The crime fiction community–and the world–lost a treasure a few days ago. Lea Wait was a New Englander, a friend to all the Wickeds, a gracious and courageous woman, and an immensely talented and productive author. We take today to remember and memorialize her.
Lea’s daughters have invited anyone wishing to attend a remembrance of her life to join them on Wednesday, the 14th, at 147 Eddy Road, Edgecomb, Maine, from 1- 3 pm.
Wickeds, please share about Lea: your memory, tribute, funny story, or thoughts.
Julie: When I think of her, especially during this past year, fierce grace comes to mind. At Crime Bake I was so thrilled to see her, and told her that. She didn’t downplay the battle she was in, but did say that she was feeling better and was grateful for that. Right before Malice she posted that she’d broken her ankle, and I thought “oh no!” But then there she was with a walking cast and friends who were happy to help her. She was a lovely woman and a wonderful writer. And she had fierce grace that taught me a lot this past year.
Liz: Amen, Julie. I didn’t know Lea as well as some of the Wickeds, but I always enjoyed seeing her at events and getting to know her. I remember meeting her husband Bob once and thinking how adorable they were together. I too was in awe of her spirit and stamina this past year, and I’m glad I got to speak with her one last time at Malice.
Edith: Exactly, ladies. I am quite sure I wouldn’t have been so motivated to keep going, to keep making conference visits, to finish books under contract as Lea did, and with no public complaining. She really was a talented writer, weaving traditional mysteries with the flavor of Maine, her knowledge of antique prints, the world of adoption, and so much more. I loved the story of her and her dear Bob finding each other again after decades apart, and that they had some years of true marital bliss toward the ends of their lives. May your soul rest peacefully, Lea.
Sherry: This quote by Leonardo Di Vinci makes me think of Lea: I love those who can smile in trouble, who gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. Lea was a talented, funny, generous woman who taught me more this past year than I knew I needed to learn. I’m glad I knew her.
Barb: I wrote my tribute to Lea a year ago. At that time she thought she had weeks or, at the outside, months. But it turned out she had a year, a “bonus year” as she called it. She used it well. She wrote a blog post for Maine Crime Writers of all the things she did with her bonus time. Lea had been a friend and a mentor to me for a long time by the time of her diagnosis, but in the past year she has given me one last gift, the gift of modeling how to face death with grace, dignity, and humor.
Jessie: Lea was always such an inspiration. We were on a panel to gather several years ago in Scarborough and I was impressed by her wide-ranging body of work. As time went on and I understood what it takes to remain in the business I was more impressed still. She continued to inspire awe long after her health took a turn for the worse. I felt so privileged to see her on a panel at the Maine Crime Wave on the first of June. She showed everyone how to be a class act all the way until the end.
Readers: Please share your memory of Lea or her books. (And if you haven’t read her books, please do – find them at Lea Wait.)
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any gifts be made in honor of Lea to the Lincoln County Historical Association in Maine. Here’s a link to the site.