Diana, Lynn Maudlin and I went together to Glen GoodKnight’s funeral at Rose Hills Memorial Park on November 13. Around 50 people gathered in the impressive SkyRose chapel, a vast, airy gothic structure set high on a hill, the sanctuary window overlooking Los Angeles skyscrapers 15 miles away.
We were greeted by Bonnie Callahan, then joined other early arrivers in the narthex beneath a giant video screen to watch a slideshow of fine photos of Glen with Ken Lauw, at events with other friends and family, and posing at tourist spots in Oxford, Paris and Berlin.
When the memorial began, people shared the profound impact Glen had on their lives.
One of Glen’s former teaching colleagues told about her pleasure exchanging ideas with him about things to try in the classroom, and her admiration for his work on teachers’ union issues.
Doris Robin, a founding Mythopeoic Society member, spoke about Glen’s leadership. Sherwood Smith spoke about meeting Glen and other Tolkien fans when she was a 16-year-old high school student, and how great it had been to discover people who took fantasy stories seriously and liked to discuss them for hours. Messages of condolence from other literary organizations were read.
Ken Lauw, Glen’s partner, spoke about their 22 years of friendship, their 2008 marriage and how devastating it was to lose his teacher, mentor, protector and friend.
Later in the day I saw that the online Los Angeles Times had published Glen’s obituary. Because of how these things work in fandom I never really gave a lot of thought to whether GoodKnight was his “real” name – but it was:
For a man preoccupied with all things Tolkien, his name appeared invented: Glen Howard GoodKnight II. But it was authentic, down to the unexpected capital “K” that stands sentry like a castle in Middle-earth….
He was born Oct. 1, 1941, the eldest of three children of Glen GoodKnight, who made his living doing odd jobs, and his wife, the former Mary Bray. His last name was an anglicized version of the German “Gutknecht,” according to his family. Society made in Glen’s memory will go toward helping deserving scholars to attend Mythopoeic Conferences.
Also, Lynn Maudlin has announced that the Council of Stewards of the Mythopoeic Society has decided to rename the “Starving Scholars Fund,” which helps selected academics afford to attend Mythcons, the “Glen GoodKnight Scholarship Fund.” This will memorialize Glen’s focus on scholarship and his encouragement of new scholars.
Update 2010/11/14: Corrected spelling of Doris Robin, per comment.