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Joel Rosenberg – husband, father, mensch | Free Joel Rosenberg

Joel Rosenberg – husband, father, mensch

On Wednesday afternoon, June 1, 2011, Joel had a respiratory depression that caused a heart attack, anoxic brain damage and major organ failure. Despite the very best efforts of the paramedics and the team at Hennepin County Medical Center, Joel was pronounced brain dead at around 5:37pm Thursday June 2nd, In accordance with his wishes, he shared the gift of life through organ and tissue donation.

He is survived by his daughters, Judith Eleanor and Rachel Hannah, and his wife, Felicia Herman. Today, June 3rd would have been his 32nd wedding anniversary.


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  1. Moshe Glickman

    I am so sorry for your loss. You have my deepest and most heartfelt sympathy.

  2. My deepest sympathies for the loss in your family, and for all who respected him.

  3. Elliott C. Evans

    I read this news with great sadness. I am a fan of Mr. Rosenberg’s fiction writings, and I feel a great creative light has gone out in the world. My condolences to his family and friends.

  4. I’m very sorry for your loss. I started loving his books as a kid, and came to admire his bravery and principle as an adult. He leaves far too soon.

  5. Mad Rocket Scientist

    His wit & spirit will be sorely missed.

    Godspeed Mr. Rosenberg. My condolences to the family.

  6. Allison Kaese

    I wish to express my sympathies & condolences. I met Mr. Rosenberg at a convention on the East Coast a very long time ago.

    If you are interested, I’ve posted that memory on my LJ @

    I don’t know what else to say except *hugs* and I will be praying for you & yours to get through this sad period.

  7. Steve Florman

    All of us have lost a friend and advocate for freedom. Our nation is poorer for Joel’s loss.

    But most importantly, Felicia, Judy, and Rachel, my deepest sympathies. Our loss pales next to yours. May God comfort all of you.

  8. Joel Rosenberg died. | VolkStudio Blog - pingback on June 3, 2011 at 9:26 am
  9. So very sorry to hear this terrible news. Condolences to all the family and to Joel’s many friends.

  10. Jeremiah Bohn

    So saddened by this news. Joel was a good friend, a good man, and a tireless fighter for the things he believed in. We are all poorer for his passing, as is the world entire. I’m going to miss him terribly. May he find peace and rest.

    Felicia, Judy, Rachel- my deepest sympathies. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

  11. Joel was a great man who impacted so many people. I am one. He will be greatly missed. I know my sympathies are a poor substitute for your husband, father and friend, but know that a little bit of the flame has died. We will carry on the dream with sorrow in our hearts.

  12. Damm.

    My deepest sympathy.

  13. Felicia,

    I am so very sorry to hear of Joel’s passing.

    I first read “The Sleeping Dragon” in high school and it became one of my favorite novels and Joel was one of my favorite writers.

    I loved being able to interact with him through Slotovskys Laws and the few e-mails we exchanged. I always wanted to meet him at a SlotCon, but never was able to make the schedule work.

    I also knew him as a strong RKBA advocate and trainer. I can’t imagine how many lives he’s touched in that role as well. There are people today who are safer and more self sufficient due to Joel.

    My condelences to you, Judy, Rachel, and his friends.

    He will be mourned and missed.

    Rob Reed (Trebor on SlotvotskysLaws)

  14. Joel was a great advocate for gun rights in MN. I am sorry to learn of his passing and express my sympathies to his family and friends.

  15. Deepest sympathies to Joel’s family.

    Thanks to Joel for all he contributed. Author, thinker, fellow CON-goer, man who was willing and able to speak/write his mind.

  16. We will miss him. Our love and condolences to you & the whole family.

  17. Felicia, I’m so sorry for your loss. Though I was never able to meet Joel in person, I’m glad to have shared a few conversations with him here and there over the past year or so. My condolences to you and your daughters. We’re all diminished by his loss. Please take care.


  18. I’m so sorry to hear this. You all have my and my families condolences.

  19. Joel Rosenberg, RIP « Hot Air - pingback on June 3, 2011 at 11:39 am
  20. I’ve loved Joel’s writing since I discovered him through the Guardians of the Flame series. Then I started reading his blogs and articles periodically and…I was just contemplating in the last couple of days writing and asking him if he had any plans to write another Paladins novel and self publish maybe. I’ll never get to.

    My condolences to you Lady Felicia, and your children.

