Wednesday, May 11, 2016

In Tribute and Loving Memory of Buddy Wolfhope

When you don't know the right words do you speak so the silence won't be given meaning, or do you hold your tongue and trust in the eloquence of others?? I'm working to learn to still mine so I'll stop here and say deep sympathy. - Angie Gray

A friend posted this yesterday, and it illustrated so perfectly how I felt at the time. It is never easy to accept the loss of a friend, especially in a community as close as the Realms.  My first reaction, upon hearing the news, was stunned disbelief. It seemed unfathomable to me that something like this could happen. But it did happen, and for the better part of a day now, I have struggled to fit the reality of Bud's passing into a focused thought.  But how do you sum up the essence of what a person was, to you or to your community, in just a few sentences or paragraphs?  How do you put years of memories into words? How do you express the depths of different emotions on a page? Whether through silence or through words, we each honor Bud's memory in our own way. 

Yesterday, silence was best for me, as I came to terms with how I felt. But now, I feel that words are in order; I cannot let this moment pass without marking the kind of person Bud was, and how much he is already missed. Many of his friends have been posting memories and tributes,  and much more eloquently than I. Many of these have been included below.  For myself, the only thing I can do is try to speak from the heart. 

Quite simply, Bud was a pillar in our community. He was one of those players that would add to the experience of others just by being at an event. PC or NPC - it never mattered. Bud would always go that extra mile to ensure that others were having fun. He was constantly giving back to the game - his time, his energy, and himself-  and we were all enriched by knowing and being around him. His two main characters, Brighthammer and Arg, were legends unto themselves. Who doesn't have at least one fond memory of trying to converse with Arg, or of questing with Brighthammer? Buddy was a Knight of the Eternal Flame,  a founding member of the Adventurers Guild, an active quester and immersive role-player, a formidable fighter, a stalwart friend, and an all-around great guy. His was one of the voices that carried above the field, urging people on. He was a person that others in the game looked up to, counted on, felt comfortable with, and developed deep and lasting friendships with. He was Bud.

Even when he drifted away from the game, there were still many among us who kept in touch, or kept him in our thoughts, or even just remembered him fondly from time to time. Even if you hadn't seen him in ages, you could usually pick up right where you left off. That was part of who Bud was. He was kind, he was goofy, he had a great sense of humor,  and he would go out of his way to be there for his friends, even when the costs were high.  He was that ear-to-ear grin that was always so familiar. He was that memorable facial expression that we all knew so well - one eyebrow raised high. He was huge bear hugs and genuine happiness at being around friends. He was Bud, Buddy, Budzor, and all that entailed; he was beloved by many, both in good times and in bad, and he will be truly and deeply missed, always.

Good-bye, old friend, off on your next adventure.  Your loss is keenly felt by those of us who were lucky enough to call you friend. 

KoEF Tournies, 2009. Photo by Melissa Fitzgerald

After learning of his passing, many of Bud's friends took to social media to share memories and stories of him and post tributes and other words. They are included here so that we might all remember Bud, and what he meant to our community, together.

There was a few years in the Realms where, at a few events every year, there would be an announcement in the reading of the rules that said: "There may come a point in this event where it becomes apparent that you will need to wrestle an NPC to the ground. As long as you're sure and are careful, go ahead. The NPC is okay with it." It didn't take long for us to realize that that NPC was almost always Buddy. Once I remember the announcement happening, and Buddy just cartoonishly looked down at his feet in a fake show of somber disappointment. He was always willing to go the extra mile, for our game and our community. Even when I saw him butting heads with people, it was always trying to contribute something great to our game and community, often at great sacrifice to himself. I hope everyone remembers those moments when they think of Bud.     - Ian Struckoff

Photo from Facebook

I remember the IC wedding of Brighthammer and Jade.Outside of the building all hell was breaking loose.My job (Zula’s) was to make sure nothing got in, but I was also the assurance to keep BH from leaving to go help. At one point I ran inside the building, barred the doors, and stacked benches in the way. I turned around to the wedding party and said “No problem.” At that point BH looked like he was about to protest, to then find out it was not the goings-on outside for my reason for barring the doors.  - Matt Daviault


This was drawn a very long time ago, freehand at a Realms event while the subject was outside doing tourneys or questing (I think it was the second Feast of Seven Tides, so circa 2003). The gentleman in the drawing was someone I considered an extremely good friend. We drifted apart over the years but I still thought of him from time to time. Even with whatever else went on, he was always willing to chat and say hi.

