In Remembrance: Martin Morse Wooster’80, writer, researcher, BSFFA co-founder
Martin Morse Wooster’80, a writer, editor, researcher, and founding member of the Beloit Science Fiction & Fantasy Association (BSFFA), was killed on Nov. 12, 2022, in a hit-and-run accident in Williamsburg, Va.
Wooster’s encyclopedic knowledge ranged from baseball to beer to philanthropy to science fiction. He was a senior fellow at the Capital Research Center, a think tank established to study charitable foundations’ missions and activities. Wooster wrote three books and many monographs about philanthropy, specifically on the issue of donor intent. He regularly contributed to Philanthropy Daily, and his articles about many subjects and reviews appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Reason, and The American Spectator. He reviewed scores of science fiction books.
A voracious reader, he scoured media sources to discover Beloit alumni accomplishments in the news. Over decades, he sent countless notices to this magazine, whenever he spotted a mention of the college or of a graduate. Before he started emailing them, these tips arrived year after year in stamped envelopes that included a paper clipping or an entire magazine, usually with a typed letter, hand-signed “Yours, Martin.”
After Wooster died, it became clear that Beloit College Magazine was not the only recipient of his generous volunteer research. His friend, John J. Miller, a National Review correspondent, wrote that Wooster started a “peculiar tradition” of sending him notes whenever he spotted a John Miller in the news. “Along the way, I learned about hordes of people with whom I share a name,” Miller wrote. “They included loads of criminals and at least one person who attended a Star Trek convention as a Klingon.” Later, when Miller published a book, Wooster sent him every mention of it, even footnotes. “I think it was Martin’s way of saying that my writing mattered — an act of kindness that might even be a form of philanthropy,” Miller wrote in a tribute column.
A serious baseball aficionado, Wooster closely followed the sport and the careers of affiliated Beloiters, including John Thorn’68, Major League Baseball’s official historian, and Joe Davis’10, play-by-play broadcast announcer for the L.A. Dodgers. Fellow beer enthusiast Alexander Mitchell posted a remembrance of his friend on Facebook that began, “There are drinking buddies, and there are thinking buddies.” He said of Wooster: “If you are lucky, you get blessed with both at the same time.” Professor Emeritus Tom McBride wrote that Wooster had “an outrageous wit” and was “one of Beloit’s great writing and reporting success stories.”
Wooster majored in history and philosophy. He was a proud founding member and lifelong advocate for BSFFA, a perennially popular student organization. He is survived by a sister.