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The community mourns the passing of Richard "Cyberlot" Thomas

Note: This article was originally published at Planet PHP on 14 December 2010.
Planet PHP

This post was lifted wholesale from Cal Evans's post from DevZone. I think he summed it up well and I had nothing to add.

Today, the PHP community mourns the passing of a friend. Three weeks ago, Richard Thomas, community member and friend to all who knew him passed away. I had planned on writing this post today and am ashamed that I put it off so long. Thanks to Jeff Moore's post and Paul M. Jones's post I was reminded of my duty to my friend.

I didn't know Richard as well as some. I hung out with him on IRC and we swapped work horror stories and coding tips whenever we met at conferences. I was privileged to see him just days before he passed when we were both at CodeWorks Portland. I got to talk to him for a bit at lunch and between sessions. Sadly for me, that conversations centered around topics so trivial that I don't even recall the details, just that fact that it was with Richard.

From Jeff's blog:

Richard is survived by his wife Lisa and four year old daughter Nicollette. Donations are being accepted to assist them. Even if you haven't had contact with Richard, consider making a donation if you've done freelance work, as Richard was doing at the time of his death. Donations can be sent to:

Niki Fund, 4818 Davis Place #G, Renton WA, 98055

While I never like to hijack a moment, Paul made an excellent point on his post that I'll repost here for all because it is sagely advice from a man I highly respect.

And now, a practical note: A lot of PHP folk out there are freelancers or independent consultants, or are in other kinds of unstable job situations. If you are one of these, and you have a family, *please* consider purchasing term life insurance to take care of your loved ones if you pass suddenly. Get it even if you are very young. It is not expensive. It's not the only thing you should do to prepare, but it's an important thing.

Richard died at his computer doing what he loved, programming. We will miss you Richard, the world is a little darker place without you.

Admittedly, I only knew Richard in passing. We'd met at a couple conferences and he was at CodeWorks last month. I wish I'd gotten to know him a little bit better.