Vale George

28 06 2007

I heard some sad news today. George Mena, a Californian technical writer I met at the 2001 STC Conference in Chicago, and with whom I had corresponded on and off over the past 7 or so years, passed away last December aged only 53. Another of the Californian tech writers on one of my email discussion lists found out and posted the sad news.

George was a man who was larger than life in every way. He was a big man with a big heart. He was incredibly knowledgeable about tech writing for manufacturing and the military, and willingly shared his knowledge with our group of lone writers. When you asked a question, George never just gave you a quick answer – he’d give you chapter and verse, with references and citations. Sometimes you just needed a quick answer! Despite the extra information, you always learnt something from George.

I fondly recall meeting him at that conference, and him falling asleep during the very early pre-breakfast business meeting of our Special Interest Group! He really was up long before his usual time. We chuckled over that and gave him a hard time about it! George joined in all the networking activities – at the bar and at the lunches and dinners – and his presence was felt by all who met him.

53 was way too young. Rest in peace, George. You touched many lives.

George’s obituary.



3 responses

29 06 2007

George was a mentor to me long before I ever met him in person. Regardless of whether it was a tech writing question, process question, or how-to-deal-with-management question, George was the first one I contacted precisely because of his trademark lengthy answers. Although I expressed my appreciation profusely each time, I’m not convinced that he knew just how valuable his answers and his guidance were, how much of a difference they made in my life as a new tech writer (or in the work lives of those around me).

He was a wonderful mentor and a natural teacher at heart. An all-around good guy. Through all of us that he helped, he’s left an enormous legacy. I hope wherever he is now, he now realizes just how big of an impact he made on all of us.

30 06 2007
Grant Hogarth

As noted above (and elsewhere) George was a man with a great heart and a devout desire to share knowledge freely. I don’t think I ever met him in the flesh, but I knew him from a dozen different e-lists and SIGs, and he was always ready with an intelligent (and perspicacious) answer to any of the challenges presented. We all owe him a great deal, either from knowledge gained or as an example set.

Grant Hogarth

9 07 2007

I hesitated to post this on the Lone Writer list where Rhonda, Whitney, Grant, and I hang out but it’s a memory of George that always makes me laugh. I once mentioned (in an OT moment on that list) that I was considering a cross-country trip with my son, then 14 or 15. George recommended a stop at the Chicken Ranch in Nevada so my son could, um, gets his pipes cleaned. Completely cracked me up and disgusted me at the same time: right, like I’m going to be waiting in the car in the parking lot while my son is, um, busy. I may be a liberal Mom but I ain’t that liberal!

Anyway, it always gave me a good laugh that George, only George, would suggest such a thing.

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