View Full Version : In Memory of Clay Cook / Doirche

02-13-2014, 05:41 PM
On 9th February we received an email from Pam Cook. Pam is the mother of one of our members, Clay Cook (who went by the name of Doirche at the Guild). In her email she said that Clay had taken his own life on 6th September 2013.

Clay joined the Cartographers' Guild in March 2008 and was a regular visitor until April 2012. Both talented and friendly he was working on the undermountain back in print project (http://undermountain.org/forums/index.php)and came to produce a stunning dungeon map as you can see from the picture below. The thread is here. (http://www.cartographersguild.com/dungeon-subterranean-mapping/1733-ruins-undermountain-iii-bip-project.html) I am sure that all of you are proud that Clay was one of our number and held to our values of being supportive, friendly and helpful. If you want to post any messages of condolence to Clay's family you can do so here as they will be visiting this forum as a place where Clay's footprints remain and they can remember him. if you would like to contact Pam directly by email, please let me know by PM and I will supply you with her email address.

Pam has kindly agreed for her email about Clay to be copied here for the Guild to read, and I attach it below. I would please ask that if anyone here is going through emotional turmoil that they consider their families and friends as first ports of call for help. Please look here for help and advice too. There are are always willing hands to help you through the darkness.

+++ Text of Email dated 13 February 2014 from Pam Cook to ravells +++

Ravi, please don't remove Clay's name from the membership roll or his posts from the forum. His friends and I would like to go back and read these posts from time to time. It was nice to see that there were members from other countries who held his work in high regard, and I hope it made him proud. Making a public announcement is a great idea, and you can give my contact information to anyone who would like to get in touch with me about Clay. Teaching himself to use Adobe Illustrator was just one of his many talents. He also did an animated Christmas light display synchronized to Christmas carols. At the time that he did it, not many people in the country did this sort of thing; now it is becoming more common. I am going to post a link below to the one he did that I liked best, "Carol of the Bells." I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. It gave him so much pleasure to create this display!

Carol Of The Bells - Cook 2009.wmv - YouTube (http://youtu.be/VDdSg5v6iM0)

And in this youtube clip below, he gives a walking audio-video commentary on how he did the power setup for the display. It was a lot of work!

Cook Christmas Display 2009 Walkthrough Power Distribution - YouTube (http://youtu.be/M0TofjI_bHs)

By occupation, Clay was a systems network engineer. He had many academic awards throughout his school years, he was popular and had many friends, and his teachers loved him. He had such a creative mind and was full of energy. Alcoholism is a progressive disease; it is not a character flaw. He wished to God he had the strength to stop drinking, and when he felt he could no longer live with the pain of what his life had become, he chose to end it in a horrific way, by hanging himself. I'm glad his pain is over, but mine will go on forever. I recently saw a picture he had posted online of him holding the D&D map he worked on. One day when the world starts to make sense again, I would like to make a copy of it and frame it. He was my firstborn and only son, a very bright light in my world, now extinguished.

Thank you for responding to me. It means the world to me! I would be happy to hear from you again from time to time. Please remember my son.

Pam Cook


02-13-2014, 10:19 PM
Very sorry to hear of Clay's passing. That map really is an excellent piece of work.

- Max -
02-14-2014, 08:07 PM
Indeed it's sad to see a guild member who has passed this way. He was sure a talented cartographer. I feel his family's pain and my thoughts go to his mother through those hard times.

02-15-2014, 03:21 AM
I'm gutted. If you are reading this Pam I just want you to know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I did not know Clay personally but I can tell that he was a bright and talented guy. I have come across the map that he created (pictured above) on a few occasions and admired his handiwork. I'm so sorry to here of his passing.

02-15-2014, 11:13 AM
I think a lot of people have that "gutted" feeling right now. Those who knew him and those who did not.

What a wonderful talented man, and lost in such a horrific way, in the prime of his life.

I was looking at the thread where this image was posted just the other day, and people were looking for Clay, wondering where he'd gone, hoping to see him again.

To Pam, and the entire Cook family, I offer my prayers, and my heartfelt condolences, and this:

Your son will not be forgotten. He made a mark on the world. You don't have to keep his memory alive on your own, because it lives. We are with you. We remember. I know there comes a point where it seems no one does. We do.

And I wish I could say/do more.

