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Bo Leuf, R.I.P.

Bo Leuf and I first met in early February 2001 when he sent me a note with background information on a journal item I had recently posted. Bo was then, as I saw so many times thereafter, simply being helpful. He frequently gave excellent advice, ideas, and information-handling services to others. Bo's book (with Ward Cunningham) The Wiki Way was published a few months later. It had a profound influence on my thinking. The Wiki Way brought wiki to life, and thereby enriched and empowered countless indviduals. It was a huge gift from Bo to the world.

In mid-2001 Bo began hosting a wiki for me on one of his servers. I had been keeping my online journal for two years, and spent several days converting 600+ individual posts into wiki pages. It was the best investment I ever made. Within a couple of years, again with Bo's help, my ZhurnalyWiki moved into its own domain. Bo Leuf built, maintained, and enhanced the entire software base behind it. He added new features, some at my suggestion, some on his own initiative. Always he was a delight to work with, enthusiastic and thoughtful, generous and creative, a teacher and a leader.

In mid-2007 the ZhurnalyWiki began to outgrow Bo's system and it was time to start moving it to other hosting. Both Bo and I regretted the need to transition but continued as friends to discuss and work together on a variety of tasks. In a sad coincidence, a few months later Bo was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He remained active and met a series of health challenges with the same vigor and spirit that he showed in all his work. In April 2008 when he saw many of his former friends turning away from him, Bo made a public pledge:

Whatever the reason, I cannot let their problems due to attitudes toward terminal illness become my pain. I cannot afford such wallowing but must instead try to lead a normal, outgoing life. If necessary, as seems to be the case, I will make new friends.

Life is, after all, itself a "terminal" condition. I fully intend to live whatever allotment I have, heal as much as I can, and be "healthy, happy and successful" to the greatest degree possible. As for the doctors' diagnosis, I respectfully acknowledge only that it is to the best of their knowledge and not an absolute given. So far, my degree of recovery has surpassed expectations both in degree and time. I find the surprise elicited as a very hopeful indicator that there is more to regaining health than the medical experts know.

Bo kept that pledge. On 24 April 2009, he died. He will long be remembered.

    Bo Leuf
  1952-2009
 Wiki Master

(cf. In Memoriam, a poem I wrote as a small gift to Bo in October 2007) - ^z - 2009-05-28