To the folks who knew Hephaestion

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To the folks who knew Hephaestion



For people who remember Hephaestion, we've heard some very sad news about him. On June 6 he died in his sleep. He had not been in the best of health for a while but this came as a real shock. He will be sorely missed at enMasse and by his many online and real life friends.


We have a thread about it here:

Papal Bull



I very much enjoyed him. He was a really cool guy and I will very much miss his presence.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

That's terrible to hear.  Condolences to his family and friends.


I've been surrounded by deaths in my own family in the last two months. I am very sorry to hear about Hephaestion.

I propose two minutes of silence in honour of Hephaestion. He will be missed.



Oh my God. I counted Heph as a friend and staunch ally. And larger than life. He will be remembered.


Thank you, Tehanu for letting us know.


Sad news indeed.



remind remind's picture

 tehanu....thank you for your kindness at letting us know....



 Hephaestion, you went just as cool as you lived, in your sleep, the best way...


Regards to his family and friends, I am sure he will be much missed, and I know I will misss his keeping up with the religious bigots and hyprocits thread at en masse.




I'm so sorry to hear this.  Thanks for letting us know, Tehanu.  As a lurker at EnMasse, I'll miss reading his posts and links.  My condolences to everyone who knew him better than I did, both online and off.  I know he'll be greatly missed.

writer writer's picture

This is very sad news. Like Michelle, I will miss his voice during my regular, quiet visits to enMasse. Thank you, Tehanu, for letting us know. And love to the grieving at eM.


I knew Heph back when it was just babble, before the Sister Boards EnMasse or BreadnRoses came to be. To add to what people said, what I will miss in particular about Heph was his knowledge of Manitoba politics.

RIP buddy. :(


Several years ago, a babbler wrote of being depressed and wanting to "pass on life". Naturally, everyone was concerned. [url= is what Heph wrote[/url], if you want a little insight to who he was:


I am on the same clock as you (11:35 right now, PT), and I will be up *most* of the night (hey, I'm a night owl...) By the time I crash, the east coast will be coming back on. There will be *someone* here all night, if you want to talk.

And you can still PM me if you'd like. Like I said, I'm up all night, and I wouldn't mind at all.

We really do give a damn, buddy. And we're here for you.

And we're here for you, Heph, old buddy.


writer writer's picture

Oh, Unionist. That made me cry. Damn you, Heph! You and your you-ness!

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

This is so incredibly sad. I know it is selfish, but he made me laugh so many times, I already want that particular kind of laughter back.


Despite 24,243 posts on EM, and almost 13,000 on babble (almost all before the "strike"...), he needed another outlet for his [s]verbosity[/s] creativity:


Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Heph was one of a kind, one of my favourite posters back in the day.


I remember him from the old days here on Babble, and enjoyed his contributions.  Sad to hear that the wider community will go without his continued insight.


I  met and learned about Hephaestion through Enmass, he was a treasure for the ``rainbow`` queer community. Above all, he was a very kind and generous person who would reach out to those in difficulties, he certainly did with me.  It was truly an honour to have met him online. He was my inspiration and I am very sad to learn of his passing. His words wont be forgotten, nor would he be forgotten. R.I.P

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Heph was tireless in his championing the rights of so many. He also had a great sense of humour and appreciation for all that is bizarre and beautiful. He will be so missed by many of us who participate in En Masse and those he knew so well from other online communities. RIP dear Heph.

I think his EM signature really captures him to a tee:

"The dignity of an animal is measured by his capacity to revolt in the face of oppression." -- Mikhail Bakunin

remind remind's picture

Thanks laine for sharing that.

Heph, gives even after he has moved on to life in the spirit.


Sad news. Condolences to Heph's family & friends. 

Maysie Maysie's picture

Thanks Tehanu for letting the babble community know about this sad loss.

I haven't interacted online with Heph for a number of years, but I remember many online babble exchanges that we had.

As an infrequent EM lurker I was always impressed by his continued energy to post links from far and wide regarding so many aspects of being out and queer, both triumphs and fails, from around the world.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Very, very sad news. Thanks for letting us know, Tehanu.

Wilf Day

Unionist wrote:

Oh my God. I counted Heph as a friend and staunch ally. And larger than life. He will be remembered.

Indeed, I share this sentiment. A loss.

Cueball Cueball's picture

One of my favourite babble people. He and Reality Bites used to tear up this board like there was no tomorrow back in the glory days. Truly, one of my first internet friends. He was mad at me because I didn't stick with enmasse. That made me feel bad. I remember once asking him why he took the stand that he did on the issue of the Palestinians, and he responded "just general fair play", and I guess that sums him up best I think. A man who had a sense of "fair play" that exceeded the value of any prepackaged ideological world view.

