[sticky post]Welcome and the purpose of this Community
Hello, everyone.

This community is dedicated to the memory of Jonathan Paul Albers, a longstanding member of the furry community, known to most as "PandaGuy". He passed away suddenly on September 30, 2012, due to congestive heart and lung failure.

I remember him saying that when he did pass on, he'd be able to count the number of people who noticed on one hand. I decided to set up this community to prove him wrong. I'm certain there are plenty of us who remember him and have fond memories and stories to tell. This will be a place where we can share those memories, as well as leave final thoughts and wishes.

The community is moderated, but there's only one rule - PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL, both to Jon and to each other.

The floor is open. And thank you.

I know things have quieted here, but...
I wanted to share something that I'd thought I'd shared before, but I actually see that I haven't.

Please enjoy this wonderful YouTube by TaviMunk lovingly drawing PandaGuy's fursona in memoriam.

little ferret memories
I'm unsure I can be sure when I first met Pandaguy. He was one of those fursuiters who was "always there" at Anthrocon, Ocean City DooDah parade, the Glen Echo Park "Panda Guy picnics" and other events that advocated creative fursuiting and teddy bear/plush sharing (the "good bears of the world").

He had the funniest stories of my first time fursuiting at a parade: the Ocean City DooDah parade with Rapid T Rabbit & friends in my brand new Fuzzle Ferret fursuit. I didn't quite understand the limited vision of the head, so I didn't just walk into the boat stopped in front of me, I *BONKED* straight into it! Right on cue for "pop goes the weasel" which I was humming on the kazoo and dancing way too enthusiastically! *HE* saw the stars and little birdies flying over my head and swears I was really wobbly for the rest of the parade, so he was never quite sure if I was hurt or not!

I admired his focus on plush advocacy and fursuiting. His legacy shall endure in his good works and performances as Bamboozle and his other characters.

thinking of pandas
Whiffert and I are watching a rather silly anime featuring a giant Panda who's enamored with any and all panda merchandise. He even bought a smart-phone as an excuse for buying the Panda shaped cover! It keeps reminding me of PandaGuy and his giant inflated Giant Panda for Good Bears of the World.

In English the series title is "Polar Bear Cafe"

Watch it and remember Panda goodness!

A loss to the Furry Community
Sad jaguar

  I have known Pandaguy since 2001. To me he is one of the furs who should be best known for organizing events.  The fandom was young and there was not always a lot of things to do.   PG organized his own events.  A local picnic which he hosted for years was a rather popular event up in Washington DC.  It was an event was well promoted and you could find videos about it afterwards.   His events were always open events which made them more appealing. You could also expect that a video would show some time later of the event which made them more enticing.  This is long before anyone else promoted their events with videos so he was a ground breaker in this.

  I never could make it up there for these but they inspired me to host my own events which managed to draw others to attend.  I thank him for that.  He hosted some events even at Disney which also were open to have lunch or dinner with the Disney characters.  A common interest in many of the fursuiting furs.  It made for a good social event. PG’s efforts did not go unnoticed.  We hosted on of the largest Ale house meets in his honor when he came down to visit.  Also at FWA we did a special balloon room for him.

  Pandaguy did perform on stage also with a skit every now and then.  He was part of a great gag aimed at me at MFF one year where he and others got to throw plushes at Jugular Jaguar.  I think he got a big kick out of that.

  The fandom lost a fursuiter, what is more they lost someone who contributed back to the fandom which is something the fandom really needs.

Will never forget you, PG
I've known Panda Guy since 2002. I don't remember the exact moment when we actually met, all I can recall is that it was Ocicat who introduced me to him at Midwest Furfest 2002 as he was taking me around to meet everybody. The first time I really got to spend time with him was during and after Anthrocon 2003. That was when we headed out to his place in Bethesda, Maryland. I got to sleep on the couch down there and was introduced to Hard Times Cafe chili that night as well.

