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Memorial: Anita Rowland

At 4:40 PM Monday, December 10, 2007, my wife, Anita Marie Rowland, passed away in Seattle at the age of 51 after a long battle with cancer. She is survived by her two sisters, Martha and Betsy Rowland, and by myself.

Anita will be missed by all. By her sisters. By myself. By the children and grandchildren she took as her own. And by everyone that knew her...

Some people shine so brightly they light the way for others; Anita was such a person. Having that light snuffed out so soon is a loss to the world.

Anita, we love you. We will miss you forever.

If you knew Anita or she touched your life in some way -- something that applies to many, many people -- please leave a comment with some memory of her here.

-- Edited to add:

Many people have asked me about a memorial fund for Anita. In all our discussions about what happens next (yes, Anita and I had them) we managed to miss talking about what charity she would like to have people donate to in her name.

There is a medical fund managed by our friend jkling called anitar_medfund. It's purpose is to help us pay off our (enormous) medical bills. But that isn't quite the same thing. You are welcome to donate there, just follow the link and click the PayPal button.

But what charities would Anita want you to support? The list is as endless and varied as her many interests. Given the circumstances, I suggest Gilda's Club as a place to make a small donation in Anita's name. Or you can follow Anita's lead and go personally to feed the hungry in whatever place you live.


( 167 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 11th, 2007 02:54 pm (UTC)
Such sad news
Dear Jack,

Anita's writings were some of the very first I ever read online, so many years ago now I've lost count. I always admired her attitude, her graciousness and her "go make a life" way of living. What a lovely, lovely soul. She will be missed. My deepest sympathies to you and all who loved her.

Dec. 11th, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
The world is less beautiful now.
Dec. 11th, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC)
Jack, I am so sorry for you and your family, and indeed for the many communities, online and off, that Anita was part of. I admired Anita's dedication to her family -- her parents, your grandson -- and her seemingly inexhaustible cheer and dignity.
Dec. 11th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
One of my regrets is that I never managed to meet Anita in person. In the weblog world, though, it seems like she's been one of those fixtures who's been with us forever, a central part of one of the communities that has made Seattle an attractive place to move to, and...

Damn. I guess we knew it was coming, and I think John Donne was wrong in general, but in this specific case a substantial portion of the mainland has just washed away.

Dec. 11th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
sorry for your loss
Jack, I'm sorry for you loss. I've written a post about Anita and Marc Orchant at my blog. I hope we'll be able to jam at an event again someday.
Dec. 11th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
We'll miss her!
It's been quite awhile since I've been to a blog gathering, but I was just thinking of Anita and how we should get together with her again.
I'm so sorry I couldn't see her before she left us.

She was a fantastic person, funny, friendly and kind.

Lisa (Bird on a Wire)
Dec. 11th, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry for your loss.

I first met Anita back in the day at the original Speakeasy cafe at a get together for online journal/diary writers. It was the first time I'd been to one and she was so friendly and welcoming. We only kept on sporadic contact through the years, but she was always like an old friend whenever we spoke. I'm so sorry she's gone. I'll miss her.
Dec. 11th, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC)
I was saddened to hear this news. I spoke to Anita several times at Blogger Meetups at Ralph's Deli. She was always kind and welcoming. --Ian Morris
Dec. 11th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)

I just learned of Anita's passing. My deepest condolences to you and the family at this time.

I knew her years ago through swing dancing. She was always Miss Anita to me, ready with a cheerful smile, lovely grace on the floor, and friendly to all she encountered. I will forever think of her gliding across the floor in a flowing dress and her face glowing with the pure joy of the dance.


Dec. 11th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
What always amazed me was how no matter how long it had been since I posted to Windowseat, Anita would still show up to comment. That meant a lot to me.

We read each other's weblogs and online journals back in the early days and interacted a fair bit over the years in them. Once comments were available, we would comment; before that we'd chat back and forth between weblogs or occasionally in email. I liked reading about fandom in her neck of the woods, I think she liked reading what I had to say about fandom in the midwest.

I loved that she seemed to dive into everything she liked with gusto-- I'm like that too and it was fun to encounter someone else like that (oh good, it's not just me). Neater still that we shared some of the same interests and activities.

I think she may have been the first weblogger I noticed who put together a list of local bloggers and started up local meetups. Was nifty how she'd bring people together like that.

I got ideas and links from her, as we all did from each other in the early days of weblogs and journals.

I always thought I'd run into her at a convention someday and I'm sad that it will never happen.

Deepest sympathies to her family and friends. She'll be missed by many (including me). The world of weblogs won't be the same without her.
Dec. 11th, 2007 04:24 pm (UTC)
My condolences. I only met Anita once years ago, but her energy and good humor were impressive. She was one of the first bloggers who I read regularly, and gave me some of my very first comments on my blog. I'd forgotten until I read this that I also knew her very slightly through Webgrrls, Digital Eve, and the NWR lists. She was a special person to all those communities. Our thoughts are with you.
Dec. 11th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
A little bit of love has left the world...Little bit? Hell, Anita gave out much more than a little bit. All the people commenting here show that plain enough. My heart goes out to you and Riley, Jack. I can't imagine how you're feeling right now, but I pray that you'll find all the strength and comfort you need in the days to come.

John/Hamburger Lad
Dec. 11th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
My deepest condolences, Jack. She fought bravely and strongly, and we'll all greatly miss her. You are in the company of friends, and though we may never know how much hurt you are in, let us know how to share the burden.
Dec. 11th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
Jack, I remember at Jaycon -- which was the last time I saw Anita -- she seemed so lively and in good spirits that I was shocked when later that night you told me you didn't think she was going to get better. I thought you must be wrong, being pessimistic, preparing yourself for the worst. I hoped you were wrong. We were standing outside a tiki karaoke bar in Portland, and we talked about your trip to Europe with Anita, how great it was, and how you can hate the universe for plotting to take her away from you, but be grateful that you got the fabulous, everything-you-ever-dreamed-of trip to Europe.

One of us said that these moments of grace are the best thing we can ever get out of this life. The phrase stayed with me. Moments of grace.

Anita provided all of us with moments of grace -- kindness and beauty and humor. Adorable rainbow hats and drunken goat cheese and the best hospitality suite to be found at any convention anywhere.

I think maybe the person who received the most from her grace is Riley. As a child, he needed her more than anyone else could, and she seemed to give him exactly what he needed -- a steady presence, gentle discipline, and palpable love. It was a joy to watch them together.

Dec. 11th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
My sympathies
Jack, I'm so sorry to learn this. It's been a while since I saw Anita and I regret not knowing enough to offer a word of encouragement or an ear for a bitch session. She will be missed. Leslie What
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