He was one of the Babblers I always most want to meet. Sadly this will not come to pass.

Cheers old friend.


I am so sorry and shocked to read this news. Heph's passionate commitment to justice and his open heart were unmistakable in everything he wrote, and he was a writer for sure -- I think he'd like to be remembered for that.


It was very thoughtful of Heph's friends to get in touch with his online communities. Thanks and condolences to them.


One of the things I remember about Hephaestion is his sense of humour.  I don't remember why he did it, but I remember a time when I was moderating and for some reason, he created this hilarious image of me (from a profile pic on rabble) with "Michelle the Moderator" repeated many times in the background.  I remember that I was feeling kind of down, and it completely made my day.  And the funny thing is, my father actually printed it and put it on the wall near his computer as a joke, and it makes me laugh every time I go there and see it - it's still there!

I've always meant to tell him that, even though I did tell him what a kick I got out of it at the time he made it.  And I should also have told him that he taught me a lot, too, even when we disagreed, maybe especially then.  Goes to show you that you should tell people the good things right away, and not put it off.

Rest in peace.


This is indeed sad news. I will remember him as someone with a big heart and great courage.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

I only knew Heph through his postings, here and @enmasse (where I tend to lurk rather than post). But I feel like there's a bit of a hole left in my life nevertheless; an occasional flash of brilliance that I will not see again.

Go in peace.



I am very saddened. Hephaestion was one of the most fair-minded, peace, justice and equality loving amongst fellow babblers and I always enjoyed his contributions. I froze upon reading this news of his departure, my eyes welled up upon reading his words as posted by Unionist.

(Thank you Tehanu for letting us know).

Erik Redburn

Damn.  This is a very sad day.  I didn't know Heph personally but he left a real impression on me, just from his postings.  He was a truly unique contributer here and enmasse, with a remarkable ability to combine humour, outrage and insight into everything he contributed.   It just won't be the same knowing he's not here with us anymore.   My deepest sympathies for his many friends and family. 

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

So sad to hear this. He was such a smart, decent, and funny guy.

RIP Heph.

No Yards No Yards's picture

Heph was my GLBTQ hero ... before meeting him online here I though I was pretty open minded in regards to queer issues. Boy did he ever show me I had a lot to learn.

If anyone whose ever followed Heph's posts tells you they've learned nothing, then they are either God, the Devil, or lying.

Like his namesake in live and death ... Hespaestion, the fierce warrior now takes his place as divine hero.


N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

I remember what babble was like, in Heph's time, before the troubles, and it seems now like a land called Honalee.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

A Heph classic link (from April of this year)

[If you have problems seeing the video, place your cursor over the image and make sure the HD is off, not on]



With thanks to [url= Demorney over at EnMasse[/url] - reproduced from [url=]the Valley Voice[/url]:

[center]Mourning Rob Riley...[/center]

One of my dearest friends died last week. Rob Riley was a character, and will be remembered as such. In many ways he was a great man. Intellectually gifted, magnanimous of spirit and possessed of a keen sense of humour.

Like many great spirits, he had a number of character flaws as well. He was a hopeless alcoholic. As soon as he ever got any money, he would start drinking, and wouldn’t stop until the money was gone. He rarely bathed, and lived in squalor. He chain-smoked hand-rolled cigarettes for most of his too-short life. He was stubborn and impertinent.

Rob was a month older than me, and we knew each other since university days. He came for a visit shortly after I landed in Rosebery, and ended up staying for most of the next decade and a half. He was living at my log house when it burnt down, and moved into a room in the basement of the new house when it was built. He lived there for several years, before moving into a trailer on my property. It was there that he died.

We worked together on our university newspaper, The Quill. He came to
join me on my first community newspaper, The Souris Valley Echo. We’ve
published books, newspapers and magazines together. When Jan & I bought
the Valley Voice, he became our first production manager.

The biggest project that we ever took on together was putting the Sandon
Museum back together after two-thirds of the collection had been taken by
a disgruntled member of the historical society. We worked long hours for
weeks that summer, putting together the interpretation that still adorns the
walls. He wanted to tell a story, he told me. So he edited my writings, fitting
them into his vision of the history of the place. He gathered artifacts from
hither and yon, and incorporated them into our displays. Because we were
both newspapermen, we broke the history of the place into stories. The walls
of that museum were our paste-up boards that summer, and we reveled in
all of that space.