Unfortunately, it wasn't long after that when his health problems took a turn for the worse. I sort of remember hearing about him having a problem while traveling home from Columbus and even getting to where he was diagnosed with Diabetus. That was the worst of his times as that was when he became increasingly weak and unable to do lots. Losing his strength and energy to get in suit. It tore into him emotionally. I can recall MFM 2007 (I think...) when I was coming out in Skaver Coon and I just happen to catch him heading back to his room. He was not himself. He really didn't seem too interested in interacting, but did it anyway for the sake of doing it. I could tell those were the worst of times.

But it wasn't long after that when we all got together and got him back on his feet and wanting to do stuff at cons. It really took off for him at MFM where he got the Guest of Honor nomination and was allowed to pretty much run wild with inflating balloons and such. Grouped together with all his friends like myself, Ocicat, Timber, Seaweed, Antimon, and so forth... he was reenergized with his time in the fandom. Sadly, there was nothing we could do about his strength and energy to suit a ton and that took a toll on his emotions, but he always found a way to pick himself up and get back into the swing of things. With balloons, that helped him a ton. Being able to pass out balloons to other suiters, whether he was or wasn't in suit, brought alot of happiness in him.

I was glad to be a part of all of this, granted there were times I probably could have done a bit more. This made him very happy and he wanted others to be happy. He would even gift things to us, including a pair of high quality puppets that he gave me one MFM. Between cons, we usually got together on Skype with our group chats. Sometimes most of us were gaming (whether it was WoW or something else), sometimes it was just to sit around and watch TV. He was willing to meet all kinds of new furs. Some furs I know today, I can credit him for getting me together with. I was able to make one of his Disney trips as well back in 2010. That is one of the best trips I've ever been, even though I don't really think of Disney as a top draw with me. Spending a week there with a group of friends made the whole trip worth it.

Sadly, the last time I saw him alive was MFF 2011. If I would have known that would have been the last time, I would have spent more time with him. That con was hectic enough for me, leaving me running ragged trying to accomplish everything I wanted to. I think the last time I saw him was when I was coming back from Closing Ceremonies and he was down there in his Amiri suit with his balloons and trying to pass out the remaining ballons. Really, it got to the point where you know he was at the con when half of the suiters there had balloons tied to them. There was a couple opportunites to see him in 2012, but sadly things didn't work out to where I could see him.

I have lots of fond memories with him. I think one of the biggest things he did for me was at 2011. He knew I had an interest in inflatables and inflatable suits being more and more exposed each day. He went out and got those inflatable bear suits seen at MFM 2011. He didn't tell me about it until I got to the con, but kept hinting to me on Skype that he was bringing something he knew I would like. That Thursday evening, in his room, he started to pull it out a bit at a time and I immediately recoginzed it. Of course, I told him I had to be the first to wear one and sure enough I was on Sunday night. The 10 minute video you find of the Polar Bear wandering through the lobby was me. I couldn't thank PG enough for that opportunity to wear one of those suits. He really did make alot of my cons better. (Said video is HERE)

I felt I had to be there for his funeral on Monday and it was a wonderful funeral. Of course, lots of tears were shed as we knew this was the last time I saw him. I cried for three days straight from his death. Being around others helped me keep strong enough to keep from doing so, but I was on the brink of it. It was also an honor to serve as one of the pall bearers and help him to his final resting spot. It was tough to pull away and know that that was the last time we were seeing him. I know that if I ever end up anywhere near that area, I will personally drive to see the gravesite. I don't need no GPS coordinates either, I'll remember where it's at. I'm sure he was happy to see us all together again, although in sorrow for losing him. I know there's a few that wish they could have been there and I know we would have loved to find some way to get everybody that wanted to come there. I hope PG knows that there are a ton of furs in sorrow and wishing that he never left us.

I can think of one thing that I know he'll be happy about. The day after he died, I got the job promotion I was pushing to get for a long time. Going from the shot blast area of my company to working at the plasma cutting table. I know he was highly critical of me for leaving my last job looking for another, but was unbelievably happy with me when I walked into his room at MFM 2011 and told him that I'm lined up to start a new job right after the con. I know we had a few rough spots with each other and there's been a couple things that he's criticized me for, but that's natural and I don't hold any hard feelings from them.

