View Full Version : RIP Baron

September 3rd, 2015, 08:56 PM
It is with great sadness and deep sorrow that I bring this terrible news to our staff and members. Our beloved Captain and former owner Baron (Robert Staniford) is no longer with us. He tragically died of liver cancer a little over two months ago. His passing is a devastating loss for his family, friends, and those who had the privilege of knowing him on a personal and professional level. I considered it an honour to know him on both, and to call him a friend, and my heart breaks for his family at this time.

Rob was one of the first members that I struck up a friendship with, long before he entertained the thought of buying WF, and that friendship endured for many years. He invited me not only onto his staff when he first assumed ownership of WF, but also into his life as well. He shared many a private message with me about his world, his wife, and his children. He was a proud father, a loving husband, and a terrific writer, storyteller, and advisor. In essence, Rob was a gentleman who put the needs of others above his own; a spiritual man who accepted everyone regardless of who or what they were; and someone who inspired others in ways he didn't even know.

He will be sadly and dreadfully missed.

Farewell, Rob. I hope, wherever you are, you know how much you meant to us all.

It was a honour, Captain.

bazz cargo
September 3rd, 2015, 09:16 PM
Robert Staniford.

A man who made a massive difference in my life. He taught me more about myself and my capabilities than any amount of schooling. With one act of trust and a lot of guidance he put me on a new path through life's journey. I am now a new person. I cannot thank him enough for the change. I miss him deeply.

I suspect he will not be resting in peace, he will be hard at work making heaven a better place.

I thank the mysterious force behind the universe for the chance meeting.

The world is still lit by his presence. Farewell.

September 3rd, 2015, 09:32 PM
I didn't know the Baron well but I'm saddened by his passing. I wish his family and friends comfort.

September 3rd, 2015, 09:56 PM
Though I didn't know him on the site, I see his legacy all over this place. My condolences to his family and his friends, both here on the site and in his personal life, and I hope we can continue to honor the tradition he created with this place.

Thanks for the great forum, Baron.

September 3rd, 2015, 10:14 PM
It was not my privilege to serve on staff when Baron was the owner. However, reading his posts in different areas of the site made me realise he left one hell of a legacy and good foundations on which to build.

My sincere condolences to his friends and family.

September 3rd, 2015, 10:39 PM
I'm sorry to hear this sad news, although I did't know him, I knew of him. My condolences to his family.

J Anfinson
September 3rd, 2015, 11:02 PM
Such terrible news. I only knew him the last couple months he was the owner, but again I've seen his legacy everywhere. My thoughts are with his family, and I dearly hope he's in a better place.

September 3rd, 2015, 11:09 PM
I'm deeply saddened by the loss of one of the giants of WF. He was a gentleman and a fine poet. He was a firebrand and wunderkind of the poetry boards when I was an admin- He made WF better and was one of the first to point out that the system in place needed changing- Like Cran he too was a visionary


September 3rd, 2015, 11:29 PM
Unfortunately I never knew him, but as a beneficiary of the long-term effects of his leadership, I wish all God's strength and love to his family.

September 3rd, 2015, 11:35 PM
The sad news has reached us of the passing of Robert Staniford AKA Baron. WF owes much to Rob's time as its owner. He steered the forum from the brink of collapse to the place it now enjoys; the best community for writers and creative artists on the net. He bought the forum from its previous owner because he saw what it could be.

He saw the tremendous spirit in the volunteers who gave of their own time and efforts to make the place work smoothly, and he saw its members trying against the odds to rise above the all-too-common race to the bottom playgrounds of hate and hurt. He made it his mission to support and encourage those who wanted a better place to hone their skills, share their experiences, and foster new writers and creative artists. He succeeded in that mission.

Rob and I joined WF at about the same time, and although we often locked horns over some detail or other, we shared the same visions and the same aims for writers and creative artists, and especially for WF and its future. These shared goals led to working together on a number of forums and projects.

When Rob had decided to sell WF and focus on other aspects of his life, he wanted to ensure that the forum did not go to a non-member owner, to revert to the difficult days. I agreed, was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time, and determined enough to take on the continuing mission.

The world is a little smaller, a little colder, without Rob, but his legacy and his memory will live on.

September 4th, 2015, 01:51 AM
I didn't know him- from what has been said, I wish that I had. May this place be a memorial to his legacy.

