We returned home from REH Days this afternoon to the sad news that Al Williamson has passed away. It's not often that your heroes exceed your highest expectations, but that was Al — a warm, sweet, generous man.
The first time we met him was at the San Diego Comic Con in 2000, when we were invited to join him for dinner. Our son, Rourke, was 9 years-old and had a million questions for his favorite artist. Al was so kind to our little boy, and talked to him all about art and comics and dinosaurs and robots. Rourke brought along one of his own sketchbooks, and Al looked all through it and was so encouraging and so genuinely interested in his drawings.
In 2003 we were invited to spend the day with Al and his wife, Cori, at their beautiful home in Pennsylvania. Al had an incredible art collection, and many fascinating stories about his life of artistic adventure. Before we left he stunned us by handing us a large stack of his original artwork and asking us to pick out our favorite page, which he then signed to us as a gift! What an amazing afternoon that was.
It's well known that Al Williamson was a world-class artist, but he was also a world-class human being. Our deepest condolences go out to the Williamson family.
John Fleskes has posted a comprehensive obituary on his blog.