Bud Wolfhope has now passed on, and I will miss him always. He is gone far too soon and certainly before having had nearly enough fun. - Doug Fisher

No one broke a site quite like Bud. For those who are too new to have met Arg- it was the only word he said. Sometimes it was funny, sometimes annoying, but you took it for what it was. He could speak but very rarely ever did which showed amazing devotion to the character in times of verbal conflict during a quest. I remember once a quest was going all topsy-turvy and Arg had had enough. He said one full sentence that bellowed across the event site. Every player stopped and stared at Bud, both NPC and PC alike, because it was kinda like a Silent Bob moment except much louder, and it caught everyone by surprise.
- Arthur Granger


Arg @ N/S War 2006; photo by Robyn Nielsen

Buddy, you were around when my wife and I came to see your mom. You rode alllllll the way in the back of a mini-van so we could all go to the concert together. You invited me on to Team Samiches. We kept seeing each other in Joe’s backyard. Then things wandered, as they will, I ran into you at Black & White when you had figured out how to make a segmented pike. Then some time away, some other things, and you were back as your villain. It was good to see you again. Now you are gone this time for a bit longer. Merry meet, Merry part, Merry meet again.  - James Murphy 

Together, we were all invincible.
Now, suddenly, we are not.
You are missed.
- Wendy Vigneault 

UCCT 2008; photo by Melissa Fitzgerald

I've been quiet for years. It's takes the passing of an old friend to bring me out to the light. Buddy Wolfhope  was one of the nicest, selfless, and most humorous people I've had the privilege of knowing. My heart is filled with sorrow for his passing but also uplifted to know he was so well loved by many. Rip Budzor.
- Ray Roberts

Buddy Wolfhope and I knew each other in passing, we were friends, but not the kind that would move bodies for each other. We had some laughs, we ended up at some of the same parties and had a good time together. Ya know.

We went a few years without seeing each other, and then randomly stumbled across each other at a Post Apocalypse LARP called Endgame. He was playing Dr Slashblight, I was playing Sid the History professor turned reminder of the remnants of the human race. We started chatting about a situation he was dealing with, and I ended up advising him: "there's always a third option." The next day, he and I end up crossing dimensional borders or some such, and Sid gets stuck between a rock and a morality hard place. Slashblight was there, holding up the rear, and he came running forward yelling "Sid! The third option!" We came to a better solution, and saved the day.

That was the good thing about Buddy, he could see the strengths and assests in people, and remind them that they were supposed to be better than they were being. He was a good egg, our world is reduced, but you know him. He's going to be there, holding the door for us, and he'll know the best place in town for a burger.
- Alex Newbold

Photo from Facebook

This is one of my favorite pictures of an old friend. It was taken nine years and 4 days ago at my wedding.
This morning, I received the call from his mother that the worst of the worst happened.
Before today, I had hoped that soon we would sit over coffee, and come to terms with the last year of our lives. I had hoped my friend, our Bud-zor would sit with me and laugh about all the crazy shit we did and were going to do.
And now... that's not going to happen and I am heart broken.
The last couple of years were hard.
But, the decade and a half before that was amazing, full of love and full of friendship.
That is the Buddy I will always carry with me. - Beth Tozier

Bethany Tozier's photo.


So I ran along side Bright hammer a lot during my earlier years in realms, if I wasn't repairing Shandar it was most likely him. Buddy was always a smiling face to keep you going and a rallying voice to move a group.

However, one of my fondest memories was a Camp Allen event when it had snowed, BH ran around with a metal shield and there was a good amount of down time when I was hanging around and got the idea to go sledding down the driveway. I looked at BH and asked if I could use his shield to do so and without question he handed it over. For a young person in the game he was always someone who could be counted on, and as an adventurer in the game on more than one occasion I saw him go into dangerous situations to get someone who was left behind.

He will be missed greatly by this community. I'm sorry to see him move on but it is laugh which will remind me of him, and his voice telling groups to push forward that will still drive many at events for years to come.
- Josh Fitzgerald

Photo by Mike Amend

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