On November 12, 2020, we at the Straight Dope learned with sadness of the death of Nate Wooley, known on this board as Jonathan_Chance, a member since 1999 and a moderator since 2013. He was 53 years old.
Nate was a character even by Straight Dope standards. Gregarious, talkative, and opinionated, he had wide interests, one of which was throwing parties, including several in the early 2000s not billed as Dopefests but well attended by members of this board.
At the SDMB, Nate moderated the Great Debates and Politics & Elections forums, surely among the most thankless tasks on earth. A passionate political organizer for liberal causes not shy about expressing his views, he nonetheless strove mightily to ensure that all voices were heard, acknowledging in the best Straight Dope tradition that while it was never possible to make everybody happy, one might at least aspire to have them equally pissed off.
At different times of his life Nate was a journalist, a trade magazine editor, a newspaper and website publisher, and a stockbroker and financial advisor. According to his daughter Kate, who along with her sister Gwen were Nate’s chief life priority, he prided himself on helping people other financial advisors had no time for, such as moderate-income gays and black people. He was co-founder with John Breeden of gameindustry.com, the video “game industry’s independent voice,” and for a time blogged for Motley Fool. He published a free weekly newspaper in Marietta, Georgia, where he lived for some years; one Sunday, after making fun of a local church for conducting services in a brewery during renovations, he was condemned from the pulpit by a bishop. “He always said he didn’t like drama but he sure liked creating it,” Kate says.
An aficionado of fantasy and science fiction from his youth, Nate could expound for hours on his favorite Star Trek episodes. He was a connoisseur of comics and the graphic arts, collected original signed comic panels from artists he admired, and opened a comics store six months before he died.
For 15 years Nate was co-commissioner of a simulated baseball league, explained to us by his fellow commissioner Jeremy as fantasy fantasy baseball, with not just a fantasy league but computer-generated fantasy players. Quicker than the competition in grasping the importance of the international draft (don’t ask us), in his final season he contrived to win 143 of 162 games.
Nate was polyamorous, a fact made known to us by his lover Ileen, known on the SDMB as Lucretia. She and Nate met at a Straight Dope-centric party 20 years ago, stayed friends afterward, and became lovers following his divorce. As with so much else in his life Nate became a driving force in the poly community, among other things offering financial planning seminars at poly conferences, an audience one can easily imagine having need of such advice. Ileen reports seeing a parade of weeping women by his bedside in his final days. “He was my comet,” she told us. “He lit up my sky.”
Nate died of complications arising from cancer of the tonsils, an ailment caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). The cancer, initially diagnosed in 2016, went into remission with treatment but recurred this year. After two hemorrhages, his doctors determined that further treatment would be unavailing and sent him to hospice with some generous friends, where he died two weeks later. Though unable to speak during this time, he was gratified to read the many kind thoughts expressed on this board; share a few moments with his many visitors; and learn that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had become the president- and vice president-elect. He died a happy man, in the company of his family and friends.
A party will be held in Nate’s memory when conditions permit. In the meantime, we convey his wishes that everyone get vaccinated for HPV and that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the DemocratIc candidates for U.S. Senate from Georgia.
We offer our condolences to all who knew and loved Nate, and express our appreciation for his many contributions to the SDMB. He is one of the reasons this community has endured for 25 years; his place will not be easily filled.