I did not know the man. Never spoke to him. But I'm sitting here this morning absolutely crushed because of all the good memories his game/s brought me in my youth. I saw the ads in The Dragon for years but never could find RQ. I was so intrigued by the names, and descriptions of the products. Ballastor's Barracks. Snake Pipe Hollow. Scorpion Men & Broos..WTF are Broos??? Masters of Luck & Death. Cults of Prax. White Bear & Red Moon. Nomad Gods. Gateway Bestiary (Gateway?)
One day it showed up in the LGS, and uncontrollably I yelled out loud "YES". The other customers and shop workers were not as excited as I was unfortunately.
I remember bringing it home, opening it up and the first thing that struck me was a "What's in this box" page...I'd never seen such a thing. The next thing was the dice, It was the first time I had seen the smaller D6' with white pips and a solid color (black, red, green, etc). And I remember the light mustardy yellow D4 and D20, and especially the very pretty blue D8 (which got yellow crayon). I still remember the smell of the box and books, and that it was a very hot humid day in VA, and I can remember our air conditioner coming on while I was in my room and pumping out cool air which always had a much "fresher" smell to it.
The game had a very polished and modern look to it, compared to other things I owned- Arduin, older TSR products, Judges Guild. It seemed much more "Grown Up" and "Serious" than my MCM sets or AD&D books. I felt like I had graduated into an entirely new category of gaming. Seems silly now, but that's how I felt.
I was a bit taken back at the cartoony cover to Gringle's Pawnshop and the computer generated monster stats of FANGS. I skipped right past BRP, and dove straight into the rulebook. The two page intro to Glorantha and the maps completely captivated me, and then reading through the book- which was the most well written and easy to understand rulebook I'd ever seen*- seeing how Rurik's Saga played out. That was it. I was hooked, and I went out and bought or ordered as much as RQ materials as I could afford (and other Chaosium games as they showed up). Within the span of a few hours RQ became my Fantasy game of choice and would be until I quit TTRPGS around 1985.
As I recall, my original D&D group had mostly disbanded, and the majority of the group I was in by 1981 mostly preferred modern/war/espionage/PA games, but I had a long span where I only ran RQ and two of the other guys took up the GM mantle for the modern era games. We played out Gringles** and The Rainbow Mounds, a few homebrew adventures, parts of Borderlands, and then the last bit I remember was an excursion of the PCs ("undercover" Lunar Soldiers) into The Rubble and they all got wiped out by a group of Baboons with an allied spirit, IIRC.
* Still might be.
** I removed Quackjohn and Ducks immediately from my games- I knew I would never get anyone to play it otherwise.
I've known Steve a long time, he always kindly took time to chat with me at Dundracon, and we worked together on a couple of things. He was a brilliant designer and writer, and a great guy. He'll be sorely missed.