What can I say about Rich Lane?
I can say he was among the first to find me on my original Captain Comics website, which was basically a Q&A. We became friends then, just knocking around in our little corner of the Internet, talking comics.
I can say that he was instrumental in evolving the original site into "the old board," a message board which so many remember with fond memories. And not just technically, which was pretty much all Rich Lane. I also leaned on Rich in developing the philosophy of the site, the mechanics of use, the wisdom of who should be a moderator, how to accept members, how to deal with malcontents, and more.
I can say that when my depression was at its worst, it was Rich who counseled me in long phone calls from Titusville. Yes, he suffered from it, too, and knew just how tenacious the Black Dog is.
I can say he was instrumental in taking us to the current site. It was Rich who did the math and figured out we were literally going to run out of space on the message board. It was Rich who did the research to find an affordable alternative. And it was Rich, of course, who moved us there.
I can say that Rich grew increasingly frustrated with the state of the world, and really wanted to debate politics and religion. But he knew that ran counter to the premise of the forum. He had too much respect for us and the site to become a problem here, and took his show to Facebook. That made him happy, which made me happy. (Although I was sad to lose him.)
What can I say about Rich Lane? I can say he was a genuine friend -- loyal, thoughtful and true.
I don't think you can say anything better about anyone.
It really is just so sad to hear about Rich's passing, and I really feel for his family. We had some good conversations here and for a while on Facebook.
I wanted share a quick story of how helpful and patient he could be. When we first made the move to Ning, I tried to create an account and login. No matter what I tried it was a "no go". The old board was still up, and I reached out to Rich via chat over there. This was a Friday night if memory serves. So not only is he trying for a smooth transition here, and whatever work remained on the old board, and living his own life. He is taking time out for me, on a Friday night, to be my personal tech support.
After going through a few different scenarios, he asked me, "Well maybe you are already have a Ning account." I promised him I didn't. Well, long story short. I did have a Ning account already. I didn't realize it was a huge group of message boards, and one login worked for all. I felt so bad, because he spent a lot of time helping me. I apologized, and he just laughed it off, and we both went on our way.
Rich was very good to me, When I was wandering around the country at a dark period in my life (the same trip where I met, you, Joan and Bridget the Wonder Dog, Andrew), Rich and his wife put me up for the night before sending me on my way in a much better frame of mind.
I'll miss the lengthy, on-going FB conversation that he and Tracy and I had, where we discussed whatever was on pur minds, and did our best to help each poher get through life. I'm gonna miss his stories and pictures of his his beloved Menagerie (I know they're being taken care of, but it must be very disruptive for them to be taken out of their home and to suddenly not have him around anymore.), and i'm gonna miss how he never had to have any of my obscure literary references explained to him, and, oh, so many things.
When I was little, I would often spend weekends with my father's parents, and I can remember Grandpa (when he was maybe five to seven years older than I am now) reading the papers and occasionally seeing the name of some guy that he'd been in the cops with in the obituaries. This occurred with increasing frequency right up until the time that Grandpa's turn came to appear in the death notices. I really hope that I'm not entering that phase of my life, but I know that, inexorably, it will come.
Rich loved Jimmy Buffett but didn't think much of John Fogerty. I, OTOH, love John Fogerty but don't think much of Jimmy Buffett. We simply had to agree to disagree about those two artists' relative merits.
Rich's favorite comic book series was Preacher. I never finished it, myself, but may give it a read in Rich's honor.
He didn't suffer fools lightly.
Several years ago, Tracy relayed something to me Rich said on Facebook that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. I didn't read it myself so excuse me if I misrepresent him (and I hope someone will correct me if I do), but he said something along the lines of being satisfied with his life's accomplishments and, if he were to die tomorrow, he would die happy and content. I have never felt that way myself and couldn't wrap my mind around it, but I hope he maintained that philosophy until the end.
So sorry to hear this. Rich was one of a kind, and I mean that in the best possible way. My condolences to his family and friends.