I just found out that Bob Justman died over the weekend.
Bob was a producer on the original Star Trek, and one of the few people Gene trusted enough to bring along with him when he began putting TNG together. When I talk about the things that make Star Trek what it is, that set it apart from other science fiction on television, I'm usually talking about something that was directly created or heavily influenced by Bob. His contributions to this thing we all love so much are difficult to overstate.
The Star Trek family had a rough May: Alexander Courage and Joseph Pevney both passed away last month, and while the fan in me felt compelled to honor and remember their contributions, the passing of Bob Justman feels like a tangible, personal loss, because I knew him, and I really liked him. Bob didn't treat me like a clueless teenager who had no idea what the hell he was doing, even if that's exactly who I was when we worked together.
I can close my eyes right now and see him standing just outside the set lights on stage six, gesturing excitedly at the bridge while our crew set up a shot. I can hear him tell me, "Good job, kid," after a particularly grueling day on Planet Hell. I can see him walking around the set with Gene during our first season, discussing -- sometimes heatedly -- how to make the show better. Bob really cared about Star Trek, and fully understood and appreciated what Star Trek meant to the people who watched it. If you're one of those people, take a moment today to remember him; he was one of the Good Guys.