Phil Gustafson died January 13, 2012, at the age of 66 from natural causes. Phil was a diverse contributor to Wikipedia, contributing on subjects as diverse as poker, President Obama and banjos.
Aric Jay Ferrell (December 18, 1978 – February 1, 2012) was active on the English Wikipedia as Jinnai from January 2006 until shortly before his sudden death at the age of 33 of an unspecified illness. During that time, he contributed over 21,000 edits to anime and video game-related articles. In real life, Ferrell was a founding member of the now-inactive website Anime Radius, a graduate of Webster University, and was a fan of video games, anime, visual novels and role-playing games.
Howard E. Zimmerman (July 5, 1926 – February 12, 2012) was a Wikipedian since December 14, 2009 and had 747 edits. In personal life he was a professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1980 and the recipient of the 1985 American Institute of Chemists Pioneering Award.
Steven Rubenstein was one of Wikipedia's earliest pioneers, registering on 12 December 2001, and making over 30,000 edits between then and 1 March 2012. He passed away that month, aged 49.
A notable anthropologist, Steve was Reader in Latin American Anthropology at the University of Liverpool, and Director of Liverpool's Research Institute of Latin American Studies. He was a recognized expert on the Shuar people of Ecuador, the author of Alejandro Tsakimp: A Shuar Healer in the Margins of History (2002), and an ardent spokesperson for indigenous rights and women's rights. He was also a dedicated proponent of free knowledge, and became a prolific editor and administrator, contributing hundreds of edits to articles such as Jesus, Race, Culture, and Franz Boas, and making important contributions to developing the basic sourcing policies by which Wikipedia operates. Lucy Taylor, president of the Society for Latin American Studies, wrote when he died:
For me, he was a man of great warmth, kindness, passion and compassion, an idealist who believed in the power of education and the intellectual vocation to make a difference – for the better – in the world. ... The depth of his thinking and feeling made his comments, even on the vital yet bureaucratic matters of university life, not only profound but also profoundly political. Thinking about him now, I think it was his capacity to interweave these two elements – thought and emotion – which was for me the hallmark of his unique intellectual style.
Everyone who came to know Steve on Wikipedia will recognize that as an accurate description of him. He will be sorely missed by the Wikipedia community and by all who knew him.
Claude A. R. Kagan (October 7, 1924 – April 26, 2012) was an author and visionary pioneer of information technology. In a 1967 paper he wrote "it is vitally and crucially important that the computer and all of its dependent disciplines is within the grasp of everyone to use, understand and enjoy." More than three decades later, once the Internet and Wikipedia came into being, Claude A. R. Kagan provided the project with a valuable study into accessibility. When in his 80s, he suffered problems including age-related blindness.
Philip Chalmers was taken ill on 3 December 2009 and diagnosed as having a brain tumour – a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme. Following a debulking operation in Kings College Hospital, London, on 31 December 2009 (cutting out the inside of the tumour), Philip received radiotherapy and chemotherapy at Maidstone Hospital from mid-February to the end of March 2010, and courses of chemotherapy at times later. He passed away on June 4, 2012. He was a frequent editor of topics ranging from science fiction to zoology on Wikipedia, as well as other aspects of the site.
A computer programmer, computer-automated designer and IT consultant who lived in Vancouver, British Columbia, Francis started editing Wikipedia in 2007. He enjoyed working at the Reference Desk and mediating protracted disputes between editors. His insightful posts always reflected his intellect and sense of humour. He was a respected administrator and edit-filter manager. Away from the computer, he was an avid geocacher. Francis passed away after a nine-month battle with lung cancer on November 25, 2012. He was 51 years old.
Physician by education, Mikhail Revnivtsev worked for the last decade as a member of the Engels municipal administration. He was avidly interested in vexillology and heraldics and initiated the process of creation of Engels coat of arms and flag. These were also the main topics of his contribution to the Russian Wikipedia where he started editing in March 2006. Overall, he has made over 5000 edits and started 22 articles, mainly about flags or communities of the Saratov region. He died on December 23, 2012 at the age of 55.