Upon the Terrace

Dear Friends,

We are greatly saddened to advise you of the passing of our beloved “Buttons”, Donald Libey. Don was a wonderful friend and a great Sherlockian. We send our love and best wishes to Andrea.

We will notify our membership of the disposition of society business via this website in a few days. We ask that all provide their support and cooperation at this difficult time.

Condolences can be sent to Andrea via the comments section of this post.

36 Replies to “Upon the Terrace”

  1. Andrea, I am so very sorry. Don was a wise and wonderful human being, and he had a profound impact on my life. I am grateful for the blessing of his friendship. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

  2. Oh, no. These are sad and very unexpected news. He was such a nice person, always helpful and cheerful. He will be sorely missed. My heartfelt condolences to Andrea.

  3. This is sad and shocking news and I offer my heartfelt condolences to Don’s wife Andrea and to all of Don’s many friends. I never had the pleasure of meeting Don in person, but we had corresponded through the internet. He and I were fellow Wolfe Pack members, as well as Watsonians. His loss will be felt throughout the entire Sherlockian world. I hope that the work of the John H Watson Society will continue, as a fitting memorial to Don, our beloved ‘Buttons’.

  4. I’m sorry that I only knew him through a series of very pleasant e-mail exchanges, but I still feel the loss. My condolences to all who knew him better than I did, especially Andrea.

  5. What terrible and unexpected news – I ‘ll treasure the many emails we exchanged and consider him forever alive

    Like john watson and his friend sherlock holmes he is going to inhabit an everlasting world

  6. Dear Andrea
    there are no words for such a situation. I am completely astonished and sad. Don was a true friend, a kind person, a lovable man. All my sadness and all my simphaty.

  7. Dear Andrea,

    What a loss to you and all his family and many friends. I only knew Don through email exchanges, but recognized that he was a gentleman in the very best sense of the word. May you find peace of mind and heart in time of upset and grief.

    Ken Siarkiewicz

  8. Terrible news! Condolences and love to Andrea. I’ve also only known Don through JHWS emails but he was always a delight to correspond with. He will absolutely be missed.

  9. Dear Andrea,
    I am so very sorry to learn of Don’s passing. He was so kind to me over the past few years. Although we never met in person, we exchanged several warm emails and even a few pleasant phone calls. I will crack open a bottle of “Study in Scarlet” tonight and raise a glass to a Sherlockian of tremendous talent. He will be missed and remembered. My prayers are with you and my deepest sympathies.

  10. I am heart-broken. To Andrea, all Don’s friends, and to my fellow Watsonians my deepest sympathies.

  11. We never met in person but we did a great literary job together. Great loss for all the Holmesian community and for the art of writing in general.

    1. All my sympathies and condolences to Andrea and Don’s family and friends. It was great and immensely pleasant to get to know him. I will never forget his enlightened approach.

  12. What sad and disturbing news! I never met Don, but I received a very warm email from him. He seemed such a good natured fellow. He leaves behind a precious legacy in the form of our society and the Watsonian. We will bend every effort to ensure both survive and thrive. As it says on the BSJ’s title page, “Si monumentum qaeris, circumspice,” if you seek his monument look around. My deepest condolences to Andrea, his family and his friends.

  13. I extend my sympathy to Andrea and Don’s family, and also to his extended Sherlockian family. To me, he was a teacher, mentor, instigator (in the best sense of the word) and a dear friend. He meant so much to me; I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to spend a couple of years in delightful conversation with him. He will be sorely missed.

  14. I am so very sorry to hear this news. My heart goes out to his family and all those who treasured him. I knew him only through this Society and his emails – he was endlessly kind to me. He had a knack for encouraging and cheering folks on, helping us to appreciate our own efforts and talents. “Our Boy Buttons” – oh, how we shall miss you.

  15. If not for his friendship and encouragement, I never would have had the confidence to design books for the JHWS. In the very short time that we were friends and despite the fact that we only spoke through e-mail, he became a great positive presence in my life. Today, I’ve grown to understand Dr. Watson’s heartfelt and memorable words… truly, Don was one of the best and the wisest men we have ever known.

    Andrea, my deepest sympathies for your loss…

  16. I am very sorry for this news. Even I did not know Don personally but through the mail, I keep a fond memory as a kind and passionate friend. My condolences to his wife Andrea

  17. Condolences to Andrea and family.

    I will forever remember Don as a very nice sherlockian, willing to gather people from all countries to share the same passion.

    Beyond the Falls he will meet many good sherlockians. The game will still be afoot there.

  18. Perhaps the best measure of the man is in the comments above. How many friends did Don make….without meeting any of us face-to-face? How positively did Don influence our lives….in such a short time? How deep was the respect and affection that he earned…all through the power of his words? How powerful is his legacy….

  19. As Willow says above, our Buttons leaves a powerful legacy. I, too, only knew him through e-mail (and a single phone call), but I feel tremendously privileged to have known him at all.

    On the Sherlockian front, he was the sort of person I hope to be: friendly and welcoming and encouraging to all, no matter how they found their way here. He created a true Community for us.

    I’ve said before that while I sometimes wish I could be as clever as Holmes, I hope even more to have – and to be – a friend as good and true as Watson.

    Don was a Watson, no doubt about it.

  20. My heartfelt condolences to Andi. I had the honor of knowing Don in person. His no-nonsense approach to problems and straightforward, non-sugarcoated advice steered my business and I in the right direction on more than one occasion. The man saved my little company, one he had no vested interest in. For that I am eternally grateful. He would always make time for even the smallest of questions or problems, and every time he had a solution I never would’ve thought of. The World lost a truly great soul, thinker and brilliant businessman. Rest in Peace my friend.

