Over the years, it's not surprising that famous personalities to us Wing Commander fans have passed on. Often times the only outlet for what fans might be feeling is other fans. Here you can find information concerning memorials and tributes for resting friends. If you'd like to contribute, please email us here.
Worlds of Origin have set up a wonderful tribute page which can be found here.
- Jason Bernard (1938-1996) - Captain William Eisen in Wing Commander 3 and 4
His obituary, as it appeared in the August 8, 1999 Pennsylvania Tribune Review:
- Andrew Keith (1957-1999) - Co-author of Heart of the Tiger and False Colors
J. Andrew Keith, 41, of Greensburg, died Saturday, August 7, 1999, in Westmoreland Regional Hospital, Greensburg. He was born on August 31, 1957, in Pittsburgh, a son of the late William H. and Dorothy Hultz Keith. He had been self-employed as a free-lance novelist. He is survived by his brother, William H. Keith, Jr. of Geensburg. There will be no public visitation. Private interment will take place at the St. Clair Cemetary, Greensburg. Barnhart Funeral Home, Greensburg, in charge of arrangements.
Hmm, I never know what to say at times like this. I didn't know Andrew Keith, but I enjoyed his writing. Oddly enough, I've had a copy of FC sitting here for many months and I haven't read it yet. I think I'll do that. I think the best way to honor a writer after his passing is to read what he wrote. Writers have a sort of immortality this way. What they write is shaped by who they are. In a way, reading their work is like talking to them. When we read, they speak to us, saying "This is who I was. This is who I am." Shakespeare, Shelley, Twain, Poe, Lovecraft- if you read enough of their work, you begin to almost feel like you know them. I haven't read a lot of Keith's work, just the WC3 novelization so far... To tell the truth, I don't even know what other books he wrote. I think I'll try and find out.
I knew Andrew Keith, I knew him very well. I met him about two years ago, when one day I recieved an e-mail from him. He had seen a site I had made for a Wing Commander RPG, and was interestered. He was a great guy. Always willing to give us the little details about False Colors before it came out. Always willing to do an interview. He was although a very busy man, usually working on several novels at once. He was never one to slack off. The last time I e-mailed him was about a month ago, and he wrote back saying how Baen and Origin had decided not to do any more novels. He had two ideas for novels after False Colors, one concerning Murragh and his struggle for the imperial throne and another concerning Ragak and the Landreich. I'm not sure if he ever wrote anything down about them, but they would have made great books. One of the last things Andrew sent me however, was an autographed copy of False Colors, I now cherish it more then I did before. Andrew, you were a great guy thanks for all the memories, Ave Atque Vale, (Hail and Farewell).
As a fan of many different things, I admire the work that is put into creating those things that I enjoy. As a film lover, I was saddened at the passing of Stanley Kubrick. As a fan of comics, the deaths of many authors, artists, and editors over the last few years has touched me, especially the death of Bob Kane, a few short months ago. When Jason Bernard died, I saw a little light from WC dwindle and fade. Now we lose another man, who has contributed to one of our favorite passtimes. Did I know Andrew Keith? No. Did his loss touch me as that of a loved one? No. But I feel the loss as that of a member of my community, a man whom I respected, as much as I enjoyed his works. Having just read that he has moved on from this world, I can't help but feel regret for never being able to let him know, how I enjoyed the work he contributed to Wing Commander.
This is yet another time of loss for Wing Commander and our community. A community that consists of programmers, authors, actors, executives and fans. Who sometimes interact with each other, sometimes disagree, sometimes have fun, and sometimes grieve. Like all communities it is a time to celebrate the life and contribution of our member, Andrew Keith. My sincerest condolences to his family and his friends, may they remember all the good times, and the bad, that made Andrew Keith all that he was. In his memory I will read the novels that have given me pleasure. Lift your glasses and toast the man "May the joy he brought live forever".