Chesters Daughter
September 4th, 2015, 02:11 AM
If it weren't for Rob, I wouldn't be here, nor would I have become the person I now am. His never wavering encouragement was a life boat in a sea of negativity that kept the pen in my hand. He took the time and patience to teach me despite my whining that I would never get it, and when I did, it was his praise that inspired me to excel. He welcomed me into the staff family and met my initial incompetence with good humor and kindness. He made this my home, and in turn saved my sanity. His impeccable work filled me with joy and awe, especially his superb ability for aural qualities that rivaled the songs of angels. Although I thanked him consistently for years, I shall do so one final time.

My eternal gratitude, most dear Captain, you molded me far more than you'll ever know and gifted me with peace. May God grant you the same eternally, and may He hold your family close to His heart in this terrible time and evermore.

J.J. Maxx
September 4th, 2015, 03:29 AM
Though I did not know him, his imprint is still felt today by the continued success of this magical place we all call home. My condolences and prayers are with his family. The greatest thing about writers is that they never truly die, but a part of them lives on with every word they put to paper. If there was ever a way to still our souls into the hardness of eternity, it is through writing...

God speed, Rob.

September 4th, 2015, 05:18 AM
I did not know him either, but I have seen his name around in different threads that have been started in the past and have heard a few things about him. Just from what I've read and seen, if he was not part of the process of owning this forum and passing it along, it might not be as it is today and for that I will be forever grateful of this man that I never encountered. I hope he rests peacefully and that his soul is at ease and his family finds comfort in the many memories they have with him and cherish those moments forever.

September 4th, 2015, 08:33 AM
Like many others, I did not know the Captain. But knowing or not all I can say is to thank him for this forum.

My sincerest condolences to all his family and friends.

Sleep tight Rob, and may your memory be for a Blessing.

September 4th, 2015, 09:43 AM
Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful comments.

It says a lot about Rob that I could have written so much more and still not even scratched the surface of who he was and what he meant to so many people.

For those of you who knew and worked with him, I know how you feel. For those of you who didn't know him, I'm sorry that you never got the chance to meet him. He was a great man and a terrific owner. Like our current owner, Cran, Rob just wanted what was best for WF and its community. I think that's why Cran and Rob sometimes bumped heads, for that's what Cran has always wanted for WF.

Rob's vision then, and Cran's today, is the reason why I and other staff members who were part of Rob's ownership are still here trying to keep the Ol' Green Lady purring. Rob taught us that we could have a great forum that wasn't languishing in the ninth circle of hell, and he inspired us to do everything in our power to keep it running like a well-oiled machine.

Guy Faukes
September 4th, 2015, 09:45 AM
We butted horns on several occasions back in the old Debate section and while I did not always agree with some of the stances he took, it was more than evident that he was devout in his efforts to improve the forum and maintain order and professionalism. He was one heck of a writer as well.

Farewell, ol' Captain. It was an honour to have known you.

September 4th, 2015, 12:12 PM
Sad news. He saved WF from self-destruction.

Condolences to his family and many friends.

September 4th, 2015, 04:28 PM
I'd never heard of him 'til now, but he sounds like a great guy. My condolences.

Raising my glass in his honor, may his spirit live ever on.

September 4th, 2015, 05:52 PM
sorry to hear this. when i 1st started writing, he accepted the 1st story i ever got published
for "Motley Press" zine. that went a long way in helping me believe in myself as a writer. he was
a great person and is a great soul.

godspeed, my friend.

Terry D
September 4th, 2015, 06:33 PM
Rob issued me my one and only ban here at WF back in the days when I was new to forums such as these and had much to learn about interacting with the community. His vision for the Green Lady very much shaped my philosophy of what digital-social interaction should be. He helped me to grow. He will be missed.

September 4th, 2015, 06:48 PM
Rob issued me my one and only ban here Me too! Ha! Good times... He once thought I'd had rubber ta-tas installed... as if... you see they don't bounce (the technology's not there yet). What would be the point? Pair a bobble heads, now that would something...like crazy-eye glasses (hey fellas, check it out!...*boi-wahrrr-er* Wow, mate!) Inspirational...

September 4th, 2015, 07:29 PM
He sounds like a wonderful person. I wish I'd had the good fortune to know him.

September 4th, 2015, 07:53 PM
He sounds like a wonderful person. I wish I'd had the good fortune to know him.
Same here...very sad

September 4th, 2015, 11:19 PM
From the sounds of things, he left an amazing legacy behind. These forums have been a haven and invaluable tool for many, myself included. Gone, yes, but not forgotten. Condolences to his family.

September 5th, 2015, 12:00 AM
When I first came to this site, I planned on becoming a great novelist and could already envision myself with a book series. Then it happened.

