Werner Icking was the chief of my guardian angels in the world of MusiXTeX. From my first attempts at typesetting a score he was always ready to answer any question and solve any problem with unending patience and unending helpfulness. From the inevitable trailing spaces and resulting overfull \hboxes to the last great thing he helped me with (guitar barre chord notation) Werner remains the main single reason I was able to learn MusiXTeX at all, and if one of his last comments to me was that one of my scores "looked quite professional", then most of the credit for that must go to him and not to me.
But in addition to MusiXTeX-related questions, my e-mail files of our correspondence are full of all sorts of other discussions: from Johann Joachim Quantz and Leopold Mozart to Harnoncourt's "Musik als Klangrede", repertoire. From orchestral concert tours to summer music festivals. From the toll stickers for Austria's motorways to his daughters' favourite Christmas carol. I never met him, never even saw a photograph of him until after his death, and our correspondence went on for only a little over a year. And yet he remains a presence as vivid and palpable as if I had been working side by side with him for half my life.
He was always one to give of himself, unhesitatingly and unstintingly. All of us to whom he gave may consider ourselves lucky and privileged to have come into contact with him. For my part, my grief is not only that we lost him too soon. It is also that, in return for the generosity he showed me, I was able to give back nothing of my own except words of thanks, and flowers for his funeral.