We have received word that our dear “Chips” passed away yesterday, January 16, in Denver, Colorado.
When Ron joined the Society in 2013, he wrote:
I am at present Transcriber of Dr Watson’s Neglected Patients. I have been a past Staff Surgeon, past Chief Surgeon and member since 1972. I am a member of: The Sherlock Holmes Society of India; a member of The Sydney Passengers, The Sherlock Homes Society of Australia; and co- founder of The Sons of Shaw, a society honoring the memory of John Bennett Shaw.
I have had an overwhelming interest in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson since seventh grade when I read “The Speckled Band” in my class’s Catholic Weekly Reader. I have always identified with Dr John Watson and now feel I am where I belong with The John H. Watson Society.
He contributed to the Society blog many, many times over the years, including his long-running irregular feature, “Tid Bits“. He always brought a spirit of joy and friendship to the world of Sherlockiana. In 2014, he shared some thoughts in an observation I will reprint here.
Recently, there have been exchanges online about who is a Sherlockian. We have always had a healthy exchange of different ideas. This discussion question has brought out responses that have caused hard feelings among some Sherlockians. This concerns me and I would like to share some thoughts I have about the Grand Game we play.
I was fortunate to meet and know John Bennett Shaw, who had the largest individual Sherlockian collection in the United States and was one of the kindest, most decent human beings I ever had the pleasure to know. In my too few visits by letter and in person, we discussed all things Sherlockian. The following points are concepts I took away from my conversations with John Bennett Shaw. I try to base my Sherlockian actions on these points:
1. If you have one of a Sherlockian collectible, you gloat. If you have two, you share.
2. A Sherlockian is anyone who has read a Sherlock Holmes story (preferably a story from the Canon) and tries to find more.
3. A Sherlockian is someone who has watched a Sherlock Holmes movie, television program or play and who tries to find more.
4. A Sherlockian is one who has listened to a Sherlockian radio show, tape or cassette and tries to find more.
5. We should treat a Sherlockian’s opinion with respect even if that opinion is wrong or disagrees with yours.
6. The most important rule is: if you are having fun, do it; if you are not having fun,
I wish you all could have met John Bennett Shaw. He was a Sherlockian and human being of the finest kind.
These then are my thoughts: I am afraid we are losing some of the fun in and respect for each other’s point of view that John mentioned we should have. We each have our own favourite Sherlock Holmes and his world. I am a traditionalist. My Sherlock Holmes is that of the Canon and of the world of 1887. The actor who portrayed my quintessential Holmes is Peter Cushing in his portrayal of Holmes in the 1968 BBC television series.
I am sure there are others who will disagree with me. I look forward to discussing my beliefs with you whether you are Brett supporters or the new wave of Cumberbatch supporters from the BBC Series “Sherlock” which updates Holmes to modern times. All I ask is that you treat my beliefs with the same respect and courtesy I will treat yours.
Greetings to all my Sherlockian friends and those friends I have not yet met.
I never had the privilege of meeting Ron in person, but he was a wonderful correspondent. I hope that we will continue to honor his spirit in all we do.
Please share your reminiscences and condolences in the comments. A memorial will be included in the Spring issue of the Watsonian.