I clicked on the poetry forum and read some poems written by this guy called ‘Baron’. They were complex, beautiful, layered with meaning, and darn it, they just plain intrigued me! Who was this guy? And why did I feel like I had to dig deeper until I understood what he was talking about?

He was just that kind of man. One who caught your attention not only with his writing, but with his obvious intelligence, wit, and great compassion for those less fortunate than he. Later, after he purchased the site and I came on as staff, I learned that he also had a gentle, but wicked sense of humor. He inspired great loyalty in his staff and set the foundation and tone for this site to a higher level, one that we all -- staff and members -- aspired to. There is no doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t be what we are today, if he hadn’t come along when he did.
He was by no means a perfect man. But he was the perfect man for this site, at the right time in history.

And so, Dear Captain, for the second and final time we say goodbye. Our hearts are heavy, but we can take some small comfort in the thought that now, you have indeed found your calm seas and safe harbor.


Darkness, a hermitage or oubliette;
immersed in silence of the starless night,
naught strains the senses, easy to forget
the stresses that assault hours of daylight.
Seclusion of the mystic's holy cell
resides in stilled minds of everyman;
a place to know the height from which he fell -
to heal that ragged breach and bridge the span
of separation by negating self.
A voice, gentle and still, a light which guides,
more precious than the world and all its wealth,
a solitary space where wisdom hides.


Robert Staniford

September 5th, 2015, 12:24 AM
I didn't know him either, but I sure like the place he made. My condolences to his family.

September 5th, 2015, 08:39 AM
Wow. I didn't know him, but I heard a lot about him, and I can see he was (and still is) a treasure to this Forum. Thank you chief, for making this place awesome (altogether with Cran), for a place we could call a second home. Rest in peace.

MJ Preston
September 6th, 2015, 04:32 PM
This is very sad to hear. Long before I finished my first book I stumbled through the doorway here at WF and was welcomed with open arms after feeling pretty beat up on a few other forums. Baron (Rob) was a welcoming figure and he encouraged me to publish that first book. I still have a copy of his book THE STARS WAR FACTOR on my bookshelf.

So long Rob, you are missed, but behind you leave many memories.

September 7th, 2015, 01:19 AM
I'm upset, I didn't really know him, but I heard about him, and I hope he is happy in heaven.

Phil Istine
September 7th, 2015, 06:41 PM
I'm afraid that I never knew the guy but I thank him for the legacy that he has left. It seems that I am very lucky to have stumbled across WF when I did - the only internet writing forum that I've ever joined. It's a great format here and I'm grateful to him (and Cran) for the way it is.
Many condolences to those who knew him.

September 9th, 2015, 01:41 AM
When I first came onto the staff at WF, Rob scared me. The big, bad Baron. The man who could crush my avatar into a million little pieces. But, we seemed to run into each other in the chat room many nights and it didn't take long for me to realize what a gentle soul he was. Rob was someone you could talk to about your writing, about life, religion, science or anything and he would never talk down or preach to you. He was a great teacher, brilliant writer and fantastic leader . . . but most of all, Rob was my friend.

I wish you fair winds and following seas, my Captain. And long may your big jib draw. Until we meet again . . . just look for the guy in the corner having a marmoset.

September 9th, 2015, 03:41 AM
I've never had the privilege of meeting this person, but it is always sad when the world loses a person. I hope his family is doing alright and the same goes for whoever knew him on here.

September 16th, 2015, 04:37 AM
Tis not the rise
nor the fall
it's not the lives
we've touched
or the promises unkept
it is only
that we did at least one thing right
that everything else falls into place

September 20th, 2015, 04:23 AM
He bought the site and saved it. We all owe him.

He worked hard and pulled us out of the gutter.

And though I've said it before, I'll say it this last time.

Thanks Rob,

Thanks very much.

September 20th, 2015, 01:18 PM
A Message From The Baron

To The Ones I Love And Who Love Me:

‘When I am gone, release me, let me go.
You and I, we both have many things to see and do.
Do not tie yourself to me in tears.
I gave to you my love and you can only guess
How much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you have shown,
But, for now it’s time for me to travel on – alone.

So, grieve a while, if grieve you must.
But not for me, only for yourself and
For the hole my passing has left in your life.
Then let your grief be comforted by trust,
And remember that it is only for a while that part we must.
Bless the memories within your heart,
And know that no love is ever lost.
Life is eternal – it goes on and on,
Not just for you and for me, but for us all.

You and I can now come closer than we have ever been.
I shall never be further away from you than a thought.
If you need me, call and I’ll be near.
Although you can neither see nor touch me,
Know that I am there.
And when you listen inside your own heart,
You are sure to feel my love too, soft and clear.

