Pat Murphy: I'm getting the word out about a very sad situation affecting one of our SF colleagues: Amelia Beamer (a managing editor at Locus) and her husband.
I don't know if you know Amelia. I don't know her well. But Farah Mendlesohn wrote to let me know about a tragic situation and asked me to get the word out.
Amelia's father-in-law, Arthur Jokela, was on a layover in London (enroute from Africa to Los Angeles) when he had a heart attack. He died in London. Farah (with help from Edward James and Gary Wolfe) organized the cremation and arranged to have the ashes transported home. The bill for the cremation etc was over $3000. There's no life insurance and the travel insurance doesn't cover this.
Arthur Jokela was working on environmental and civic outreach efforts in Malawi and Mozambique. From what I've been able to find out, it was really interesting work — using low-cost solar panels and car batteries to power lights and telecomm devices in rural African villages. The effort was designed to help mitigate poverty and stabilize rural areas, helping reverse the flow of villagers to crowded urban centers.
Interesting work, but as someone who has spent years working in nonprofits, I'd guess it wasn't well paid. To cover funeral expenses and travel costs incurred by projects in Africa and around the world, the family has set up a Memorial Fund. (See the letter from Amelia's family (below) for details on how to give to that fund.)
I know that Farah and Gary are pitching in to help with cremation expenses. I'll be making a donation, too. If 60 folks in science fiction each give $50, the cost of the cremation will covered. I don't know about you, but I'm always giving money to causes intended to help mitigate poverty, encourage green technology, and assist villagers in rural 3rd world nations. I figure this is an opportunity to help the family of someone who was doing that good work -- at the same time, help one of our own SF colleagues.
I wrote Amelia to make sure that it was OK to let people know about what had happened so that they could help if they wished. She wrote
back: "I'd be grateful if you would let people know. What I'm coming to realize is that my friends in science fiction are not merely people that I happen to know through Locus or Clarion or various conventions, but also people that I can truly call family."
Thanks for any contribution you care to make or just for sending good thoughts Amelia's way. Please forward this to others who may know Amelia and/or want to help.
LETTER FROM AMELIA'S FAMILY
It is with deep sadness that we inform you that Arthur Wayne Jokela has
passed away. He was traveling home from his work in Malawi and
Mozambique when he collapsed suddenly during a layover in London, and
died of a heart attack in St. Thomas's hospital on August 13, 2008. The
body is being cremated and brought home to Los Angeles by friends.
In lieu of flowers or cards, we will be accepting donations to the
Arthur Jokela Memorial Fund to cover funeral expenses and travel costs
incurred by his environmental and civic outreach projects in Africa and
around the world. There is a Paypal account set up to receive donations
of any size, with a web page at the link below. You don't need a Paypal
account; there is a link on the left side of the page to Continue with a
Memorial services will be announced within the next few months, most
likely to occur in early November to commemorate Arthur's birthday on
November 5th. You can keep in touch via the new email address:
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, or my email address:
Karen Jokela and family
1801 West Orange Grove
Pomona CA 91768