It wasn’t that long ago that I would never have imagined that so important of a friendship could be struck via the internet. Maybe that’s the way the future will be. That sounds like something that John and I would discuss via our almost daily emails. We talked about what the future would hold as much from a sense or curiosity as the desire to flesh out what had become our joint passion the Twilight Sector Setting.
At first it was odd that someone would buy into something not of their own creation with such passion. But that was a clue revealing the true genius of John. For it was in the perfection of the form not necessarily in its creation which was his special skill and frankly I’m not sure I could imagine any human who could be better at that task.
It was the happy accident of a chance internet encounter that lead to our friendship as well. I only had the pleasure of meeting John in person twice. Both occurred at GenCon, once in 2010 and again in 2011. It was there I learned much about the man. As much as the internet has extended our reach so that a man in Flint, Michigan and one in Kansas City, Missouri might meet and exchange ideas I believe it is by meeting someone in person that you can take their true measure. It was here that I was introduced to John’s warm nature, quick wit and a palpable intelligence that could not be denied. I’ll be the first to admit that John could be prickly at times. His opinions he held dear but the beauty is that he always approached them with a determined logic. It was often disagreements that lead to our best work.
We were in the midst of just such an occurrence this week shooting emails back and forth discussing how best to approach a design issue. I received his last email at Midnight and by the next morning my colleague and friend was gone. John D. Lees passed away on October the 2nd, 2012. For me the world is a much dimmer place. A man who might have been unknown to many but who is the very embodiment of the best that is tabletop role-playing has left us.