About five years ago, I joined accessifyforum, after attending a Carson workshop on web accessibility. I think Jack Pickard was one of the first people I met on the forum, as he made a point of saying hello to new members. A couple of years later, I had the privilege of meeting him at @media 2006. He was a top bloke – friendly, extremely knowledgable about the web, always quick to help with answers to questions or step in to calm down arguments. Over time, I stopped visiting the forum, preferring to use twitter for quick questions about web development. @thepickards was one account I made sure of following, though, for banter about web standards, Newcastle United, beer and jokes. Only this time last week, Jack was telling me how to pronounce Uranus.
I was stunned to hear that Jack died last Saturday night. The comments on his last blog post, accessifyforum, and the reaction on twitter and facebook are a testament to the respect with which Jack was held online. As pixeldiva says, his loss is a tragedy for his wife, his children and family and the wider web accessiblity community.
I used to swap Monty Python jokes with Jack online, so I’m going to end with a clip from The Life of Brian. I think Jack would have agreed with the sentiment.