Molly Holzschlag passed away yesterday at age 60 in Tucson, Arizona. As I sit and type and get choked up, I cannot even begin to tell you about how someone I looked to and who helped me become who I am today, meant to me, especially after corresponding with Molly the last three years. Two, with me in Arizona.
I learned of Molly's passing through social media yesterday and for some reason, although we had talked and chatted since at least 2004, it has hit me harder than most passings I have been through.
We had always chatted about the Web, I had interviewed Molly for the podcast, and we chatted and were friends on Facebook where we exchanged messages.
I had always said to Molly, "When I can I want to come out to Arizona and meet you and just talk about the good old days of the Web." and in Molly fashion we went into a dive into the good and the bad of the Web.
Those were our conversations. Then I moved to Phoenix in 2021. I had got in touch and had tried unsuccessfully a few times to see Molly, but either she wasn't feeling well, it wasn't a good time for her, I respected the fact she was going through what she went through and we had cancelled a few times.
When we did exchange telephone numbers and speak on the phone, I could hear the pain and said, "It is okay. There will be another day." Well, there will not be another day and this makes me incredibly sad.
When we had our chat for the podcast, before and after we talked about the people that she blazed the trail with. Dave Shea, Eric Meyer, Jeffrey Zeldman, and the list goes on and on. The face-to-face showdowns with Bill Gates numerous times about Internet Explorer, calling her "the annoying web standards girl", the conferences and speaking, and owning the stage.
We discussed behind the scenes with Aaron Gustafson about reviving the Web Standards Project and wanted to do something(time permitting) starting near the end of the year or next year.
If you knew Molly and knew her well, I envy you. She was a bright light and a magnum opus all her own. If you did not know Molly, or are new to the game of the Web, familiarize yourself with what Molly was able to accomplish in her lifetime that would take others countless lifetimes. We would not be here if it was not for the tour de force Molly was.
Molly has been described as "a force of nature" and I have to say, nature doesn't have anything on what and who Molly was and forever will be. She leaves an indelible mark on the Web.
Molly was one of the first few I got the courage to converse with via comments on her site and although I never got to attend a conference she spoke at, I followed her with the fervor she had when she advocated for web standards. She taught me from far away as much as she taught me the last two years in the same state mere hours away.
The world is a little less brighter, the world has lost a force never seen before and maybe never will. Molly is looking from beyond and still telling us to get our shit together. She looked death in the face and laughed. She is finally with her Ray now.
Rest easy, dear Molly. Rest peacefully. ♥