Friday, September 15, 2017

Celebrating Julia's Treasured Ross

LUCY BURDETTE: Today we are sadly celebrating the life of Julia's husband, Ross Hugo-Vidal, who died this week--way too soon for his 59 years.

When Julia joined the blog, we did not realize that she was a two-for-one deal: We were also getting her husband, Ross. For a while, we all scratched our heads. Who was this curly-redheaded dynamo so full of energy and pizzazz? We learned soon enough that Ross was the king of social media with a wonderful motto: "All for one and one for all! Mwahhhh!" 



He built the Jungle Red Twitter account up from nothing when the rest of us simply didn't have the time. He showed up at conferences and pitched in with greatest enthusiasm. Who could ever forget his appearance on the Jungle Red game show "Family Feud?" (Rhys can say more on the topic, as he was on her team...) He celebrated every one of our releases as though they were Julia's. And we grew to admire him as a father and a husband and a teacher, too. His death is a great loss and our hearts go out to Julia, and their children, and relatives and friends.

Readers who didn't have the chance to meet Ross might enjoy this post he wrote in 2012 as part of our "men of Jungle Red" mini-series.

Godspeed Ross, we loved you and we'll miss you so!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, Ross! The funniest person on the planet. Or, maybe, since I think back on our times together, on any planet. Ross was hilarious, completely and totally hilarious, with the wackiest sense of humor--and what made it even funnier was that we knew know whether he was being funny or saying something seriously. At one Jungle Red panel, Family Feud, we were supposed to name a person in a mystery whose name began with J. 
Ross said "Jean Paul Belmondo."
We all roared with laughter--but he was baffled. 
"Why is that funny?" he asked.
Quirky and brilliant and unpredictable and full of love in every way. And adored Julia, beyond all description.
Yes, Godspeed. It makes me so sad even to type this. This photo says it all.




HALLIE EPHRON: An irrepressible force, Ross was ebullient and effervescent to Julia's calm warmth. Funny. Unpredictable. Enthusiastic, charming, and so much fun.

In the early days of Jungle Red he proclaimed himself our Cabana Boy and Tweeter-in-Chief. I can only imagine what a great teacher he was and a great dad. Watching him and Julia together we knew they had something very special.

He'll be much missed.

RHYS BOWEN: Oh yes, I miss the days of our Cabana Boy Ross. He was so enthusiastic about everything he did. Big smile on his face and boundless energy. I'll never forget his part in our Jungle Red panel games at Bouchercon, either bounding across the auditorium to give someone a prize or participating on the panel himself. When I was on his panel I had no idea what he'd say next! Never what one expected.

Question: what kind of evidence might be found at a crime scene?

Rhys is about to answer something thoughtful when Ross yells in triumph "Circumstantial!"

There are too few quirky, witty one-of-a-kind people in this world of conformity. Ross reminded me of those intrepid Englishmen who scaled mountains and crossed continents a century ago. My heart goes out to Julia and the children. Even to me, who only knew him slightly, it feels as if the sun has dimmed a little on our planet.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Oh, Ross. Such energy, and wit, and kindness. I would love to have known him as a litigator, but even more as a teacher. I could never think of him without smiling, and I miss the days when we never knew what he would tweet for Jungle Red next! Irrepressible is the word that comes to mind, and if anyone ever lived life fully, it would have been Ross. I, too, feel that a light has gone out. My heart is breaking for our lovely Julia and the kids. 

45 comments:

  1. I am chuckling through tears at the wonderful heartwarming stories; thank you for sharing them.
    Sympathy and prayers for Julia and her family . . . sometimes there simply are no words . . . .

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  2. Julia and her family have my deepest sympathy. It's hard to lose one of the main tent poles of your life. Ross sounds like he was an amazing man. I hope Julia can find a warm, supportive community here to help her as she rebuilds and figures out what happens in the next chapter of her life.

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    1. Gigi, Ross reminded me in many ways of Warren. So bright, so interested in things, and that larger-than-life personality. And of course the beard...

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    2. I wasn't going to say that, but I could see the resemblance too. And on one other point: Warren died when he was 59. That's much, much too young for any bright, creative, funny, wonderful person to leave us. Julia has all my sympathy, and if I can help her, all she needs to do is drop me a line. I'm keeping her in my thoughts and in my heart.

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  3. Ross was one of a kind. I only met him a few times at conferences, but I totally fell in love with his irrepressible spirit of life, love, and mischief. I've been deeply saddened for Julia and the kids since I heard the news yesterday, and I'll be heading to Maine tomorrow to pay my respects at his funeral.

