I received this communications a short while ago. It is with the greatest sadness that I must announce this.
Message: Dear Anthony and the WUWT moderators:
I am the daughter of Robert Phelan and I unfortunately have some bad news to pass on. My father passed away suddenly last night from what we believe to be a heart attack. I know you had a party planned on the 18th. I would hate to say it’s cancelled because knowing my father, he would want the celebration to continue, but I’m hoping we could have a conversation first.
I’m so sorry to have to bring this news to you. He spoke of you often and with much respect and admiration.
Bob was the nicest and most helpful individual you could ever want to meet. I had met him twice, at two Heartland conferences, and we spoke over the phone often. He was tireless and dedicated to helping us all here, he was very helpful to me, and we’ve all lost a dear friend. Many of you knew him by his signature [REP].
I can tell you this was like a kick in the stomach for me. I loved Bob like a brother. He was always quick with a laugh and easy to talk with. He was fair, and honest, and good. My last communications with him was yesterday morning, and as usual, it was a message to help me with something about WUWT, passing along an important comment that I might otherwise have missed due to the volume.
I spoke with Diane Phelan his daughter, today, and I have conveyed my deepest sympathy to her and to the family. Details on funeral or other arrangements are obviously uncertain right now, and I will pass them along on this thread as I have them. I’ll also post a photo and official obituary when I have them.
As for the WUWT East Coaster’s picnic planned at Bob’s house on the 18th, – I don’t know at this point. One day at a time.
Bob was a lecturer at Eastern Connecticut State University in Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work. He understood people well, which is what made him such a great asset as a lead moderator at WUWT. To say he will be missed here, is an understatement.
The header of WUWT goes to a black band now, to honor and mourn his passing.
UPDATE: A site for donations to help cover funeral costs will be made available in a day or two. I’ll announce that here when it is ready. – Anthony
UPDATE2: 8/11/12 6:30PM PST
The wake is this Wed, August 15th from 4-8p at the Cody-White Funeral Home (right off the Milford MetroNorth stop) 107 Broad St., Milford, CT 06460.
The funeral is this Thurs., August 16th at 10:30 am at St. Mary’s Church, 70 Gulf St. Milford, CT. The interment will be at St Mary’s Cemetery immediately following.
Full obituary here
The link to the memorial fund site set up is:
There’s lot of new pictures of Bob there. Please take a moment to look and consider helping.
The Phelan family asked me if I would ask your to donate to the memorial fund in lieu of flowers. I am happy to do so, especially after learning of this below.
I received this update from his daughter Diane Phelan, when I inquired where Bob was when he was stricken:
To answer your question, my father was found at his study desk, where we often found him asleep! He had very likely fallen asleep moderating the blog, or doing some related research.
As I probably mentioned to you, he most likely didn’t feel it and it was quick and peaceful for him, something I am grateful for and it’s what he would have wanted.
Thank you for any considerations you can offer. I have made a significant contribution myself. – Anthony