and legacy live on, but I’m still going to miss him.