I remember October of 1996 when Jason Bernard died and the huge outpouring of emotion that followed the news. It's different with Andrew Keith though. He touched Wing Commander fans in a very different way than Bernard, a way that was more impersonal in our interaction with him, and a way that was more personal in what he put of himself into his products. As such, it's harder for fans to relate to him and there is an unfortunately lighter feel in the community with his passing. From what limited interaction I had with Mr. Keith I found him to be a friendly man with the needs of the fans in his mind. I don't know what he looks like or how his voice sounds, but I remember jumping up and down when I got the phonecall that my False Colors was ready for me to pick up at the local bookstore. And I remember staying up till 5 am the following day to finish his 500 page collossal masterpiece. And I was optimistic that someday the ideas he had for future novels might someday make it to print. Now we know that wont happen, but I'm thankful we got what we did and think the Wing Commander universe is a little better thanks to him. Rest in peace, Mr. Keith.
A very sad Halman:
Its so sad he died, he was the greatest author the world shall ever know and a great treasure of mankind has been lost. He was a great man and could reach into the inner recesses of the soul through his work
Andrew Keith was a kind-hearted man, who hoped only the best for his fans. His books brought happiness and joy and he will be remembered for his triumphs. He will surely be missed by the ones he left behind, the ones who look up to him. Farewell and safe journey.
A biography of Keith written a couple years ago, submitted by Dundradal:
J. Andrew Keith was over a week late at birth in 1957, and has been falling further behind ever since. Born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, he was forced to follow his family to the suburbs of Chicago when he was nine years old. He quickly realized he did not like Illinois at all and took prompt steps to return to his home town, a move which somehow took twenty years to accomplish.
In the meantime, he became a writer. His first novel, now thankfully lost, was begun as a 7th grade class project, but was not actually turned in until over a year after the assignment was actually due. In 1978 Keith began writing professionally to support a dangerously expensive Gaming habit. He wrote articles, adventure modules, supplements, and other material for a number of role-playing games, including Traveller; Star Trek: The RPG; Doctor Who; and BattleTech. He also produced an RPG design of his own, Freedom Fighters, which was chiefly notable for having a character generation process that lasted longer than the average Italian government.
Keith became a “real” writer in 1988. Over the past eight years he has written, either alone or in collaboration with his brother Bill, over twenty novels and two short stories in fields ranging from historical sagas to men’s action-adventure to technothrillers to science fiction. His work has been compared (though it was never specified whether the comparison was favorable or otherwise) to Jerry Pournelle and David Drake. At present he is behind schedule on two novels and any number of other projects, and trying to figure out where the Rest Stop is on the Information Superhighway.
Andrew Keith, now aged 38, is unmarried. He lives in a small town in Western PA with two computers (unless you want to count the Apple IIe he can’t seem to get rid of); several hundred books, games, and videotapes; and two cats who claim he is dreadfully slow serving their meals. His chief hobby is taping movies and television shows which he rarely gets around to watching. Politically, he veers from staunch support of the Libertarians to an extreme right-wing conservative streak (he’s been heard to complain about “that pinko Rush Limbaugh”), but deep down he’s a Jacobite Scot who firmly believes in the Divine Right of Kings. His chief religious inclination is to re-found the Celtic version of the Catholic Church which went out of style roughly eight hundred years ago. He suffers from a rare form of multiple personality disorder which makes his brain the second most crowded place on Earth (right after the offices of Mumbo Jumbo Airlines, Goma, Zaire), so he always has somebody to talk to. Depending on who he is on any given day, Keith may be a fanatic Scots Nationalist, a merciless RPG Gamemaster, a ruthless Diplomacy player, or a Somewhat Creative Anachronist. Unfortunately, he usually tends to shift into any given persona several days after it is appropriate to his surroundings.
Although he gets along with just about everybody (only feeling the need to kill every third person who disagrees with him), Keith has been engaged his whole life in a bizzarre form of sibling rivalry with his brother Bill, who always seems one step ahead of him. For instance, after Andrew rented a townhouse in his old hometown, Bill returned and purchased a mountaintop refuge nearby. When Andrew finally attempted to achieve parity by acquiring two cats, Bill escalated to four. And don’t even ask about the number of books they’ve each written!
Attempts to obtain photographs of J. Andrew Keith hardly ever work, since he’s usually late for the sitting.