All my prayers,


02-15-2014, 08:02 PM
I did not know him but I have always believed that people live on in the things they created. My best wishes to all the family.

02-24-2014, 10:42 AM
This was very impressive and informative

08-17-2014, 08:50 PM
Dear Pam, I just came to this forum and stumbled across Clay's amazing work. I was stunned at how talented your son is. Then I read on and found out that he is no longer with us. I do not know you or Clay but please know that I will pray for peace for your family. Clay lives on through his works, and you'll always have the amazing things he has done to remind you of how special he was and the joy that his work still brings to others, even those of us that didn't know him personally. Grace and peace to you and your family. Casey

Jared Synn
09-23-2014, 01:08 AM
Hi everyone. I'm Halaster Blackcloak (I use my Jared Synn user ID here), creator and lead writer for the Back In Print Project. Doirche was our head cartographer and unfortunately we lost communication with him some time ago. I knew he was going through a lot, and only had sporadic contact with him in the past year. Last year I spoke with him via telephone and while I could tell something was wrong (in the way he spoke, the tone of his voice, etc), he said things were going well and that he was excited to be back on the project. We were of course thrilled to have him back and I thought things would move forward. Then he cut off communication. This would have been shortly before the tragic end.

I rarely have time these days to go online and I didn't see this thread until another cartographer wrote me this week about doing work for the BIP Project and referenced it. I couldn't (or didn't) want to believe it, but apparently it's true. I just came across this thread today, so it comes as quite a shock.

I'm almost speechless. We've suffered setbacks at the BIP Project (injuries, illnesses, loss of jobs, etc) but never anything of this magnitude.

I can say that working with Doirche was always a pleasure. The man was a freaking genius when it came to mapping. Sheer genius. That map of Level 7 of Undermountain was drawn on graph paper with pencil by me, and Doirche sat at the computer, worked magic, and converted my drawings into a work of art. I was needless to say flabbergasted when I saw the maps.

This all hits a bit too close to home and part of me feels like shutting down the project. It's truly a labor of love (with hardcore emphasis on labor!), but this is so very depressing. Doirche completed a double-sized map of Level 8 (imagine Level 7's map, with another next to it making it double wide) as well as a sub-level the size of Level 7 only a LOT more complex. I'm working with the new cartographer to convert my PDF files into Illustrator files.

I decided that Doirche would want this project to go ahead as much as I would, so we will. Eventually I will release the entire thing as it is finished being written (we are quite a bit closer, but keep in mind this adventure will stretch to almost 300 pages, detailing nearly 200 rooms). It will include all of the maps Doirche converted into Illustrator format (from my crude drawings). I do want everyone to see his work. You will need to be sitting down when you see the maps Doirche did for Level 8 and the sub-level. Seriously, it will stun you into speechlessness. If you think Level 7 is impressive, that's just an appetizer for the magic he did with the other levels.

My deepest condolences to the family. I have written Ravells so I can get in touch with Clay's mother. I want to put a tribute up for him at the Back In Print Project. I'll keep everyone here posted. We lost a great and talented cartographer and a really nice guy. I'm not sure I can express how upsetting this is.

09-23-2014, 03:03 AM
It pains me to read this. I can only give you my condolences, even though I did not know the good man himself.
God bless, and may Clay and his legacy be remembered.

09-23-2014, 08:36 AM
This all hits a bit too close to home and part of me feels like shutting down the project.

I decided that Doirche would want this project to go ahead as much as I would, so we will.

My condolences to you and to others who knew Doirche. I didn't know him at all, but my best friend growing up ended his own life 8 years ago and I think anyone who has been closely affected by suicide in a way understands. I have a few rememberences of my friend including a phone message that made me laugh so much I preserved it, and also several pieces of writing that he did. I look at these from time to time, and so I understand the email in post 1 above that asked that Doirche's posts be kept online permanently.

And I also understand why, if you do continue your project and publish Doirche's work, that it will be a wonderful testament to him and his talents, and will bring pride and comfort to those who miss him. As hard as it might be emotionally to continue, you are definitely doing the right thing in making the effort.

10-09-2014, 08:39 PM
I would like to contribute to the Back in Print project in honor of Clay. If you could please post information on how we can contribute either financially or otherwise. I'm sure I'm not the only one that would like to see his great work continue as a tribute to his talent and his tragic passing. Seeing the project through only feels right.