Dear Friends and Loved Ones,
At a time that was otherwise filled with excitement, hope, and optimism, I and my family were stunned and saddened to learn of the sudden death of my father, Harry Woodworth, at the age of 87. I had last spoken to him by phone on Tuesday night, and he seemed his usual cheerful self, and we were planning to have him come visit us here in Southern California for the 4th of July.
I cannot begin to express at this time everything my dad meant to me. He was my best friend growing up, and even as I entered adulthood, we went to movies together, went on camping trips together, worked crossword puzzles and played Yahtzee and Scrabble together. It was largely him reading to me from the earliest age I can remember–everything from Dr. Seuss to Greek myths to Edgar Allan Poe and Robert W. Service–that helped me learn to read and made me want to write. His fascination with science and the great mysteries of the world fired my imagination, and he always encouraged my brother Chris and I to become who we wanted to be, even if that meant being something as impractical as a carnival concession stand owner or a freelance fiction writer.
The picture above is the last I ever took of him, when I went to celebrate his 87th birthday with him in May, and it shows him as I want to remember him: with boundless good humor and zestful enthusiasm for all and, always, a touch of endearing, boyish mischief. The world will be a less jolly place for his absence, so it is up to all of us who knew him to spread his infectious goodwill in his stead. I will always love and revere you, Dad!