Tom Clancy - April 12, 1947 - Oct 1, 2013. During middle school and high school my favorite author was Tom Clancy. I first read Red Storm Rising and then discovered the Jack Ryan series. I read them in chronological order, and then re-read them…and then again…and then again. As he grew older, he began to publish less frequently, but I looked forward to each one. By the mid-2000s I had resigned myself to his 'retirement' as he had mostly stopped writing. During many of the Jack Ryan books, Clancy used George Mason University, in Fairfax Virginia as a prop/reference in his books. I knew that Tom Clancy was active on newsgroups and had been for years, so using Google's newsgroup search, I found some posts from him and learned his email address was simply Tom@AOL.com. This didn't surprise me, because it was well known that Tom Clancy was a long time computer geek, having bought some of Apple's very first machines and being one of the first people to have Internet access. He was an early AOL customer. Why did I care about George Mason University? I was a student there. I wrote Tom asking him why he used GMU in his books - he told me that he lived not too far away, in Falls Church VA, and that he thought it was a good school. So why not? He went on to answer, at length, a few other questions I had for him and wished me luck. I wrote him back, thanking him. One of my favorite Clancy quotes: “Never ask what sort of computer a guy drives. If he’s a Mac user, he’ll tell you. If not, why embarrass him?” – Tom Clancy Rest in peace Tom.