Over the years, Virginia has been fortunate to have several great local conventions. ShevaCon was one that I tried to attend whenever possible, but in reality I ended up only attending sporadically throughout the Nineties. I started attending on a regular basis in 2002, when I began publishing Nth Degree. By my second appearance there as a guest, I was getting to know the staff pretty well. In 2005, when I was starting to organize the first RavenCon, word got to me that a few members of the ShevaCon staff were retiring and might be interested in helping out. I, of course, took them up on their offer. This was when Doris and Mike Manning became part of my family.

Ever since the first RavenCon, Doris ran our Registration Desk. She was always the first person you would see when you arrived at the convention; greeting people, handing out badges, and answering everyone’s questions. Doris embodied a quiet efficiency that kept us running smoothly. She loved her con family, cats, unicorns, books, and the Muppets; not necessarily in that order.

In January of 2014, Doris had a routine run-in with con crud. Her doctor screwed up and put her on an antibiotic that after a mere four doses pretty much shut down her kidney function. The nephrologist she was refered to proceeded to put her on a treatment plan with no better than a 50% chance of success. Several years of illnesses and treatments followed; around and around. Through it all, her loving husband and her convention friends kept her spirits up and she stayed her ever-positive self through it all—leg ulcers, treatments, more con crud, treatments, the COVID years, more treatments…

The last time she walked was July 12, 2021. She walked into the hospital under her own power, had one more surgical debridement there, and then got shipped to a nursing facility in Charlottesville where she ended up at the UVA Medical Center and woke up a week later… to the sound of a dialysis machine… mittens on her hands… and a promise that if she held still just a few minutes more the ventilator would be taken out. From that moment until the day that she passed, Doris fought. She had so many things that she still wanted to do, including getting back to see her convention family. The day before she passed I watched her make plans for long-term treatments and listened as she laid out plans for beating her illness and getting out of bed again.

Needless to say, there are bills and insurance is neither quick nor efficient nor kind. We’ve designated Doris as our 2024 Charity Auction recipient to help with the bills she left behind and to help make things easier on her husband, Mike Manning. Doris never missed the Charity Auction; she loved the crazy unpredictable stunts that would happen during the Auction and she always helped keep it running efficiently so it’s only fitting that we give her a good send off this year.

–Fearless Leader