An Eulogy for Furp
by Samuel ‘Uncle Kage’ Conway
©2009 Samuel Conway

Patrick ‘Furp’ Reed
9 November 1979–18 February 2009

   There are those of us who believe that in passing from this world, Patrick Reed has gone on to become a guardian angel. Such a role would suit him well, since it is a role that he has faithfully fulfilled for many years already.
   Friends knew him as “Furp”, a goofy and playful name for a man who was just as goofy and playful. Many of us knew him from the cartoon and fantasy conventions that he frequently attended. In fact, no matter where we gathered it seemed that our Furp would be there already, but whereas the rest of us were there to share artwork or listen to talks or to chase after autographs from our favorite celebrities, Furp was there for one thing alone: to be our guardian angel. The radio call that was used to alert others to a medical emergency was always the same: “We need Furp!” Someone would fall; Furp would be there. Someone would take ill; Furp would be there. We would need him and he would appear—calm, composed, quickly analyzing the scene and rendering the care that was needed. Helping others was his passion, his art. Dozens of us over the years have felt his gentle hand. He has held us when we were injured; sat up with us through the night when we were fevered; asked us where it hurt and assured us that we would be all right. He did all of this for no greater reward than the satisfaction of making someone else feel better, and for that he earned the admiration and affection of hundreds of convention-goers.
   Now, Fate has seen fit to take from us our earthly guardian angel. We may never again feel his healing touch nor gain strength from his reassuring voice, but we will take comfort in knowing that he is still with us, just as he has always been, watching over us now for all time. As the years pass there will be others who will respond when help is needed, but for those of us in charge the urgent call is not going to change. For us, it will always be “We need Furp!”
   When the news broke of Patrick’s passing, the community that he served with such dedication stood together in mourning, and many asked, “What can we do to honor him?” There was talk of ceremonies, of speeches, of special events, but all these things are fleeting moments. A man who dedicated his life to the service of others can be honored in much simpler yet far more enduring ways in which every one of us can participate for years to come. In Patrick’s memory, stop and help a motorist whose car has broken down. Carry a heavy package for someone who is not strong enough. Offer a word of solace to someone who is in pain. Take a first aid course. Learn CPR, and have the courage to use it should the need arise.
   Every grateful smile, every comforted heart, every life saved will stand as a lasting tribute to Patrick’s spirit.

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