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  4. I met Ross (briefly) at Bouchercon Cleveland in 2012 and I remember him from a Jungle Reds game show panel that year. Such a warm, inviting, funny man.

    My heart goes out to Julia and her family. =(

    Mary/Liz

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  5. From the comments and the photos over the years, it was easy to see that Ross & Julia were meant to be. My heart & prayers go out to Julia and her children.

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  6. Seems terribly unfair that you all got to meet him and I never did. But perhaps that makes your sadness that much more. But thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts about an amazing person!

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  7. Ross was one of a kind. I met him at Cleveland Bouchercon and we sat and chatted about everything under the sun including where my name came from. He will be missed. My prayers and good thoughts go out to Julia and her family.

    Dru Ann

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  8. Ross was a pal of mine, and I'm so glad to be able to say that. We live in nearby towns and it was always a pleasure to see him by happenstance or design. That irrepressible smile and wit will not be soon forgotten.

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  9. I never knew Ross, but from everything that has been said here, I am saddened at the loss of such a unique, lively individual. My thoughts and prayers go out to Julia and her family, and to everyone Ross's life touched.

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  10. The Family Feud panel was downright brilliant and hilarious. And unforgettable. And one of the best attended panel at any conference I've attended. I was helpless with laughter.

    I didn't get to meet Ross at that conference, but spent a fun hour or so in the bar with him and Julia at Malice a couple years ago. He insisted on buying me a drink, and also wanted to send me a book, but I had all of Julia's books then, so I asked him to send it to someone who could become a new fan, instead.

    The fun part, also very flattering, was that he recognized my name from the comments section. Turned out, he read every one as avidlys we all do. That impressed me as something not many author spouses would do. I know my own husband wouldn't. It blew me away. He was both interesting and interested, a killer combination.

    We should all strive to leave as big a hole as Ross has. May he rest in peace.

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  11. I met Ross only twice. Only twice, and yet I always had in the back of my mind for each mystry conference that I might be lucky enough to bump into him again. The first time we met Julia introduced me as the person who posted "such wonderful pictures at Jungle Red." Ross immediately dubbed me a "great photojournalist." The next time I saw him, we fell right into a conversation about pictures and how they can tell a story. He was a remarkable man. I walked away from a chat with him feeling happy with a smile on my face, knowing I had met a funny, warm, man. I think he always remembered a name and could always pull up exactly what it was you love best and mention it. All you had to do was be in the presence of Julia and Ross together for a sum total of 45 seconds before recognizing a bond that is rare. They took great joy in just being together, hands entwined. Being in their orbit was to be wrapped in that joy. Sending Julia and the family many wishes of love and know that you'll always be comforted by the very fact of Ross - who he was and what he brought to this world.

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  12. What sweet, kind words for a man who obviously deserved them and many more.

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  13. My heart aches for Julia and her family. The memories of Ross posted here are wonderful. I wish I had met this amazing man.

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  14. Ross bounded across the auditorium at Bouchercon 2014 to hand me my Jungle Red panel prize book. He was the picture of joy.

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  15. From what I have read, all of your lives were enriched for having known Ross -- he sounds like he was quite a guy with a gift for bringing laughter and fun into any situation. Prayers for Julia and her family ~

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  16. This is reminding me how he used to 'peg' people... I was the "Twinkie Queen" after I posted a blog entry on Twinkies going extinct (they didn't).

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  18. I never had the pleasure of meeting Ross, but he sounds like a unique and wonderful member of the Jungle Red family. My thoughts are with Julia and the kids as they navigate their heartbreak.

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  19. I only met Ross very briefly at the Long Beach Bouchercon, and this really makes me wish I'd gotten to talk to him longer. My prayers to Julia and the rest of his family.

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  20. Anyone who could photobomb the Reds with such spectacular enthusiasm was my kind of guy. I really wish I could have met Ross. Hearing about the connection he and Julia shared makes me grin and breaks my heart. My deepest sympathies go to Julia and their three children on their devastating loss.

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  21. I have missed Julia, and realized she must have been dealing with a big challenge -- but, this is a heartbreak. Prayers and love to Julia and the whole family.

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  22. Oh my god, this saddens me so much. :-( I'm so sorry, Julia, for you and your family. I met Ross a couple of times at conferences--yes, I remember Family Feud :-)--and he was so nice. As a newbie, his inclusivity heartened me. And his prowess at Twitter -- wow. He included us all (meaning guest posters too) in his enthusiastic tweeting. I loved that because there always seemed to be a fun conversation going on over in Twitter Land. I've missed it since he stopped posting ... Sending lots of love, and as he would say, MWAH!