  21. I’m so sorry to hear this news. Joel left enormous footprints.

  22. Alexandra Honigsberg

    My heart is extended to you all, Felicia, Judith, and Rachel, and especially to Felicia. I remember Joel and you both, fondly (how you used to call me and David “cute” when we’d just entered the biz), and am sad that Joel is no longer with us and that you, Felicia, are part of the sad club, as Jane Yolen calls it.

    Grieve well…remember well…may his memory be for a blessing. And be kidn to yourself. It doesn’t get better. It gets different. But it gets.


  23. A mighty oak has fallen and the forest is poorer for it.
    My deepest sympathies.

  24. Christopher Canary

    I met Joel in 2001, at InConJunction in Indianapolis. I had been reading his Guardians series since 1990, when a friend had told me I MUST read it. He was so very nice at the convention, as we acknowledged each other in passing several times over the weekend with a quick smile and nod to each other (He while rushing to panels, and I while rushing anywhere).

    My sincerest condolences to Felicia, Judith, and Rachel.

  25. You have my condolences. Joel’s writings on our second amendment civil rights, and our rights in general, have been a great influence on my own views, and while he has moved on, that part will stay.

    Joel’s writing is immortal, and we great multitudes are grateful to have shared that part of him with you.

  26. Very sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. He will be missed. :(

  27. Baruch dayan emet. May his memory be a blessing.

  28. Larry Anderson

    Felicia, et al,

    I am so sorry to hear of this. I met Joel long ago and far away through our mutual friend, the late Darrell Mulroy. I’ve been in classes with him both as a student and instructor, and will sorely miss his sense of humor and razor sharp wit.

    Larry Anderson
    Rochester, MN

  29. Obit watch: June 3, 2011. « Whipped Cream Difficulties - pingback on June 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm
  30. Christopher Mais

    I once wrote your husband lambasting him for kiling off his main protoganist Karl Cullinane in his book to which I was surprised when he replied to me and said he was sorry I felt that way when most authors would have ignored you. As the years past I realized that for him to have elicited that reaction for me it made me care about what he wrote on a deep level. I realize now today with his passing that he was Karl and you have..we all have have lost our Karl,a hero to his family and who changing the lives around him for the better while he was around.

  31. Damn. My condolences to Felicia, Judith, and Rachel.

  32. Joel Rosenberg, RIP | Lake Minnetonka Liberty - pingback on June 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm
  33. SayUncle » Rest in Peace - pingback on June 3, 2011 at 1:08 pm
  34. Julia Sullivan

    So sorry for your loss. May his memory be as a blessing to you and yours.

  35. This is sad news.

    Brilliant, irrepressible, funny, off-the-wall, honorable, brilliant, committed, freedom-loving, well-spoken, imaginative . . .

    Did I mention brilliant? . . . Guess I did . . .

    I connected with Joel tangentially at best, and if this news saddens me as much as it does, it must be devastating to his loved ones. But Joel lived more life than most of us will ever accomplish, and affected more people during that life than most of us could hope to affect.

    And he’s probably thinking, right now, “damn . . well, okay . . . what’s next? And, is my permit accepted here? Lemme see your statute.”

  36. Thank you Joel for your wonderful books. I’m sad to hear of his passing. My condolences and prayers to the family.

  37. Rest well from your labors my friend.

  38. Very, very sorry for your loss, Felicia, and for the loss to the world of such a unique, talented, and principled man.

  39. My deepest condolences. I only knew Joel through his writings, but he was clearly a man of conviction and principle.

  40. Baruch Dayan Emet. May you be comforted with the mourners of Zion & Jerusalem.

  41. 3 Boxes of BS » Blog Archive » Sad News – Joel Rosenberg - pingback on June 3, 2011 at 1:35 pm
  42. Kirk Coughlin

    May the light protect him and the powers of the heavens shine upon his path.

  43. Gary Roulston

    This is truly a sad day for his fans and a real tragedy for his family! My deepest sympathies

  44. So very sorry to hear this. My heart goes out to your family at this most difficult time. May his memory provide some comfort in the days ahead.

    Minnesota has lost an important voice–a rabbi–when it can ill afford to do so. I hope that those that remain will pick up his mantle and move his work forward.

