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.