Announcement – Robert Phelan, WUWT moderator, has died

Robert E. Phelan [REP]

UPDATE: Details on the wake, funeral, and memorial fund are below. Given the circumstances that I’ve just now learned about, I ask WUWT denizens to help the Phelan family with funeral costs in lieu of flowers. See the update below – Anthony

I received this communications a short while ago. It is with the greatest sadness that I must announce this.

Diane Phelan

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


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Sorry to hear this… 🙁




🙁 Condolences to his family and friends.

May he rest in peace and may his family be consoled.


Oh, no. 🙁 My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

This is a terrible shock. Bob Phelan was truly one of the good guys. He was fair and honest, and fun to be with. He will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Brian R Adams

I am sorry for his family and for the loss of your friend and confidant. Life delivers little reminders.

Jenn Oates

I HATE news like this. Rest in peace, Bob, and thanks for all the time you spent making this place work.


Prayers and sympathies to the family.

his work will be sadly missed


Sad news… very sad.
My condolences to the family.


Prayers and condolences to his family and friends.

Atomic Hairdryer

Very sad news and my condolences to his family and friends. Such a shame coming so soon after his very generours offer to host the community event. RIP, REP.


He knows the Truth about All of it, now. And he’ll be watching over you.

Tony McGough

May he rest in peace. Amen.
And God bless him and his grieving family.


He will be missed, but his work and his legacy will live on. Sincere condolances to his family, friends and colleagues.


I have to say, I’m in a bit of shock. The blogosphere is a unique place where you start counting people you have never met as acquaintances and friends. One never knows how true that is until you lose one of them.
My sympathies to the family and friends. He made the world a better place.


I’m very sorry to hear this and extend condolences to all who were close to him.


Sorry to hear another of the good guys isn’t around.

Ally E.

I am so very sorry to hear this.

Andrew Newberg



Oh no!
News like this really hurts, Anthony my sympathies for your loss of such a tremendous person in your life and contributor to WUWT.
My condolences for all and especially his family and loved ones.
Robert Phelan, RIP – a loss that will be felt far and wide I’m sure.

Amen to all of that, and more. To Anthony, and all who knew Bob, may they be at peace also.

Baa Humbug

A sad loss for all of us. My condolences to Bobs family.


My sincerest condolences to his family. I shall miss seeing his comments and signature on here, and miss his insight and wit. Rest easy, Mr. Phelan.


My condolences to the family and friends.

John F. Hultquist

Diane and Family,
So very sorry. I did not know REP except via his comments on WUWT and always they showed intellect and wit — someone I would like to know. That was always unlikely as I live in the State of Washington. There are many readers here in WA and worldwide that knew your Father in this same manner. Most of us don’t know what to say at these times. But the list of comments will grow large as the community learns of and shares the loss of his passing. Peace.


Very sorry to hear this.

Richard T. Fowler

I, like others, have been blessed by your contributions all this time. I did not know you were REP, but it doesn’t surprise me at all. A great big “Thank-you!!”, from this big fan.
Family and friends of Robert,
You clearly had a very special man in your midst. Thank you for the support you have given him, that he could better help so many. My great condolences to you all for your loss. You will be in my prayers.


‘He was fair, and honest, and good.’ R.I.P Mr. Phelan.

Coral S.

My sincere condolences to his family.


I only knew him through the REP initials and his straight down the line moderation replies to the disruptive and over enthusiastic, to the point and effective. Our condolences to his family and Diane in particular for letting us know. This Australian appreciates his dedication and calming presence, you can be so pround of him.

Intelligence and a sense of humour, rare combination. Sad news indeed.

John Greenfraud


Mike A.

Things like that come as a shock. To me, it feels like WUWT has become an extended family and a member’s been lost. My sincere condolences to family and friends.

cui bono

All condolences to his family. He commented only where comments were due, snipped only where it was appropriate. I will miss his wit.

Rest in Peace and peace to his family and friends. It’s always a shock when someone dies – even if you’re expecting it. Much worse if it’s unexpected.


My heart, prayers, and wishes go out to Mr Phelan, his family and friends.
He always took time to encourage and joke with me.
I am sure he will be dearly missed, by many.
I have lost a friend and true mentor.

We surrender Robert to God’s care. God bless his family.


My most sincere condolences to his family, and to those who worked so hard with him to shine a light on the truth.

Ron Richey

I enjoyed every snip and comment REP made.
I’ll miss his presence. Condolences to his family and friends.


Occasionally, there is such a soul. May your best memories of him give you strength and consolation.
My regards to family and others.

Very shocking.
The best to his family

Craig Moore

My deepest sympathies for his family, friends, and associates. I’ve just returned from my own mother’s funeral and deeply feel the pain of others for there family losses.


Requiescat in pace.


RIP Rob Phelan

He will be greatly missed by the moderation team
Most sincere condolences to family and friends.

Oh my. I met Bob at one of the ICCCs, I think he became a moderator soon after that. I liked the way he kept Eastern US morning under control, he did things like I wanted done, but he did it better than I could.
Perversely enough, after the picnic was set up, an elderly aunt of mine in Norwalk CT died. Her memorial service is scheduled on the 19th, so my wife and I will be in CT anyway, picnic nor not.
We have tropical rains out tonight, and I’m about to head home. I think I’ll drive a little slowly tonight.

Green Sand

Why do they always take the good guys away?
If you ever saw (REP) you knew there was an opportunity to learn.
Thank you for being, condolences to all


My sincerest condolences to his family and friends. He enriched WUWT with his good judgement and humor.