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Joe & Estelle loved the user assistance community

Posted in Announcements, and Source - Joe

If you went to a WinWriters/WritersUA event between 1993 and 2013 (yeah 20 years), there is a good chance you collected your badge from a little grey-haired lady. And you probably wondered why an old guy was always stooped over pushing around heavy carts of boxes. Those were my parent’s Joe and Estelle.

My dad, Joe Welinske, joking with Tony Self

They both died this year. My mom in May and my dad just last week. Being in their 90s it wasn’t a huge surprise. Both of them being in Covid lock-down at a nursing home was a surprise and I wasn’t able to physically be in the same room with either of them at the end.

I was going through some drawers in their condo and found piles of conference badges, bags, souvenirs, brochures. They really enjoyed their time at those events. Most importantly, they really enjoyed the people at those events. Many of you got to know them and and they got to know you – for as much as you can at a conference. A few laughs over a couple of drinks with familiar faces during the reception meant so much to them.

My mom, Estelle Welinske, guarding the badges with Sharon Rowley

I’m not sure they ever really understood anything about the conference content except it being about “computers”. But that didn’t matter to them. They enjoyed the work, they enjoyed the attendees, and they looked forward to it every year. From Seattle, to Boston, to London, to Copenhagen, to Las Vegas, to Palm Springs – it was their late life adventure.

I appreciate everyone who was so kind and welcoming to them as part of our user assistance community.


Any remembrances can be directed in their name to the accessibility effort at their life-long church. 


  1. Joe, I am so sorry for your loss. It’s never easy and the current situation makes it that much more difficult. I do remember your parents at those conferences many years ago. It’s wonderful that they could be a part of something you are passionate about.

  2. Ramesh Aiyyangar
    Ramesh Aiyyangar

    Joe, I am so sorry for your loss. My sincere condolences and sympathies to you and your family

  3. Elizabeth ONeill
    Elizabeth ONeill

    Joe, I am sorry to hear of your parents’ passing. May their memory be a blessing. Elizabeth

  4. Chris Thiessen
    Chris Thiessen

    Joe – I always enjoyed chatting with your parents when I was fortunate enough to attend a WinWriters/WritersUA conference. And you are right: although they may not have understood all the technical stuff, they were delighted and eager to be there in the midst of all the activity. I am most sorry to hear this news. Joe and Estelle were great folks.

  5. David Farbey
    David Farbey

    So sorry for your loss. I hope the many fond memories you have of your parents will bring you comfort and strength at this time

  6. Dayna Hebermehl
    Dayna Hebermehl

    I am sorry to hear about your loss. I hope you find comfort knowing how deeply they supported you and will continue to provide support and guidance from their Heavenly view. Keeping you in my prayers and positive thoughts.



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