  45. RIP Joel Rosenberg « - pingback on June 3, 2011 at 2:24 pm
  46. Joseph Delaney

    We have lost a good man and the world is poorer for it. :sad:

  47. I was so saddened and shocked by this. While we disagreed on guns I always respected his opinion and his books changed forever how I read and see characters. He was the first author to make me actually put a book down and say “What the HELL just happened” out loud.. for that I will be always grateful. I hope there is peace for your family and that your work is carried on with devotion and with as much passion as you gave it.

    You will be missed.

  48. Eric Pederson

    I am very saddened to learn of Joel’s passing. My deepest sympathies to Felicia and the girls.

  49. I’m so sorry for your loss. I wish I had the chance to meet Joel in person. I admired his conviction in fighting against injustices, all in the name of rights for everyone.

    My condolences to you and your family and to all who knew Joel.

  50. Oh no – how very sad.

    Joel was a wonderful person in so many ways. Author, family man, person of ideals with the courage to stand up for them –

    He will be greatly missed. :-(

  51. Robin Roberts

    Deeply saddened for your, and in a way our, loss.

  52. Anthony Garcia

    I am deeply saddened to hear of this. Joel was, and will continue to be, an inspiring figure. You have my deepest sympathies.

  53. Velma deSelby-Bowen

    I met Joel on the East Coast when I was a neo, and he was always cordial and kind to me. A true mensch.

  54. So sad for your family. Joel will be missed.

  55. Bruce W. Krafft

    Felicia I am so sorry to hear this. I will miss him terribly (though not, obviously, as much as you and the girls). We have all lost a great deal, father, husband, good friend, mentor, teacher, gadfly, shining example, lion-hearted activist, author, raconteur extraordinaire, and, indeed, mensch. Please let me know if there is *anything* Di and I can do to help.
    Big long-distance hugs.

  56. My condolences, I’ll always remember Joel for writing about the Metzada Mercenary Corps. They were a comfort to me in a world with too little SF/F featuring Jews.

  57. Felicia, I am so sorry for your loss. It was a privilege just to have gotten to know Joel a little bit. His work will live on forever in all of the people he helped and educated throughout the years. He will be truly missed.

  58. Felicia – Your family will be in our prayers. We’ll miss Joel!

  59. I can’t say much that others haven’t already, except that I wish I had known Joel better. He was a mensch, and we are all poorer for his death.

  60. Ochressandro Rettinger

    Nae, that’s crap! I’m sad to hear it. :( Who’ll be kicking the pigs in the gulliver now?

    Bad work. I hate to have to accept it. Bah. :(

  61. My most heartfelt condolences on your loss.

  62. We are so very sorry. He was a wonderful GoH at ICON many years ago, and I still remember the Minicon when he saw us toting our <1 year son. "The responsibility of parenthood? It goes on forever! Good for you to take up the torch!"
    His torch still burns bright.

  63. My best to the family, who will miss him most.

  64. Felicia, I am so sorry for your untimely loss. I hope your daughters are a comfort to you and you to them.

    I often quote Joel saying, “Never piss off a writer. Other people can only kill you, but I can make you immortal.”

    His writing will make him, if not immortal, much longer-lived than most of us.

  65. Joel – you were a good teacher, a good citizen, a good father and a good husband. I’m really shocked about this. We corresponded recently… to think you won’t be front and center at my next permit to carry class is disheartening, to say the least. I wish my words could fully express how I feel. My sincere and deepest condolences go to the family. I hope you’ll post funeral info publicly, but understand if you want to keep things private.

  66. I’m very, very sorry to hear this. He was a wonderful, sweet person. Felicia and family, you have my condolences and prayers.

  67. Felicia,
    Last night at around 9:30 pm a huge wind suddenly started and all of the lights in the area immediately around Doug’s, including his, went out. I was alone with the 5 cats. I said to them, “You know, kitties, this means something, but I don’t know what.” Then, the cats all seemed to be looking at something. I said to them, “Who do you see, kitties?” (Yes, I talk to cats ;) Perhaps Joel stopped by New Hope to say goodbye to a friend. I do believe that when a great Soul passes there is a response in Nature.
    I didn’t know him well, but I do think that he *is* a great Soul.

    Please let me know if I can help in any way.

    Happy trails, Joel.

    Jari (Doug’s friend)

  68. Just to be clear, since it is now after midnight, the lights went out on June 2 @ around 8:30-9:30 pm.

  69. My heartfelt condolences, and my humble prayers on behalf of all of the family; seldom does one man touch so many lives, inspire so many minds, encourage so many hearts.