I wish I could have been there more for him, spent more time with him, been more helpful at times for him. I know we've spent many of cons together, shared many rooms, I was on his Disney trip once, been in his imfamous "Panda Cave" basement, drove him to many places whether it's just for dinner or he's coming to spend time with Ocicat and I, or wherever. I wish I could have gone on more Disney trips or have come down to visit him down in DC more. At the same time, I don't regret any of the time we've spent together or anything we have done together. He wanted me to be happy and have fun in life and he did more than enough. He has been an influence in my life and has effected me in how I handle myself in everyday life and in furry life. He will never be forgotten and I will always carry his spirit with me as I trudge on through life, hoping that he can watch down on me and be happy for how I'm handling my everyday life.

I will truly miss you, Jon. You've been a big part of my life and I will always cherish the memories we made together. I just wish your life on this earth didn't end so suddenly like this so we could spend more time together. My life will never be the same without you. I will never forget what we've done together and the things I've learned from you.

R.I.P. Jonathan "Panda Guy" Albers... Feb. 15, 1968 - Sept. 30, 2012

(no subject)
bb brotherhood
I am at a loss of words right now. I owe a lot to PG. To make a long story short, I was 1st introduced to PG at the Tribute to Teddy's Teddy bear show in Toledo Ohio by the chairperson of GBW Terry Stong. back in the mid 90's. PG told me of the fandom, told me about the fursuit mail list, yes it was that long ago, introduced me to Rapid T Rabbit and his cable tv show, SK-1, Protious and his classic old films, as well as Herbie Hamell, plus a lot of other furs that are to numerous to list by just being around him. I know I should say something profound here, sigh but I am not good at that :( I don't know I am not as close of a friend as many others are, yet his passing has hit me really hard. There hasn't been a day yet where something, weather it be a memory from long ago, a photo, or a video, or a comment left in a journal, where I haven't teared up and or started to cry SIGH

RIP Pandaguy
When I joined the fandom some 10 years ago, I sought out other fursuiters since that's where my love truly resided. I friended PG because he was not only a suiter but a fursuit maker. It was nice to have him as an Internet furry friend because we were also close in age. It was even more interesting that we both worked for the federal government. We followed each other on LJ for many years. At one con he posted that he was having a bad time and hoped that things would get better. Since it has always been a thing of mine that no furry should feel unloved or alone, I went to his room in my polar bear suit to cheer him up. He welcomed me into his room with open paws. We spent a nice time snuggling. I started to really feel like I was a giant plushie. It made him so happy to be hugged and embraced by a big floofy polar bear. His happiness was just so contagious. I also met up with him at FC this year. It was so nice to just talk with him about the fandom and how we all are a part of it. I always thought that there would be another con where we would meet to talk about what it means to be a greymuzzle in the fandom. I'll miss you. You were such a good soul. The fandom needed more like you. You represented what it truly meant to be furry. *big bear hugs*

(no subject)
Given how broadly our interests overlapped, I'm surprised - and now regretful - that I never actually crossed paths with Jon. By all accounts, he was a wonderful fellow, and as true a friend as one could have. Forty-four. That only half a life. I feel very sad that someone who loved living so much and was loved by so many was taken so early. I can only imagine how awful those closest to him must feel, if one like me who never knew him can't stop shedding tears over his loss...


Gone Too Soon
max depressed
I first met Pandaguy in 1998, in Akron Ohio, when he came there to attend Boo At The Zoo at the Akron Zoo. I still recall seeing him and SK-1 surrounded by kids giving out hugs and pictures. I knew at that moment I wanted to be a part of that, and set about creating Stargazer.

A couple of years later, at the Doo Dah Parade in Ocean City New Jersey. It was a dull, drizzly day. The parade had gone ahead, and the group I was with was lagging behind, mostly to hand out hugs and high fives. I wanted to make sure that they knew where to go since the rest of the parade was now out out sight, so I went further ahead. Quite a ways further ahead, as the group lagged quite a bit. Apparently they also realized how much they were lagging, and wondering where they were supposed to go. Pandaguy saw me way up ahead, in my Stargazer fursuit, and said, "Follow the blue glow!" It's one of the nicknames that suck with me--The Blue Glow.

Jon, you made more friends than you know. You will not be forgotten.


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