  21. Thank you all for the warm and loving thoughts. I was speaking to Andi today and she mentioned how wonderful it was to read all of your comments. The comfort you have sent her is truly appreciated. My dad loved this society and I know it brought him great joy. Thank you again.
    Don’s daughter, Marin

    1. While tardy in my response, it is no less heartfelt. Knowing that so many cared about my dad, Don – or as you knew him, “Buttons” helps fill that void that opened without much warning. Thank you for your kindnesses and warm memories. The sting lessens with each of your fond remembrances.
      Please keep Andrea, “Asta” in your thoughts. She is a marvelous woman who gave my dad reason to smile. I am grateful for their time together and also for the time my sisters, my husband, and I were able to spend with her after Dad’s passing.
      Many thanks ~

  22. I was stunned to read of Don’s passing. What an insightful and dedicated leader he was for The Watsonian, a class act through and through. I regret that we were never able to carry out our plans to meet in Florida, but I cherish our many email conversations, the last of which were about collaborating on a monograph; I will always miss that opportunity to interact with him. We should all have a drink of The Famous Grouse in his memory. Linda and I will salute him at the annual meeting of the Christopher Morley club The Grillparzer Club of the Hoboken Free State, which he actively supported.

  23. To Andrea, Marin, and all of Don’s family and friends,
    Buttons’ death is a great sadness to me. I have been a member of the JHWS since its beginning, and what a ride it has been. Doing the weekly quizzes (he never failed to surprise and challenge) and yikes! two annual treasure hunts upped my somewhat beginning Sherlockian game to the highest it will most likely ever be. And, I credit his work in giving me one of the best friendships I have in Seattle, with Margie Deck “Gwen.”
    Then, Airy Maher “Carla” joined Margie and me for the 2nd hunt, so another lovely friendship.
    Buttons, you will always be with me in the present and where the game is afoot and is it always 1895.

  24. Dear, Dear Watsonian friends,
    thank you so much for all your warm and beautiful comments about our “Buttons”. He was an extraordinary man and he loved this society more than I could possibly tell you. The three days he was in the intensive care unit he always had me get out my notebook and take down my assignments regarding things going on with the Watson Society. I am going to do whatever I can, with a great deal of help from the membership, to assure a smooth transition and continuation of this most marvelous endeavor. If any of you travel down Florida way, please contact me. My love and thanks to you all.

  25. Andrea,
    My admiration for Don and my sorrow for his passing is beyond words. I will miss my friend Buttons.

  26. Bob Katz has just e-mailed me with the news (I confess to not often consulting the JHWS website) and the rug was pulled from under my feet! Like many of those leaving there thoughts here, my only contact with Don was of a literary nature. As Editor of “my” own society, The Poor Folk Upon the Moors, Don was both fulsome in his praise for our journal, “The Torr”, and in helping me at the difficult time when I assumed the position. So much so that, when he asked, I was both honoured and delighted to become “The Watsonian”‘s Assistant Editor as its proofreader.

    I, and I am sure many others, will miss Don’s intellect, his humanity, his dedication to the Society and the pleasure he gave us with his prestigious command of English.

    As you all, my condolences to his wife and family.

    However, I feel that I should not end on this sad note: as a true Englishman, I am reminded of “The King is dead, long live the King!” I am sure that Don would not wish us to dwell too long on that which is gone, but to concentrate on that which is to come. The John H Watson Society, this website and blog, and, for me, above all, “The Watsonian”, must and, I feel sure, will carry on. It is up to all of us to continue the work that Don, with others, started, however hard that may be. I, for one, am at the Society’s disposition.

  27. We’re in a similar situation to Stephan, checking the JHWS website only occasionally, so we’re most grateful to him for passing on the sad news. But what a shock!
    Don seemed suddenly to appear on the Holmes-Watson scene just a couple of years ago, an accomplished, scholar, organiser, encourager and all-round Good Egg. (A comparison with Athena springing fully armed from the head of Zeus wouldn’t be out of place.) We feel honoured to have known him, if only by correspondence.
    Three years after the death of George Gershwin, John O’Hara wrote: “George died on July 11, 1937, but I don’t have to believe that if I don’t want to.” There’s something important there. Gershwin’s music lives on, and so does the John H Watson Society. “The Watsonian” is already one of the half-dozen most important Holmesian/Watsonian journals in the world, and we see no reason why it shouldn’t maintain that standing.
    Thanks to Don, the motto he chose for the Society is entirely apt: “Insperata Floruit”!

  28. Don was so kind and helpful to me comparatively recently, and such fun on the screen even though we never met, that I can hardly take in the news of his passing and send condolences to his family with all my heart.

  29. I can only add my own condolences to Don’s family and friends. He was generous enough to make me a Director-at-Large of the Society and I worked with him on two occasions while never meeting him in the flesh. It was Don who asked me to research and write the monograph ‘Coin of the Canonical Realm’ for the Society – an offer that took me well beyond my habitual Sherlockian scholarship comfort zone! An excellent driving force and charming correspondent. I very much hope that the Society will continue to flourish, if for no other reason than as a huge nod in the direction of Don’s enthusiasm.

  30. This is sad news indeed, and I send my sincere condolences to Andrea and to Don’s family and friends. I exchanged emails with Don just last Christmas Day. Don and the JHWS rekindled my lifelong enthusiasm for all things Sherlockian, for which I am most grateful. I shall open one of my bottles of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and raise a glass to his memory.

  31. I’m not certain just whom to address this to. Don’s Moniker and name should be italicized on the “Dogs n the Night-Time” list.

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