David A. Kyle, who chaired the 1956 Worldcon (NyCon II) and was fan Guest of Honor at the 1983 Worldcon (ConStellation), died September 18 at 4:30 p.m. EDT “of complication from an endoscopy” reports his daughter Kerry.
Just yesterday Kyle had been shown on Facebook enjoying New York fandom’s “End of Summer” party.
Kerry Kyle wrote:
I know he was 97 and frail, but his spirit was strong, his heart was huge, and I’m still in shock. I’m still surprised. I expected him to last a few more years. I expected to be making him dinner tonight. And I’m bereft. And at the moment I don’t really want to type much.
I know many in the Fannish community loved Dad as well and are equally as bereft reading this. I hope it …makes you feel better to know that, as always, Dad chatted about science fiction with the EMT who brought him to the hospital and with the nurses who made him comfortable. He chatted about the love of his life–science fiction–genuinely interested in hearing what they read and watched. Always spreading the word and wishing to instill within them the flame he had within himself. And, yes, he made constant jokes and terrible puns that charmed everyone in the hospital….
Dave’s wife, Ruth, predeceased him in 2011. They met at a convention in 1955. The next year she served as Secretary of the Worldcon in New York, which Dave chaired, and the year after that they married, trufannishly honeymooning at the 1957 Worldcon in England, traveling there with 53 friends and in-laws on a specially chartered flight.
Dave and Ruth had two children, Arthur and Kerry.
Kyle was one of the most active fans from sf fandom’s earliest days. He attended the 1936 meeting of New York and Philly fans which decided to dub itself the first science fiction convention in advance of the Leeds event announced for 1937. He wrote the “Yellow Pamphlet” that helped inspire the “The Great Exclusion Act of 1939” but, unlike his fellow Futurians, was not kicked out of the First Worldcon. In later years he was made a Knight of The Order of Saint Fantony, won the Big Heart Award, and in 1988 received the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award.
Kyle also had a notable professional sf career. Dave Kyle and Martin Greenberg made history by co-founding Gnome Press in 1948. Together they published dozens of volumes of classic sf in hardcover for the first time. Gnome Press went under in 1962.
Kyle’s 1956 NyCon II is particularly remembered for producing the year’s Hugo Awards by affixing Oldsmobile rockets to a decorative wooden backing. The L-shaped base displayed the rocket standing upright while concealing its hollow underside.
A list of Kyle’s autobiographical fanhistory articles for Mimosa can be found here.