Lester Simons 1950-1997
It is with great sadness that we announce the death, in the early hours of October 11th, after a period of illness, of Lester Evan Simons, aged 46 years. He had been a member of the Tolkien Society from its early days and, previously, a member of the Hobbit Society of University College, London, from which the Tolkien Society drew a number of its leading members at that time. At the time of his death, Lester was the Society's webmaster, in charge of its operations on the Internet, and he had set up and run the Society's web site almost single-handedly.
Lester was an expert on many areas of software and related issues, but this was only one of his many and varied interests, both in the Tolkien Society and outside it. From 1976 he served for ten years on the committee as Membership Secretary, and in that capacity took a special interest in introducing new members and helping them "find their feet"; likewise, he took on the task, in later years, of looking after first-time attendees at Oxonmoot, the Society's annual gathering in Oxford. Those who knew him will remember his other talents; his superb calligraphy and his imaginative and sometimes ingenious costuming.
Lester was a regular presence at Tolkien Society events, and social gatherings of all kinds, and his loss is deeply mourned by his family and a large circle of friends.
The following memoir has been contributed by Denis Bridoux:
As Membership Secretary of the Society for more years I can recall, Lester will be remembered by many as their first contact into the Tolkien Society, his elegant spidery handwriting welcoming them within.
I leave it to others to find their own word of tribute to Lester. I personally remember him from my first Smial meeting, at Belladonna's in March 1976. He proudly showed me a black onyx ring which he had had just inscribed with his tengwar initials. For many years we had deep and involved conversations whenever we met and I valued his friendship. We would usually have at least one meal together at Oxonmoot. He showed me once how to notify a waiter that your teapot was empty in a Chinese restaurant (Chinese was one of his favourite foods) without even uttering a word, a most effective and discreet fashion.
I remember inviting him onto the 1992 Centenary Conference working party in 1986. His recent relinquishing of the Membership Secretaryship meant he now had more time available which he could use constructively for the good of the event and his contribution to the overall success of the Conference was significant.
He rang me a week ago. Kay Woollard, known to all as Dora Baggins, had drawn him a get well card on behalf of Amon Sul Smial and I had sent him one on my own behalf. He told me how, the very Monday after the Oxonmoot weekend, while reclining on his chaise longue, he had inadvertently switched on the television and happened upon the 50th edition of Blue Peter on BBC One, which was on The Hobbit, and how astounded and delighted (and undoubtedly proud) he had been when, at the end, the BBC had quoted not only the Tolkien Society's address, but its email address and the web site address, which he had developed himself.
To your memory, Lester, I say: Eglerio! May the blessings of Manwe and the light of Varda be upon you forever. Nai hiruvalye Valimar, nai elye hiruva. Namarie.
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