Andre Norton, RIP
Andre Norton RIP 3/17/05
From Sue Stewart:
I regret to inform you that our “Lady” is gone. On March 17, 2005 at 2:23a.m., Andre departed on her final journey. She left peacefully in her sleep with myself, Ollie and Mark at her bedside. She will be missed terribly and mourned deeply. Her passing leaves a void that can never be filled, as we shall never see the likes of her again. Knowing her has made me a better person. Andre requested that, in lieu of flowers, please send donations to Saint Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis Tennessee or Veterinarian Services, c/o The Noah Fund, P.O. Box 10128, Murfreesboro Tn. 37129, in her memory.
Because of her love of animals, Andre herself contributed to the Noah Fund which is for people who can not afford medical treatment for their pets. After coming to live with us, and, as our feelings for one another grew, I began calling her “Meemaw”. This past week, she said to me, “I have won many awards in my life, I am a Grand Master, some call me the First Lady of Fantasy, and others call me The Grand Damme of Fantasy, but the title I am most proud of is “Meemaw”. Eventually, everyone followed suit and “Meemaw” it was. Finally, she had gained the family she had longed for most of her life.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Kathy Vinson L.P.N. and Jan Hoffmann who were instrumental in the day to day care of Meemaw. She developed a special closeness and friendship with them and, their feelings were mutual. Thanks to all of you for your phone calls, cards, flowers and gifts. Knowing everyone cared so much meant a great deal to her. Her modesty made it difficult for her to fully comprehend the magnitude of the feelings her fans and followers had for her. However, near the end she finally realized how much she was loved and admired by so many.
I never wanted to have to write this piece. I was, foolishly perhaps, hoping for a miracle. After all, in many ways, hope and miracles were what Andre Norton’s work was all about.
I literally grew up reading Andre’s work. BEAST MASTER was the second book of science fiction I ever read, in seventh grade, and it was the first one I actually picked out for myself. I spent most of my allowance on her books, I still have all of them, cherished and carefully tucked away and reread over and over again.
She was seminal for women in a way that “feminist” writers were not, because both boys and girls read her avidly. The young women in her books were people both sexes could relate to. They are absolutely some of the best books to give to a kid to begin a long and enjoyable voyage into sf and fantasy reading. I cannot begin to imagine how many of us writers, women in particular, were inspired to begin our own writing careers because of her.
Not long ago, she was seriously ill and we thought we would lose her then. She had come to believe that no one read her books anymore, that she was outdated and forgotten. The outpouring of love and appreciation that ensued at that time, I think, helped her fight her way back, and made her truly understand how much she meant to us all. It is one comfort that the last time I spoke to her, she was quite well aware that we considered her to be a national treasure, though modest as she was, she still wasn’t certain she deserved such accolades.
I was unbelievably privileged to work with her. I will miss her more than I can say.