Friday, May 28, 2010

Farewell, Alexei

Sad news this morning from Anthony Burdge and Jessica Burke:
As we know everyone here at MythSoc was his friend and colleague, we want to let you know that we just found out Alexei Kondratiev passed away last night.

In Alexei, Jessie and I share a mutual friend, Carole L. Gonzalez, who was his close friend. Carole wrote to us via facebook this morning and told us the news. They suspect a heart attack, but we are not sure at the moment.

We just saw Alexei last on Thursday May 20th at our book release party. He came early and stayed through til the end, bought a book which we inscribed for him. We spoke of Mythcon 39, where he was papers coordinator as you know, and how the book came to be shortly thereafter--we had a wonderful time chatting with him (as always) & he stayed throughout the live podcast recording. When the hosts of the show asked us how the book came about, we spoke of Mythcon and acknowledged Alexei’s role within it, and when they asked us more of MythSoc we addressed Alexei for some insight. That recording is still being edited together, and when it posts we will dedicate it to him.

We’re all saddened by this loss, made even more accute, since he had talked about attending Mythcon this summer, speaking highly of Jason’s work coordinating & spoke about how he looked forward to seeing everyone this year. Since we won’t be able to join you this year, raise a glass for Alexei. He will be missed.
I didn’t know Alexei nearly as long as many in the Mythopoeic Society, where he was active for many years. In fact, I only met him in person at Mythcon 39 in Connecticut two years ago. My friend Gary and I were out late on the CCSU campus, when I caught sight of Alexei, wondering around, clearly and adorably lost. He guessed (correctly) that I was a Mythie, and came over to ask if I knew where the Mythcon dormitory was. And that was the first time we met. During the course of that conference, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on language and myth in fantasy literature, with Carl Hostetter, Sharan Newman, Arden Smith, and Alexei. Alexei had much of value to offer, particular in the area of Celtic philology. In that same sphere, Alexei came up to me after my own paper and offered some much appreciated correction to my pronunciation of medieval Scottish Gaelic and Old Irish (not my strong suit at all). He and I shared many common interests in philology and mythology, and we had a number of wonderful conversations, both in person in Connecticut and through email.

I will leave it to others to memorialize Alexei’s scholarship and service to the Mythopoeic Society, but suffice it to say that I feel very fortunate to have met him in person (if only once), and he will be deeply missed by many, myself not least. It is touching to know he had been looking forward to coming to Mythcon this year in Dallas, and we will find some special way to honor him there.

Roísam ih flaith ind rígsin, ataroillem, atarothrebam in saecula saeculorum. Amen. [“May we arrive at the Kingdom of that King (God), may we merit it, may we inhabit it in saecula saeculorum (forever). Amen.”]
— An Old Irish Homily

1 comment:

  1. Oh! Terrible news. I also first met him at the Mythcon in Connecticut, and found him a formiddable, eloquent, and pleasant conversationalist. What a loss.