Rob was a complicated man. He had a low sense of self-worth, yet was
always defending the rights of others. He refused to take a disability pension
for decades, despite having had a leg amputated as a child. Too proud. He
was a socialist, a gay-rights advocate and a tireless defender of disabled
persons. He contributed thoughtful posts to a large number of on-line journals, progressive think-tanks and discussion groups.

I loved him dearly, and miss him very much.

Dan Nicholson, publisher


I see that the EMers are trying to set up a memorial fund for the Pride Centre of Edmonton. That's a lovely idea. If anyone from EM is monitoring this thread on babble, please let us know if you get it set up, or if you decide just to have people mail memorial donations individually.  I'm sure there will be people here who will want to know.

Ken Burch

I didn't know much about Hephaestion's life, but from what that post said, these traditional folk lyrics seem the most accurate tribute one could pay:


1) He Was A Friend of Mine

He Was A Friend of Mine

Everytime I think about him now

Lord, I just can't keep from crying.

He Was A Friend Of Mine


2) He died on the road

He died on the road

He never had enough money

To pay his room and board

He died on the road


3) I stole away and cried

I stole away and cried

'Cause I never had too much money

And I never been quite satisfied

I stole away and cried.


4) He never done no wrong

He never done no wrong

A thousand miles from home

And he never harmed no one

He was a friend of mine


5) He was a friend of mine

He was a friend of mine

Everytime I think about him now

Lord, I just can't keep from crying

He was a friend of mine.



...Rest now, Heph.  Your suffering days are over.



Catchfire Catchfire's picture

rabble received this message from Heph's sister Margaret:

I am one of  Rob's sisters. I am proud of Rob as I read the big difference
that he made in other's lives. We will be having something in September and
spread his ashes in a place that he requested...the Sandon cemetery, near
New Denver, BC.


Amidst all the chaos of these times, I thought it would be appropriate to stop for a bit and remeber an important time in the history of this online community.

On June 6, 2010, former babbler and founding member of EnMasse, Roberto Reily (known to us at the time as Hephaestion) died in his sleep. He was such a pillar of this community, and I know that he has been missed. I've thought about him in the decade since, and all that has gone on. The rise and fall of the Decter-Hrist mayoral administration in Brandon. Arab Spring. Occupy Wall Street. Stephen Harper majority, followed by Justin Trudeau. Black Lives Matter, George Floyd, and the current uprisings against police brutality. Gerald Stanley and Colten Boushie. Tina Fontaine and missing Aboriginal women and girls. Climate strikes and Greta Thunberg. Ireland and Australia voting for marriage equality. President Trump and the rise of the Sanders movement. The rise of Brian Pallister in Manitoba. The defeat of the Liberal government in his home province of BC. The fall of Pope Bennedict and the rise of Pope Francis. I wonder what he would say if he was with us to comment on all of that.

Likewise, many others of our community have moved on to be with him since then. Know that you are all in our hearts and minds, and we hope you are all having a good time babbling on the Other Side.


Beautiful tribute - thanks, A24. I miss Heph. And though I think I know what he'd say about intervening events in the past decade, that's just my conceit talking. We all enrich each other through progressive discourse, and I've learned to expect the unexpected.

Where is skdadl? Where is Boom Boom? How many others have crossed over? Their memory is very much alive in these pages (as well as EnMasse, BreadnRoses, etc.). We will all have a Zoom party one of these days (or preferably some free/libre alternative).

I'm not around here much these days, but I would like to wish everyone good health and good activism.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Wow, that EM thread brings back memories as does this. Thanks for reviving it, Aristotleded.

I too often wonder what skdadl, Heph, Boom Boom, pogge and Croghan would have made of the events of these recent years.


This is so sad. The WayBack Machine has preserved Heph's post about his illness, and our reactions.


Ken Burch

Hephastion was one of the most memorable people who ever posted here, and anyone who read Heph's posts learned from them.


laine lowe wrote:
Wow, that EM thread brings back memories as does this. Thanks for reviving it, Aristotleded.

I too often wonder what skdadl, Heph, Boom Boom, pogge and Croghan would have made of the events of these recent years.

Don't forget pencil_skirt.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I didn't know pencil_skirt very well but her death was tragic. If I recall she was on her bike and was hit by a car.

Douglas Fir Premier

laine lowe wrote:

If I recall she was on her bike and was hit by a car.

She was on foot, but yes, she was hit by a car.

The impaired driver who killed her was going the wrong way down a one-way street.