    And just to look at all of the comments here gives a small, small idea of how much this good man meant – and still means – to so very many.
    May the Almighty give comfort to all of you, now and in the days to come.

  70. Joel Rosenberg is dead « Robert Mammone - pingback on June 4, 2011 at 7:06 am
  71. Felicia- I am so sorry for your deep loss. Joel was a “larger than life” guy who made such a difference for thousands of us in Minnesota. I think we all hurt deeply for you. God Bless you as you struggle through this time and please remember how many friends you have who are grateful for what you and Joel have done.

  72. Ross Schacher

    My sympathies to his family.

    Although I never met Mr Rosenberg, I spent many an enjoyable hour in the worlds he created. I always thought that the Guardians Of The Flame books were the best of their class and still re-read them. Rest In Peace, Joel Rosenberg.

  73. I will always remember Joel for how kind he was (along with Felicia) to my partner and I during a dark time in our lives. I’m sad for his death.

  74. We have lost a champion and a teacher very sad….

  75. the one in which I reveal my regret « Jamesdanielross's Blog - pingback on June 4, 2011 at 12:32 pm
  76. I’m very sorry to learn that Joel Rosenberg has passed away. He was very nice with his time in advising me how to become a full-time fiction writer. I will miss him, as will many other people.

    Alfred Kaye

  77. Kathy Kinsley

    I chatted with him back in the Usenet days. I liked what he had to say and read some of his fiction. I admired his work and have followed him since then. I’m very sorry to hear he has passed away. My condolences to his family and friends.

  78. My sincerest condolences for our loss of a great author and someone who was willing to stand up for himself and what he believed in.

    To his wife and daughters, I am deeply sorry. Our hearts reach out to you in this tough time.

  79. My deepest condolences to the surviving family. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.


  80. I am deeply saddened to hear about Joel’s death. I never met him, but read all of his books growing up.

  81. Susan Shwartz

    I am so very sorry. This was too soon and too sudden. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

    Susan Shwartz

  82. I wish to give you my deepest sympathies and condolences. I’m sure that his works will live on and continue to influence the generations of the future. In this respect, I can only give you Joel’s own words. “The Warrior Lives.”

  83. Jan Brandenburg

    I am deeply sorry for your loss.

    I never met him as a person but his books have given me many hours of joy and wonder.

    I wish you strength for the times ahead and happiness in remembering him.

  84. I am deeply sorry for your loss. You have my deepest sympathies and condolences.

  85. Kathy Grantham

    Felicia, my deepest condolences at this awful time. May the love of those around you help you through the days ahead.

  86. I’m so sorry to hear this; was looking for my favorite author on Twitter and found the blog. I have to share that Joel’s early novels (GoF) had a profound impact on my young mind growing up; such brilliant imaginative tales that are still so unique to this day.

    Much love to you and your family in this difficult time. -cs

  87. Stephen Dedman

    Sorry to hear this. I only met Joel once, but liked him instantly. The world is now that much poorer.

  88. A few years back, I was doing dialogs on my blog with people who had different views from mine.

    By far, the most nuanced, enlightening and extensive was the series of exchanges I had with Joel. He had the unusual combination of being passionate, informed and respectful of other people’s opinions.

    We also corresponded offline (I could never quite get him to write his pieces shorter!), and since I was in Colorado at the time, we didn’t get around to having a drink together. Now I’m sorry I missed the experience.

    My condolences to all who loved this guy with a big heart.

  89. Godspeed Joel and condolences to his family.

  90. Jerry & Katrina Boyajian

    Felicia, we are thinking of you and girls, and fervently wishing that we could be there to provide more tangible support.

    We have been remembering all the funny times — like Jerry turning down Joel’s offer of a shrimp at Sakura’s, saying, “No thanks, I had bugs for lunch,” and Joel about busting a gut with laughter.

    We send you all our love, and all our hopes that Life will bring you laughter once more.

  91. I’m devastated to hear this. My husband and I own all Joel’s books and have read them over and over. I met Joel online through a shared interest in Heinlein and had the privilege of hosting an AOL chat where he was the guest, then later beta reading one of his novels.

    I didn’t have much critique to offer, but I recall telling him that women don’t wear bras two sizes too small…

    I’m doubly sorry to read about the tribulations the family was undergoing before Joel’s death.

    You have my sincere sympathy. I’m so very sorry Joel’s no longer with us. He was a talented, inspiring man.

