[Texas fan Willie Siros died January 5 at the age of 69. He chaired two of the earliest sf conventions in Texas, Solarcon I and II (1975, 1976), the first three Armadillocons (1979-1981), and LoneStarCon, the 1985 NASFiC in Austin, TX. He was a Guest of Honor at the 1997 Worldcon, LoneStarCon 3.]
By Sara Felix: When I was in college I worked at a bookstore at the University of Texas while getting my degree. It was a great little used bookstore and the perfect college job. I fell in love with working in that type of environment and so after graduation when Willie offered me a job one day on the spot during a regular visit to Adventures and Crime and Space I jumped at the chance to work there.
I am not going to lie, Willie was hard to work for. He exasperated me quite a bit as our working styles were very different. But the bookstore was a magical place to me and it felt as though Willie knew something about every author, every story, and every cover artist in the place. Lots of regulars came in to get recommendations from him because of his vast knowledge of the genre he loved so much. We had well attended signings where I got to create ridiculous displays and food. He let me run with ideas I had and people enjoyed the experiences. He was there every single day and he loved sharing his knowledge with the people who came in.
Willie took me to my first Armadillocon in 1999. I mean talk about starstruck, I got to go to lunch with Neil Gaiman and get a drawing in my book from Wayne Barlowe…. It was quite an auspicious beginning to my con experience. Willie knew exactly what he was doing, luring me into fandom. Heh. I have rarely missed an Armadillocon since.
He talked me into working on my first Worldcon with him, Noreascon 4. And when the bookstore folded he had some influence in me getting my first “real job” where I met my husband.
Willie was a part of some of my favorite early fannish memories. As I got more involved in the community I realized how much he had been involved in before my time. He founded and chaired the first conventions in Texas. He was one of the creators of Armadillocon and chair for the first three and helped create the Fandom of Central Texas (FACT), our local fan group. He was the fan guest of honor at LonestarCon 3 and created Instacon (Texas equivalent of Smofcon) to help spread the knowledge of convention running. Many have called him one of the grandfathers of Texas fandom. He certainly earned that title.
Every Texas convention I have worked on he has been a part of too. Worldcons, World Fantasys and Armadillocon. When I put the call out to help with the gallery exhibit I created for ASFA Willie and Chuck (his brother) were the first to volunteer their time and help put the art up.
He was an integral part of Texas fandom and he will be missed.