The founder of a personal interest community that I am simply a member
of passed away this week. His user name was Chester. I want to share the
story with you because it affirms why we do what we do. Chester had not
been online since December 9 - out of character. Someone in Minnesota
had his cell and tried to contact him. She knew his general location in
Western New York. On December 14th, the call went out – did anyone know where to find him? Turned out a member had a connection who was a real life buddy of Chester’s - they went to his home on the 15th. Lights on, cars in the driveway, screen doors locked from the inside. A lot of community members were online, waiting for updates and sending good thoughts, sharing concern. The people at Chester’s home called 911 and sheriffs came, broke in, and found Chester had passed. Neighbors had not noticed anything. The sheriffs notified Chester’s family and now Chester can rest in peace.
As one poster said, he was the first online friend that she had experienced passing. “It makes no difference; it is still very hard.”
For a couple of days we were in danger of losing the community and/or the content. Chester had not shared any of his logon information or webhosting and domain name agreements. It turned out that the domain name and hosting were both set to expire at the end of this year. Fortunately, a member of Chester’s family spent about 3 hours with a community admin and they were able to transfer ownership and pay the bills. So that is a lesson to be learned.
Now the challenge is moving forward or even if we should move forward
without Chester. Most people want to keep the community alive and several members have stepped up to take on larger roles in the community. Does anyone have any advice or a similar story?