Producer Arthur Rankin, Jr. (b.1924) died on January 30. Rankin partnered with Jules Bass to form Rankin/Bass, an animation company known for their Christmas specials, including Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. Some of their more standard SF/F fare included adaptations of The Last Unicorn, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. He also produced Thundercats.
Author Neal Barrett, Jr. (b.1929) died on January 12. Barrett began publishing science fiction in 1960 with “To Tell the Truth” in Galaxy. He continued to publish short fiction throughout his career, but most of his work was at the novel length, with early works such as Kelwin or The Leaves of Time giving way to more complexly created worlds and narratives in the late 70s with his Aldair sequence and Through Darkest America. In addition to his science fiction, Barrett published a lot of work for hire, including volumes in the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift series, often under pseudonyms and house names. Barrett was name Author Emeritus by SFWA in 2009.
SFWA has announced that it will rename the Service to SFWA Award presented during the Nebula Award Weekend in honor of Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. The Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award will be presented to members for their outstanding work on behalf of the organization. O’Donnell, who died on November 7, 2012, received the award in 2005.