Today I found out that our previous President of RWA NYC passed away suddenly. Michael was president for 4 years before I was, and I served as his Vice-President. He's partly the reason that I'm now Presient of the chapter. He pushed and prodded and encouraged me to run, telling me that no one else could take over his crown and scepter after him.
Michael and I bonded over our love of royalty. He was the first man gay or straight who knew as much about European and British royalty as I did. He was exuberant and funny, loved Jackie O, and had an encylopedic knowledge of most of the First Ladies. He adored Hugh Jackman as anyone would, and loved musical theater. He once bought me the most beautiful old book on Marie Antoinette from the Strand bookstore, because he knew that she and I shared a birthday and that I was fascinated with her. I was so jealous that he actually had the Barbie Marie Antoinette doll that I coveted.
He worked for RT for several years as a publicist as well as Berkeley before he founded his own magazine Romance Forever which lasted for several years in the early 90's. The magazine was his dream, that I'm so glad that he got to fulfill, even for a little while. It was full on glossy with color, long before RT went that route. He had wonderful articles on royalty in the magazine. I think the day the magazine died, is the day that Michael died a little inside. He never seemed to fully recover from that blow.
He was one of my first friends in RWA NYC. I regret that we had a falling out several years ago over what now seems like something extremely silly but at the time there were hurt feelings all around, and we were never able to make the first move towards getting back our friendship. We both behaved badly.
And now he's gone, but he will always be remembered for the joyous way he used to greet new members and his funny stories that he used to tell at meetings. We will all remember the way that he used to serve as host of the now GAA awards while he was President.