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.
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...
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*