This is something that I never imagined I would write.
Our good friend Dan Webber (better known as shogundan) and his wife Nadia passed away on Saturday night, October 30th in Naples Florida. They were involved in an accident while riding together on their motorcycle. From what I have been told, they did not suffer.
Dan was one of my best friends. He was a kind soul who would do anything for anyone. I got to know Nadia through Dan, and she was one of the most vibrant human beings I have ever met.
Dan and I first met years ago, when he was doing reproduction parts for Jumbo Machinders. He lived close, but was involved in a doomed marriage, so our friendship was not to be at the time. Years later married again, he looked me up and our friendship began as it should have many years ago.
At the time Dan was living a lifestyle where he did not have to work, but desperately needed something to do. Dan was an avid toy collector, his roots the same as mine. Dan had run a toy business before, but like me, found selling toys not fun at all. But he saw what I was doing, and it seemed like a perfect fit.
Dan's enthusiasm was infectious, and through his prodding we incorporated CollectionDX into an actual business. He had a plan, to take CDX and make it grow, so we could both do this as our day jobs. He used to say “How cool would it be if THIS was your job? It can happen!”. Dan and I became partners, co-owners of CollectionDX. His handling of the business matters freed me up to handle the day to day operations of the site.
Dan was not your typical businessman. He had no formal business training, but he had a way about him. He could talk to anyone, and somehow or another, they would be on board. He could sell an idea, he could make you feel his enthusiasm. I used to say Dan could sell ice water to eskimos.
When we first went to Comic-Con together, I got to see Dan in action. He talked to CEO's of companies as if they had been working together for years. It was amazing to see him doing his thing. He had a self-confidence that I could never have. I remember being at a rooftop hotel party for Lucasfilm, drinking wine with top names in the industries, and I remember thinking that I would not be there if it were not for him. That was the first time I thought that this thing we were doing could really be something after all.
Through all of this, Nadia supported Dan's involvement, and they became great friends of the family, coming to our kids birthdays and generally becoming inseparable with us. When we were hit with hard times, they were there for us. When my wife was driving a vehicle they thought was unsafe, they went out and bought her a van. Just like that. They thought with their hearts first and were always thinking of others.
A while ago they had the opportunity to move to Florida to get away from the harsh New England winters, and they took it. We didn't see them as much, but we kept in touch constantly, through email, phone and through our live CDX chats. While distance had separated us, CollectionDX kept us close. I talked to him on Friday, the day before the accident, about how exited we were about the new site. I am glad Dan got to see the new site finally launched. We had been talking about it and working on it since day one.
Wherever there Dan was, Nadia was by his side. She always jumped on chats to say hello, and was always a part of any get-together. She was one of us as much as Dan was. Nadia even did a few reviews on the site under the name “Shogunnadia”. Many of us who friended her on Facebook had even started to receive food from her as she was an amazing cook, and would make Beef Jerky to send to friends.
Dan and Nadia impacted our lives in so many ways, and if you are reading this, they impacted yours too. CollectionDX would not be the site it is today if it weren't for Dan's involvement. I feel like a better person having had them part of my life. It's another example of how this stupid little hobby is more than about toys, its about making lasting friendships with people who “get” you.
Dan “got” me.
Their passing has left us stunned, shocked, and saddened. As I write this, I still cannot believe it. Life is fragile and transient, and can be taken from you at any moment, without any warning. Dan and Nadia lived life to the fullest and were taken from us by a cruel act of fate. You just never know what is going to happen next. If we learn anything from their passing, it is that you must live life each day as it is your last. Live life to the fullest. Live with no regrets. Live with passion.
I feel like I should say more, but my words have run out. I miss you bro. Be at peace.