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  23. I wish I had had the chance to meet Ross, but of course I wish more that Julia and others had had him for longer. Sounds like a wonderful man. I'm holding his family and friends in the light.

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    1. Jim, are you a Quaker, by chance?

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    2. Edith, I'm a recovering Catholic, married to a birthright Quaker, and attending meeting rather than mass.

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  24. I am devastated. Ross was such a life force. My wife met him maybe three times and when she heard the news said, "I can't imagine a world without him." That's saying a lot about who he was. My heart goes out to Julia, Victoria, Spencer and Ginger. I have no words that can help and I apologize for that. As Ross ended every single email he ever sent me, "Excelsior!"

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  25. I'm sitting here weeping as I read this. I can't say more than what's already been said. The world is a sadder place without Ross. My deepest condolences to Julia and their family. Knowing how devastated I feel having only met him a few times, I can't even fathom what they're going through.

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  26. One only had to be in the same room as this amazing man to know that you were in the presence of someone special, a positive force that embraced life and loved people. My Ross experience was at my first Bouchercon, Albany 2013. One of the panels I'd most been looking forward to, because of the Jungle Red authors I'd been reading like mad to get ready for the conference, was the Jungle Reds Game Show. Ross and "Youngest" were giving out the prizes, as well as making sure everything was as entertaining as it could be. I was lucky enough to win one of those prizes, a book by Julia, and even though I'd by that time was up to speed on reading them, I treasure it still. The amount of energy, enthusiasm, and humor with which Ross worked the room was something that I will never forget. You could see his energy spread into everyone there, including "Youngest." And, you could tell that here was a man that was loved and knew how to love well. It remains my favorite panel ever.

    Whenever Julia posted on Jungle Reds about Ross and their children, I knew it was going to be a treat. Getting to know them through these posts and the great adventure that their lives have been was a comfort, a reassurance that life is good and love is the goal. I can't begin to imagine how Julia and the children will fill that void of having this extraordinary person in their daily lives, but I think that Ross and Julia had something that never really dies, and that their children are the beautiful products of this, so they will embrace life again, because that's who Ross was and who they are.

    I don't often quote the Bible, but I think this part of Matthew perfectly sums up the life of Ross Hugo-Vidal. "Well done, good and faithful servant."

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    1. Kathy, that is a beautiful remembrance of Ross, and I know Julia would appreciate it. Ross was boundlessly joyful. What better thing can you say about anyone?

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  28. So very sorry. Sending much love to Julia and their family.

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  29. My condolences to Julia, and all who loved him.

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  30. Sending love from the Canadian prairies to Julia and the children and extended family. A time of great sadness made a tiny bit lighter, I hope, through memories of the wonderful human being Ross so clearly was.

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  31. My heart is with Julia and the family. I've always enjoyed reading what Ross had to say. It's clear that he touched many lives, not just those of his family. He left the world a better place.

    DebRo

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  32. I am sending all my thoughts and prayers to Julia and her family. I met Ross only once but he was such a delightful and encouraging man. He immediately made me feel like I'd known him for years. I'm so sorry to hear of his loss and hope that Julia and their children are comforted by the many who remember him so fondly.

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  33. I never had the pleasure of meeting Ross in person, but through his writings (combined with Julia's stories) I always held affection and amazement at his wonderful sense of wit, combined with his adoration of Julia and his family. He will certainly be missed by so very many. My thoughts go out to his family and loved ones, with thanks for enriching us all. The world is a better place because of people like Ross.

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  34. I am so sorry to learn this news. He clearly gave so much to those who knew and loved him - and that will endure in their lives. But such a loss. Courage, to Julia and the girls.

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  35. I'm devastated to hear this. (Been off social media for a while.) Ross was the sweetest man. His smile just lit up the room, and he gave the greatest hugs. My heart goes out to Julia and the kids. He was such a loving man, and he adored his family. There aren't nearly enough men like Ross, smart and funny and egalitarian and kind. I will keep Julia and the kids in my prayers.

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  36. Julia, I am so sorry to hear about Ross. No one who ever met him, even for a few minutes, could ever forget Ross. His infectious, mischievous smile, he generosity, his curiosity, his love, knew no bounds. He touched so many lives and left the world a much better place than he found it, which is a great gift. And of course he adored you and all his family. Warm hugs, Denise Hamilton

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