Wikipedia:Deceased Wikipedians/2008

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Mike Irwin (Mirwin)

Mike Irwin, better known as Mirwin on Wikipedia, was one of Wikipedia's earliest contributors and administrators, joining the site in 2002 and contributing until 2003. Mike also contributed to Meta-Wiki and Wikiversity until 2008. According to his userpage, he earned his B.S. in Engineering Physics from Oregon State University. By profession, he has been a system analyst, program manager and a control engineer, as well as the sole proprietor of Irwin Consulting. Mike passed away of a heart attack on February 26, 2008.[1]

Patrick Devlin (Padraig)

Patrick Devlin (Padraig) was a well-known and popular editor of Irish articles on Wikipedia. A 48-year-old father of three, with three grandchildren, originally from Strabane, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, he died on May 17, 2008, in a hospice in Hackney, London, England, after a six-year battle with cancer.[2] Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Jeffrey S. "Jeff" Medkeff, who blogged as the "Blue Collar Scientist," was an astronomer, science educator and writer known for discovering a number of asteroids, which he went on to name after skeptical activists including Phil Plait, Rebecca Watson, and P.Z. Myers. He died on August 3, 2008 at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital of hepatocellular carcinoma, after having "fallen ill" earlier that year.[3][4]

Pete Fenelon (Pete Fenelon)

Pete Fenelon (username Pete Fenelon) made his first edit on December 21, 2005, and contributed more than 1,500 edits to the English Wikipedia over the next three years. He mostly edited on the subject of auto racing, local geography and science fiction. A postgraduate of the University of York in Computer Science, his humorous writings on the nature of programming languages remain, particularly "PPL", the "Paranoid Programming Language", in which nothing is as it should appear to be.[5] According to a message left on the AtlasF1 Bulletin Board, he died in October 2008 at the age of forty.[6] A website and memorial fund have been set up in his memory.[7]

Clayton Olney (Cumulus Clouds)

Clayton Olney, username Cumulus Clouds, died on December 22, 2008.[8] Clayton was an enthusiast and an active editor on the English Wikipedia, where he contributed to numerous articles on American politics, sociology, boats, and high schools. He also submitted many of his personal images to Commons, including pictures of his high school, Eastlake High School. Clayton was an avid counter-vandal, and had amassed several thousand edits on the English Wikipedia and Commons.

Bill O'Ryan (Oryanw)

Bill O'Ryan (Oryanw) in 1988

William "Bill" O'Ryan died on February 12, 2008, of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, which had afflicted him for several years. He was born in New York on March 16, 1944, and spent his childhood in the United States, Turkey, and the Netherlands. This multilingual environment led him to proficiency in several languages, including Dutch and Turkish; the US Army trained him in Russian before sending him to Ethiopia, where he taught himself Tigrinya and Ge'ez. As well, while in Ethiopia he met and married his first wife Askalu. Later in life, he and his second wife Fereshteh Taremi taught Esperanto for the Esperanto Society at Arizona State University. An active participant in the Esperanto Wikipedia, Bill amassed over 4,000 edits, spending many hours translating articles into Esperanto and serving as an administrator. He is survived by his siblings Rick and Josephine, his sons Micky, Patrik and Denny, his daughters Zowdi and Jemila, and his grandchildren Joshua, JJ, Izzy, Claudia, Leo, Emmanuel, and Rafael. [9]

Oded Schramm, a notable professional mathematician who also contributed to mathematical articles on Wikipedia as OdedSchramm, died of a fall while climbing Guye Peak on September 1, 2008, aged 46. Schramm was born in Jerusalem in December 1961, educated at Princeton University, and worked at the University of California, San Diego and the Weizmann Institute before moving to Microsoft Research in Seattle in 1999. He was well known in mathematics circles and won numerous international prizes for his work in conformal geometry and probability, and particularly for the stochastic Loewner evolution. On Wikipedia, he made major contributions to articles including coupling from the past, quasiconformal mapping, and Dilworth's theorem. He is survived by his wife Avivit and two children Tslil and Pele.[10]

Stéphane Tendon (Stéphane Tendon)

Stéphane Tendon, a historian from Gland in Switzerland who edited on the French Wikipedia from January 2006, died on March 25, 2008.[11] Born in 1970 in Geneva, he received his BA in History from the University of Geneva in October 1996, and completed his doctorate at the University of Basel. He contributed to a number of articles related to history, political theory and Swiss geography, and ran the website, an open wiki concerning Swiss national identity.

Jeff Woloson (Jeffpw)

Jeff Woloson (right) and his husband Issac

Jeff Woloson was a nurse by profession (specializing in home health care and hospice care) and a dual citizen of the United States and the Netherlands. He lived in Amsterdam but traveled extensively. He was a highly active member of the LGBT Wikiproject and a primary contributor to the articles on James Robert Baker (a featured article) and Gay icon. He died on August 6, 2008,[12] just 6 weeks after the death of his husband, Isaac, whom he loved dearly.


  1. ^ "Wikiversity-l - Mike Irwin has Passed away". February 29, 2008. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  2. ^ "The death has occurred of Patrick DEVLIN of London and formerly of Strabane, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland". Retrieved 2012-07-06.
  3. ^ Jeff Medkeff (Blue Collar Scientist) has died
  4. ^ BCS Update - and it isn’t especially good news
  5. ^ "Beyond Ada: The First Paranoid Programming Language". Retrieved 2011-01-10.
  6. ^ "Atlas F1 Bulletin Board: Nostalgia Forum > Pete Fenelon". 2008-10-18. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
  7. ^ "Pete Fenelon Memorial". Pete Fenelon Memorial. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
  8. ^ Clayton Taylor Olney: The Issaquah Press. Accessed January 22, 2009.
  9. ^ Esperanto administrator dies, March 3, 2008, by Ral315. Accessed March 8, 2008.
  10. ^ Wikipedia SignPost article, Sept. 8, 2008, accessed Sept. 14, 2008.
  11. ^ Stéphane Tendon – biography from the department site at the University of Geneva.
  12. ^ Obituary in The San Diego Union-Tribune "Jeffrey P. Woloson", August 15, 2008, accessed March 11, 2009.