November 7, 2018 by Kenneth Fisher
It’s the start of Summit for many of us (not me, sorry) and it seemed like a good time to highlight a few of those we’ve lost way too soon. Below are members of the SQL community sometimes called the #sqlfamily who’ve we’ve lost in the last year. I didn’t know any of them nearly as well as I wish I had but each of them was important. If you have comments you would like to make about any of them please feel free to leave them below. If I’ve missed anyone PLEASE let me know so I can add them ASAP.
April 2, 2018
Robert was a mentor to me and to many of us. Some of his many accomplishments including being a member of the very exclusive MCM club, the most prolific SQLHelp responder and a frequent blogger and author. For me personally, he was the person who first nominated me as a Microsoft MVP, he also helped me get several writing jobs and then helped me edit and perfect the results. On a personal level, he was a confidant I could always come to when I needed to bend someone’s ear.
He was also an amazing teacher. The very first time I ever heard of him he was teaching a session at the Pass Dallas SQLRally. I honestly don’t remember what session it was but it was the first time I’d ever heard the term HoBT. I treasure that memory.
I treasure all of my memories of Robert.
In case you are interested, his gofundme page appears to still be open.
January 30, 2018
Tom was less of a work mentor for me but even more of a personal one. In case you never had a chance to meet him or speak with him he was not only a skilled database professional he was an incredible storyteller. He had a technical blog, and it was quite good, but his personal blog was where he really shone. He was known for saying “I have a story about that” and it was amazing how often he did. If you haven’t read any of his work before my absolute favorite is The Red Converse High Tops. Take a moment to read it. I’ll warn you though, even thinking about it brings a tear to my eye. Many of his stories have been collected into a book: Stupid Things Papa Did When He Was Younger: And Other Tales of Hard-Won Wisdom.
The loss of Tom still hurts me. I didn’t know him very well but he always made me feel like he was a family member I was just getting to know.
He was a very religious man and if there is any justice in the world he is in heaven looking down on the rest of us. Probably thinking “I have a story about that”.
Unfortunately, while I spoke with these next two on occasion I didn’t know either one of them well enough to feel comfortable writing anything so I’ve asked others to help me out.
October 30, 2018
Thanks to William J Wolf (b/t) for providing this:
Naomi Williams(aka @naomithesqldba) was a bright star, friend and mentor to many. Naomi was a fiercely loyal person and would help anyone that she could.
It is difficult to write this “NOT” from a personal standpoint. I (@sqlwarewolf) met Naomi in Atlanta 2016. It is possible to say “love at first sight”. It didn’t take long to know that we were meant for each other.
I feel very cheated that I did not know Naomi as long as other’s did. I have heard about her mentoring others and how she was mentored. I loved watching her speak, although I may be biased.
Naomi was the best friend and best partner that I could ever imagine having. I got to see a side of Naomi that many didn’t. I got to watch her dance in her chair as she was configuring a Hyper-V cluster while listening to Pink Floyd(yuck). My favorite memory came in Chattanooga after the event. We were looking for somewhere for a drink and it started to rain. She grabbed me and started dancing with me and kissing me in the rain.
Naomi was always a “go big or go home” sort of person. If you were at SQL Saturday San Antonio, you would remember that. I remember because I carried all that soda in117 degree heat! She was like that with her children, with everything.
I beg of all to keep her in your memory and your hearts.
If you are interested Wolf also shared with me this recording of Namoi singing.
And lastly here is the link to the gofundme to provide money for her children. Please help how you can.
July 23, 2018
Thanks to Frank Gill (b/t) for providing this:
Aaron Lowe passed away suddenly July 23, 2018. Aaron was the founder of SQL Friends, which brought SQL Server professionals together for lunch meetings to connect, share and learn. He was co-president of the Chicago SQL Server User Group. Aaron loved to share his knowledge with the community and always encouraged others to do the same. He would tell people, “If you’ve done this for more than 6 months, you know something I don’t. Get up here and share.” Aaron is survived by his wife Rose Lew and children Talia, Alicia, Brianna, Bardell, and Whitney.
Please note, this was a very difficult post to write, both in difficulty of doing each of these amazing people justice and the emotional toll of realizing how much their loss meant to me. Death is a natural part of life and is sometimes completely unavoidable. However, we can put it off as long as possible. Please remember to support and love each other. I couldn’t come up with a better way to say this so I’m stealing the next paragraph from Steve Jones (b/t) memorial post.
Many of (deaths) these are sudden, unexpected, and unpreventable. However, a few aren’t, and I’d like to ask all of you to ensure you help others where you can. Suicide has taken a few people I have known, and if any of you are struggling, please seek help. If you know someone struggling, please refer them to a suicide hotline. If any of you ever need to talk, I’m here as are many of your friends and family. We have enough tragedy in life, so please don’t withdraw completely.