Goodbye Bill

Virgin Type building on Valley Road in Rochester, New York
Virgin Type building on Valley Road in Rochester, New York

Bill Jones slipped away last night. It was no surprise, he had what he called “kick-ass” cancer. We had been friends for a long time. Our paths were destined to be entwined.

We first met Bill when he and Mitch Cohen were running Asymmetrical Press on Smith Street near the soccer stadium. Archive Records was putting the first Hi-Techs single out and they hired Bill to print the jackets. He delivered a partial order and we picked the rest up in person. Bill came down to Scorgies to hear the Hi-Techs for the first time the night his son, Sam, was born. A few years later Bill was upstairs at Writers & Books running Publishers Workshop with his wife Geri. They had three scanners. The one we liked best was black and white only, no greyscale, and you fed the paper into it by hand. They were on the cutting edge of the burgeoning desktop publishing field.

My father and I did a yearly slide show for Moshe Lubin, the CEO of Hampshire Instruments. He was funded by Harvard and was building a wafer stepping machine for semi-conductors and he did a yearly presentation to high tech companies on some sort of cruise ship off the coast of San Francisco. He was was notorious for modifying the slides up until the drop deadline and I wound up staying up all night with Bill while he ran files created in Canvas on an early Mac to a film recorder for 35mm slides. The iBooks had only been out a month or so when his mom died and he made an eBook of her artwork without an app or anything.

He built web sites for the sales department at Lawyers Cooperative Publishing and he was always available for late night tech support as Peggi and I struggled to keep up with php/mysql and the latest. When Reuters bought the business, they sent Bill packing and he reinvented himself again by buying the oldest wood type making outfit in the country and setting up shop in his garage (above) as Virgin Wood Type. I just checked and the domain name has expired along with Bill.

He told us he was determined to make every Margaret Explosion gig until the end of the year. He didn’t make it. We’re gonna miss him.

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