Hilde and I went to Barry Bard's funeral this morning.
Barry'd been a friend of ours, and of hundreds of other people, for thirty years. He was one of the most well-known, and well-liked, people in local Phoenix' sf and SCA fandoms. He was also well known and appreciated at other Southwestern conventions, particularly Comic-Con, where he was given the Inkblot Award earlier this year.
He could be a grump and a kvetch, but he could also be charming and generous. He was a raconteur who knew everyone, and had stories about most of them.
He was the source for providing most of the posters, cards and buttons on the freebie tables at local conventions. He presented the popular "Barry Bard's Movie Previews" at many conventions, screening trailers and promos for forthcoming films, with commentary that was sometimes as, umm, respectful as the films deserved.
And he was a bookseller. At conventions and SCA events, he'd unload a grey station wagon filled floor to ceiling and side to side with boxes of books, and set up his bookselling tables. And what books! "Eclectic" barely touches the variety of volumes he could display in a limited space. Fiction and non-fiction, books on history, art, crafts of all types, cooking, fashions and costumes, literature, the list went on and on. I probably shopped at Barry's tables close to a hundred times through the years, and I could count the number of times I went away empty-handed on the fingers of one hand. (And usually because of being flat dead broke at those particular times.) And sometimes he'd show up at a party or other social function and say, "Hey, I've got a book here I thought you'd be interested in," and he was usually right.
Barry never had children. (He was married once, but it broke up after a few years.) But I figure that over the years, he probably sold at least a couple of hundred thousand books to people, even though he never had a full-time bookstore or website. To have spread that much knowledge and enjoyment, to so many people, is still a pretty damn good legacy.