  92. Among recent voices, both fictional and political, Joel Rosenberg has always been a standout. From my first encounter with Ellegon, Walter, et al. at eleven to my recent following of his battle with second amendment rights, I could not conceive of a world without his singular wit and articulate prose contributing to its grandeur. Although I don’t know you, I share your loss. My deepest sympathies are with you.

  93. Joel Rosenberg was my friend. While each of us was a student at the University of Connecticut we played bridge in the Student Union. For music Joel played guitar and I played fiddle in the Student Union Lounge with friends. Together we played folk tunes and songs by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in the Student Union stairwells because the stairwells provided that big, fat ‘professional-sound-studio’ effect that musicians with thousand-dollar equipment would go nuts over. We played at least one ‘local’ paying-gig in which we each got $15. I remember the job Joel got as the night desk-clerk at a high-class local motel—so that he he could begin writing his first published science-fiction book “The Sleeping Dragon.” Joel let me read his rough draft—probably out of friendship or courtesy, because we both knew that I had no knowledge of science-fiction literature. Joel and Felicia invited my wife and me to their wedding soon after that. In 1976 Joel was a driver at YMCA Camp Hayo-Went-Ha on Torch Lake, Michigan. A few years after that, Joel and I mourned the loss of our friend Harry Leonard. Today I mourn Joel’s death. As long as I live beyond my present age (73) I will never forget this intelligent, kind, fun-loving boon friend.

    • Thanks for these memories, Bob. You guys made some good music, both as “Music Plus One” and “Patent Pending”. (Having a big car and no musical talent, I was the roadie, of course.) Joel had a lot to do with luring me to Minnesota back in the early 90s, and he hadn’t changed a great deal. I am now re-reading his novels, and seeing again how much he put himself into many of the characters.

  94. In about 1960, a first grade teacher in Canada had taught all her pupils to read except for one. The school year was drawing to a close, and this teacher had never had a student she couldn’t teach to read before leaving her class. But this one little boy read “was” for “saw” and “net” for “ten” and just wasn’t catching on through the usual sorts of reading instruction. The teacher had a name for his problem:dyslexia, but that didn’t help her teach this boy to read. The boy was very bright and learned quickly, but reading was so difficult for him that he struggled and got bored on even the easiest stories. Then one day the teacher handed the boy a brand new book with a picture of space men on the cover, told him it was a fascinating story, a left him there holding Robert Heinlein’s newest novel, Starship Troopers. Heinlein told such a magnetic story that the boy read every page in spite of the reversed words he often saw. And from that moment, because a stubborn, dedicated Canadian first grade teacher knew how to challenge a reluctant student, Joel Rosenberg, the future writer, was launched on a life-long delight in and entanglement with story telling. Joel told me this story a long time ago. It is, I think, my favorite among his stories.

  95. Felicia,
    I am sorry for your family’s loss. As a science fiction reader, I will cherish his books and mourn that no new books will be forthcoming. As a believer in the 2nd amendment, I appreciate his struggles to keep the fight for our rights in the foreground. As a transplant recipient, I truly appreciate his gift of life.

  96. Joel has been my friend all his adult life, since the early 1970′s when Joel and Harry Leonard hung out in the student lounge at UConn’s Hartford Branch, where I was on the faculty. In 1976, Joel and Bob Thurston crashed a bridge course I was taking and impressed us with their superior skills. So both my husband, Bob Thurston, and I knew Joel before we knew each other.
    Among the books on our dining room shelves are The Sleeping Dragon, signed by Joel in 1983 with both Bob and me listed in Joel’s acknowledgments and Ties of Blood and Silver, signed by Joel in 1984 and dedicated to Bob Thurston. The odd habits of the story’s reptilian schrift–”They awaken halfway through their sleeping period….the time is usually one of slow activity and temporarily lowered intelligence.” (84)–are based on Bob’s nighttime puttering. We also have a lesser-known Rosenberg work: The Electronic Money Machine: Profits from Your Home Computer, written by the Haven Group. I have enjoyed all of Joel’s books, but these are still my favorites.

    I remember Joel as a formidable bridge player, a wonderful guitarist and singer–especially on Gordon Lightfoot’s “Old Dan’s Records”, a delightful guest and host, full of good stories and erudition on a motley assortment of topics. He has been my wise and warm friend. Bob and I were lucky to know him. We will both miss him.

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