Sunday, September 21, 2008

Remembering Pete Newmann

A friend sent me an email last night that really caught me by surprise.

Back in the late 90's I was involved in a collectible card game called OverPower. It pitted a team of four characters versus four other characters to see who could knock out whom. The characters were based on comic book heroes and villains from the various comic book universes (DC, Marvel, Image). Besides buying the cards, I often made my own homemade versions with PhotoDeluxe and shared them on the web. It was online I met other players, often playing games via chat dialogues and even got to meet a number of players in person.

One such person was Pete Newmann, who went by the AOL screen name of Eboladude. See, Pete was a research scientist in Maryland who studied the ebola virus for a living. He was also a devoted husband and father.

Pete and I chatted often online - not only about OverPower but about other things too. I actually got to meet him in person once when a bunch of us planned a road trip to Niagra Falls, Canada, for a card tournament weekend. I drove up to his house early that Friday morning, hung with him and his son until the other guys arrived, and then we took his van on the trip.

Now, neither Pete nor I were hard-core players. We played for fun. We liked to make homemades. In fact, on that weekend, he even presented me with a couple of gifts. First, a CD that included all his and my homemade images. Second, a huge box full of color print-outs of all my homemades to date (I am sure he printed a ream of paper at work for them all, and killed some toner doing it).

Not being the best of players, that left us some free time to talk and such. I remember us having dinner one of the nights at the restaurant near the hotel, eating wings, drinking beers and just chatting about life and such. He was more than just someone I knew online. He was someone I considered a good friend. On the drive home Sunday night, while the others slept in the back of the van, he drove and I kept him company as we talked through the night.

But, as often happens, people change interests, move on to other things and start to loose touch. That happened with Pete and I. OverPower, the game, sort of folded. We'd chat now and again but in the last decade we sort of lost touch.

That brings us back to the email I got last night. Another OverPower buddy was searching for folks online and came across a link for a local Maryland comic shop that had posted about an event in late December of 2006. It was a memorial HeroClix tournament in Pete's honor. Pete had moved on to playing HeroClix after OverPower it would seem.

I searched the web this morning but so far have not found out exactly when Pete died or of what causes. I think I want to know just so I can have some closure for myself.

Anyone who knew him would say Pete was a friendly, approachable person. He could make you laugh but at the same time be someone with whom could have serious talks. My prayers go out to his family and friends.


KC Ryan said...

That's sad, Martin. I hope you can find him. I did a little searching myself, hoping to help, but there are a heckuva lot of Peter Newmanns out there I guess.
Good luck finding out what happened to your friend.
Reminds me of Mark Price. We were in Klordny together, drifted apart, yada yada - then his Mom called me up to tell me he died a few months back (she had just found my contact info).
Guess everyone has one of those shot from the darks in their life.

Fenn Shysa said...

Well, this is a little late for a reply but i just stumbled across this today looking for your old OP stuff. I was a latecomer to the OP homemade scene but Pete and I used to communicate a lot between heroclix and OP. It's been a while but i believe he had a heart attack at the gym. Ironic, he had decided to try and get back into shape.

drop me a line through google mail if you want anymore information

Martin Maenza said...

Fenn, thanks for the info. I'll try to email you soon to get more info. He was a great guy and a good friend, even if I only hung out with him in person one time.