Travel writer and dear friend Lynn Ferrin passed away today after a long illness and a too-short life. Lynn was in her early 70s, but seemed younger thanks to a strong body, generous spirit and positive outlook.
Lynn Ferrin was not a household name but you may have read her travel writing; she was, among things, prolific. She worked at Via (formerly Motorland) magazine, the AAA magazine for northern California, Nevada and Utah, for 37 years. During Lynn's last seven years at Via, she served as editor in chief.
She was also a widely published freelancer.
I got to know Lynn through a book-authors' group at San Francisco's Media Alliance, and over time, she became a friend. She may not have realized it, but she was a role-model to me, though she never used that awkward term. Just being around her was a lesson in how to carry oneself, in personal and professional ethics, in sheer enjoyment, in curiosity, in genuine warmth, and, not least, in how to craft a story. After she retired from the magazine, at about age 60, it seemed like she worked even harder and moved faster: climbing mountains, going on treks, rafting, exploring, writing. She had as much energy at 60 as two 30-year-olds and only in the last few years did she begin to slow down.
For years, Lynn hosted an annual holiday party in her San Francisco Victorian. I saw people there I didn't see any other time of the year. She threw the party every year on Dec. 22, the day after the solstice. Lynn's parties were packed and they were ecumenical, bringing together members of the far-flung travel tribe, and attracting writers who were sometimes rivals, ordinarily concerned with securing bragging rights and markets. At her parties, peace reigned. One year, when Lynn decided to take a year off from being a party hostess, people showed up at her door anyway; she invited them in and there was a party anyway.
Lynn was one of a very few people who as far as I know, had no enemies, nor even any serious detractors. She had hundreds of best friends and made each one feel special. She's been gone less than a day and I, we, miss her terribly.