Salon's art director dies after a long battle with cancer.
Bob Watts, center, with his wife, Lori, and daughter, Cady.
Our beloved art director, Bob Watts, passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. Bob joined Salon’s staff exactly nine years ago today, amazingly, quitting a job as a chef to work as an unpaid photo intern because he loved Salon. (He actually started his unpaid work before January ’99; he sat behind me when I arrived in October 1998 and eased my transition to this place of wonder and chaos with his calm and his smile.) Bob rose through our then well-staffed art department, impressing everyone with his creativity, his hard work, his warmth, his patience and his amazing drawing skills. In the lean, layoff years he endured the dismantling of the art department from seven people to two, and still worked hard to keep the site looking good, first with Jennifer Ormerod, and then Mignon Khargie, when she returned to us.
When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, he told me he wanted to work as much and as long as possible for his own peace of mind, and of course we agreed. Though he took time off for surgeries and other treatment, most of these years he’s worked with the energy and the creativity of a healthy man, and we’re so grateful to him. A highlight of that time was his daughter, Cady, saving her babysitting money to send Bob and his wife, Lori, to Hawaii in 2005, which was a much deserved and enjoyed vacation. He was a brave, gentle and fierce fighter throughout these hard years, an inspiration to all of us. I will always picture him reading in the shade by the water at Gary Kamiya’s ranch every year. We send our love and thoughts to Lori and Cady.
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Joan Walsh is the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."
Joan joined Salon in 1998 to become the first full-time news editor and became editor in chief in February 2005. At the end of 2010, she became editor at large, to
write full time. In the last couple of years she's had the privilege of debating conservative zealots on TV, from Bill O' Reilly to Dick Armey to Pat Buchanan.
As a columnist for San Francisco Magazine, she won Western Magazine Awards in 2004 and 2005 for writing about local politics. She's written for everyone from the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post to Vogue and the Nation.
Before she joined Salon, Joan spent many years as a freelancer. She also ran her own business, consulting to national foundations and nonprofits on education, community development and urban poverty issues. She's a crazy San Francisco Giants fan and co-wrote a book about the ballpark back in 2001.