Everyone expects flowers and lightness on Valentine's Day. But, this is a love letter, of sorts.
Bill Crider died on Monday, February 12, 2018. People know or will remember Bill for so many reasons, but I think he'll be remembered the most for his kindness. When Bill announced he had cancer, I know we all hoped for the best. But, his announcement that he was going into home hospice crushed those hopes. Who would imagine that Bill and his family would continue to share that kindness and love with us right up until the end?
Those of us who are readers knew Bill as an author. He was the author of the Professor Sally Good and the Carl Burns mysteries. He won the Anthony Award for the first mystery in his long-running, popular Sheriff Dan Rhodes series. He wrote the Truman Smith PI series, and three books under the pseudonym Jack Buchanan in the Stone: M.I.A. Hunter series. He wrote westerns, horror novels and children's books.
And, we knew Bill here. On Thursdays, when we did "What Are You Reading?", Bill would comment and tell us about his current book. It was always a delight to see Bill's name on a comment.
Bill's Blog Bytes column in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine highlighted many different blogs, including this one, to my surprise, and my friend Kaye Wilkinson Barley's Meanderings and Muses. The final post on Bill's own blog, Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine, is dated December 5, 2017. It's the announcement of his last post, that he's going into hospice, and that he loved all his readers. It still makes me cry to read that good man's courageous post. Who else will talk about pop culture, music, books, as Bill did? Who else had the grace to announce to the world that he was dying, and then thank us, and tell us he loved us?
If you followed Bill on Facebook, you knew about the VBKs, The VBKs were the Very Bad Kitties that Bill rescued and adopted several years ago. Ginger Tom, Keanu, and Gilligan loved Bill. You could tell by the pictures of them draped all over his lap. And, Bill's followers loved his stories of the kittens so much that they now have their own Facebook page. They've been adopted by his goddaughter.
I was lucky enough to meet Bill Crider a couple times. I really didn't "know" him, but he and his Sheriff Dan Rhodes books, and his VBKs, touched my heart. His kindness, and the kindness and generosity of his family in sharing memories and pictures and stories are rare in today's politicized world. Perhaps that's why so many of us reached out when we heard about Bill's diagnosis, and then his time in hospice. He was a rare gentleman.
Rest in Peace, Bill Crider.