And then, one fine day –
When you must come this way –
Alone – I shall be there to greet you,
With a smile I shall welcome you home.’

Fr. Pat Lennon
Edited by Aquarius

Dear Baron,

I look forward to meeting you in the world of light to thank you in person for sharing your gifts so generously with us and giving us WF. It will be a great privilege and pleasure. And I wish you lots of happiness in your new surroundings, the true home of all of us, which you have so richly deserved. Cj

September 21st, 2015, 01:40 AM
Condolences to his family. RIP

September 25th, 2015, 06:19 AM
I only came across this thread and I am so saddened by the news.

After Rob's faith in my ability (more than I had) when I took the Pinocchio poems and turned them into a novel Rob published it. That publication was my first novel, it lead to the Tree Singer being published which led to Catalina and so on. Rob was always enthusiastic and encouraging. He and I did not agree on many things but that never got in the way of our shared love for poetry and all things creative. He has been an incredible influence on my artistic journey and I shall raise a red to him tonight and whisper a thanks.

To Rob!

and if someone can could they tell his family I am so sorry for their loss.

October 6th, 2015, 04:38 PM
"Why man, he doth bestride the [WF] like a colossus; and we petty men walk under his huge legs, and peep about to find ourselves dishonorable graves."
--William Shakespeare: Julius Caesar

Miranda de la Costa
January 3rd, 2016, 08:02 AM
I haven't been on here at all due to circumstances and never met him, but God Speed Captain ::salutes::

January 3rd, 2016, 08:49 AM
Oh! I just saw this!

This happened before I found you. God bless Baron for saving this place. I'm sorry I didn't get here in time to meet him, but I hope he knows now how much I love and appreciate this place.

This brings to mind a question. Let's say I pass. I've left instructions to my hubby to notify all of you and others. He's not a forum person; he'll come in here under my name, tell you who he is, and kindly let y'all know I've passed. He probably won't be back, but he will let y'all know.

Has anyone here made arrangements like this? It's always best to let someone tell us...even if it's the worst.

My best friend passed on November 5. We were in two forums together, and her husband notified me by phone, and I went in and broke the news of her passing on the forums. It was tough, but of course we all needed to know.

Making arrangements to notify folks online is, I believe, important. This was just a thought.

Rest well, Baron, and thank you for this wonderful haven. I wish I'd known you.

January 3rd, 2016, 04:39 PM
I am quite overwhelmed by the attention this thread has received. It would have meant a lot to Rob that so many appreciated him so much.

As for me, Rob was and always will be my mentor and dearest friend. He taught me more than any man I've ever known, and he put up with all my flaws, which is why we became friends in the first place. To whatever I go, I go knowing better men have gone before me. And I hope, one day, to find my brother again.

February 15th, 2016, 04:50 PM
I only just saw this too. I stared at the bottom of my screen and read Sam's words. I thought, wat do you mean 'sadly missed'? He's not dead is he? Hè can't be! Then I openend this tread and i read every one of these kind messages and two things hit me. The first one that even giants apparently can die and the second that there were zo many beautiful things hè has done, as I read the others, that I didn't know. Clearly I knew what he did for this place. You would have to be blind not to know and besides I was around to see it happen. He changes this place from a place where I hid in the shadows, als the behavior of some made me nervous, to a place I call home. It was all those personal stories that really moved me. Baron invited me again and again, in personal messages, to write poetry even though I didn't consider myself much of a poet. I would never have gone beyond my first poem if it had not been for him. Thank you where ever you are. I'm still not much of a poet ;) but with the kind of faith you showed me how can I not try and better myself! Thanks!

Jack of all trades
February 15th, 2016, 06:20 PM
I never knew him, but I'm thankful that he created a respectful place for writers to gather and help each other. He left a legacy behind. May we keep his spirit alive here.

February 16th, 2016, 03:37 AM
I never knew him, but I'm thankful that he created a respectful place for writers to gather and help each other. He left a legacy behind. May we keep his spirit alive here.

This man made of this nice place for us, yes? Perhaps did he know of such creations of this? I have read many poems and stories! I am sorry of his passed.

Your friend,

March 26th, 2016, 04:53 PM
I went through each and every post gathered by this thread so as to know Baron through the words of others.
I know those words fail for they cannot fully express and describe how great he was.

Though I didn't have the fortune to know him, I can just imagine how amazing of a person he was.

I am in love with this community and I wish I could thank him for changing this place for the better.
Flowers and colorful butterflies for you, Baron.