“Celebrate Life,” Remembering Sergei

By Eric 'Renderking' Fisk - January 16th, 2009    Bookmark and Share

One of the hardest things to cope with when you're a writer is dealing with those moments when you're at a loss for words. These bouts with "Writers Block" come at some of the worst times - like when you have a dead-line or when something happens and people look to you to say something profound and comforting. Right now I'm suffering from the worst type of writers block. I had just learned that one of the founding members of IndyGear and Club Obi-Wan has passed: Walt Rybinski - "Sergei."

From The IndyGear Staff Page...

One of the few to have seen an actual screen-used David Morgan in person, Sergei's whip knowledge and skills are quite impressive, and quite an asset to IndyGear. Sergei is also a member of the Wild West Arts Club and the Australian Plaiters & Whipmakers Association. Always willing to share knowledge, and a cigar or two, he has taught the fine art of whip cracking at various IndyGear gatherings. Helping out behind the scenes, as well as in front of all the Gearheads, Sergei's efforts to this site are greatly appreciated. We would all like to join in with Sergei as he keeps "Celebratin' Life".

I know Walt was a big fan of this site and has a lot of friends that frequent this site as well. I was wondering if you could post something on the bulletin board.

Walt passed away last night here in San Diego. I don’t have any specifics on services yet, but folks can contact me and I will update them when I have more information. He was a huge fan of Indiana Jones, he was famous for his fedora’s and whips. He had a passion for detail which served him well all these years.

Thank you,

Dave Finlay

Dave Finlay, Customer Engineering & Program Management
Network Components Group
LSI Corporation

I never had the opportunity to speak with Walt in person or over the phone, but he and I exchanged messages, one of which dated back almost 6 years ago asking me if I'll make it to one of the Queen Mary summits sometime soon. I regret that I never made it in time.

Walt/Sergei gave me a piece of advice back in the Spring of 2004 when I was on a one man crusade against a bad hatter who had really done the community wrong. Sergei asked me if that's how I wanted to be remembered: As the guy who really hated and had a vendetta against another. He warned me not to make my ranting about that idiot over-shadow his misdeeds. Since then, there are times when I have been tempted to just go for someone's jugular vein and those words come back as if he just sent them to me via a private message that morning.

That's what good people do, they have a positive effect on you and remind you of your better self. It seems obvious at this moment, but in this era of sensationalism is easy to forget.

He was also one of the first people to wish me well on this venture, I'm sure in a humorous way to keep me out of his hair and stop being a hassle  to the other moderators on the same forum where some of us originated.

Recently another old friend whom I've also known for all these years, Kevin Fehlen "Henri Defense" spent the weekend after New Years at our house and we were talking about "The Good Old Days" when this hobby had reached one of its peaks. We were talking about all the people whom we've known that have come and gone, then of course we spoke about some of the members who have been permanent fixtures on the site, such as Sergei. I can't imagine what this community would have been like without his temperament as the moderator of his tables on COW. Reading the tributes posted here and seeing some of the tributes written by people whom haven't been seen or posted in a while brought something to the forefront that's been hiding in the back of my mind for a while now...

A Bold Suggestion...

In light of recent events - some personal for me alone and other trials that have effected the group, then the end of the holiday season, I've been thinking about some of the lyrics to the song that's sung on New Years...

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne ?

Around Christmas and New Years I had the intention to go through my address book and send e-mails or make phone calls to the people whom I haven't heard from in a while. Sergei was one of those people I wanted to send a message to and ask him a question or two about the "good old days" of retro-centricity and the hobby specifically. I'm kicking myself in an attempt at numbing the pangs of regret since I never did that. It's too late for that to him message, but not too late for others...

This on-line community and the cluster of forums is very unique and has done wonders beyond anything I could have hoped for on behalf of morale. People like Sergei made it perfectly normal to be a proud fedora aficionado, being yourself in your vintage threads. Thanks to him and other "old timers," I felt less self-conscious while wearing my favorite lids. For the past 10 years that I've been a part of this community, we've supported each other while giving us encouragement to "celebrate life," don't care too much what others think. Don't just emulate your on-screen heroes, be your own kind of hero. That kind of momentum I want to see continue and build.

This is the perfect opportunity and reminder to take a moment and make those calls and write those e-mails. If there is someone whom you haven't heard from in a while, then this is the time to take the leap and make contact again. Isn't there someone you need to thank, forgive or remind them of something that inspired you to be more? At this time we need to uplift each other and do for new comers what people like Sergei did for the veterans of this community did for us. Do so as a tribute to him and honor his memory.

Celebrate Life... 

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