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Question: Rest In Peace, Bryan (probo, probonopublico)

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Roger Browne 


 21 Feb 2017 21:49 UTCTue 21 Feb 2017 - 9:49 pm UTC 

Probo was one of the most prolific questioners and commenters in the early days of Uclue, and before that as probonopublico at Google Answers.

He died yesterday, in his 80s, from organ failure due to complications of infection.

Perhaps those who interacted with him can use this space to post their memories and thoughts. And if someone would like to compose a short ode, please post it in the answer box.


David Sarokin 


 22 Feb 2017 02:03 UTCWed 22 Feb 2017 - 2:03 am UTC 

Anyone thinking about probo might want to revisit this early classic of his:

Q: Over 1,000 Comments, please!




 22 Feb 2017 19:44 UTCWed 22 Feb 2017 - 7:44 pm UTC 

Thanks, David, AKA Politicalguru.  So many researchers' and Users' names from back then!  And I found this exchange in that link:
"Subject: Re: Over 1,000 Comments, please!
From: sublime1-ga on 12 May 2003 08:44 PDT

A Google-A guy known as Pro...
a party decided to throw...
How odd that he asked
that the ball should be masked
for researchers he didn't know!

Subject: Re: Over 1,000 Comments, please!
From: probonopublico-ga on 12 May 2003 09:18 PDT

The Google Guy known as 'Pro'
Is not totally stupid, you know
He hates those admiring glances
From dames who fancy their chances
So he dons a mask wherever he go.

(I'm no poet)" 

I rather doubt that Bryan and I crossed 'words on GA and Uclue as many times as we exchanged emails, starting in August 2006 to arrange meeting in The National Archives in Kew.  We was as delightful and entertaining face-to-face as he was here and on GA.


Oliver Scriptor 


 22 Feb 2017 21:01 UTCWed 22 Feb 2017 - 9:01 pm UTC 

This is very sad news. I really don't feel like conjuring up words. All I can think of at the moment is that Bryan was a fixture of my Google Answers experience. And Google Answers was a fixture of my life - indeed it still is, in multiple ways. With Probo, part of that is gone now, irretrievably reduced to memory.

Farewell, Bryan.


Roger Browne 


 23 Feb 2017 10:36 UTCThu 23 Feb 2017 - 10:36 am UTC 

In the first year of Google Answers, we did a lot of research to assist Bryan with his "State Secrets" book. Do you remember all the questions about the life and presumed death of Kurt Jahnke?

For a laugh, we contrived to post an answer which, when the first letter of each line was considered, would read "JAHNKE LIVES"?

The plan was hatched in Missy's Researcher Forum, and most of us were reluctant to risk invoking the ire of the "Google Answers Admin" police. But thx-1168 did the deed...



David Sarokin 


 23 Feb 2017 13:24 UTCThu 23 Feb 2017 - 1:24 pm UTC 

Hah! I never heard that JAHNKE LIVES story before (might have been when I was banned from GA...but that's another story).

Bryan contacted me for some private work every now and then. I can't even recall the subject matter at this point, but he was such a pleasure to work with. And thankfully, he never needed any market research...everything he asked about always had its own peculiar fascination.

Farewell friend.





 23 Feb 2017 16:52 UTCThu 23 Feb 2017 - 4:52 pm UTC 

Indeed a piece of an important and enjoyable part of my life has now been misplaced. Thanks for sharing memories here and a fond farewell Probo.






 24 Feb 2017 18:28 UTCFri 24 Feb 2017 - 6:28 pm UTC 

All you Researchers and “common taters”
Recall our lost friend Bryan Clough. 

Probo's wit and his wisdom entertained,
In questions and comments galore,
Be he seeking the name of musical star
– for fun; he always already knew –  
Or details for his chasing that spy.

More often on GA and Uclue,
T'was his comments that gave us delight,
Helpful or humorous or both.
When we saw his name,
We knew we would enjoy,
With a smile or a wink,
Words that would brighten our day.

Recall our lost friend Bryan Clough.


Toby Lee Spiegel 


 25 Feb 2017 00:02 UTCSat 25 Feb 2017 - 12:02 am UTC 

This is sad news.  Bryan was a good friend to all of us and will be truly missed.  Prayers for his family at this difficult time.  He was a pleasure to work with... at Google Answers and also when I performed some private research for him. Rest in peace, Bryan.




 25 Feb 2017 18:10 UTCSat 25 Feb 2017 - 6:10 pm UTC 

It's been difficult to encapsulate in words about the sad passing of our esteemed friend Probo. There is now a big empty space in the Internet universe. His questions and beguiling banter on Google Answers and Uclue brought many a smile over the years. Truly a gentleman with his prodding demeanour he was having fun with his queries and was always a pleasure to read. We "peanuts" could feel he loved both virtual spaces. Bryan Clough will be greatly missed. My heartfelt condolences to his family and his many, many friends. And now I hope probonopublico has found the answer to "But what ever happened to Birdie?"

We will remember you Bryan

Brudenell, Bru, Ray



Rob Bowler 


 28 Feb 2017 22:23 UTCTue 28 Feb 2017 - 10:23 pm UTC 

This is truly terrible news.  Bryan (probo) was truly the head of this "family".

He always had a kind word, playful attitude and wonderfully inquisitive mind.  He often earmarked questions for specific researchers for no other reason than to offer them a nice reward.  Although I never personally met him I felt I knew him through many social media outlets. 

He will truly be missed.


John E 


 11 Mar 2017 06:39 UTCSat 11 Mar 2017 - 6:39 am UTC 

Wow. I've been busy with so much lately that this is the first chance I've had to check in for a good while. This is such sad news that it's really hard to respond. Probo's contribution to Google Answers was an immeasurable part of its success, in my view, and a huge part of why I always enjoyed checking for new questions. I can only hope that he's now having more fun than would ever be possible in a body and enjoying his membership in the Library of the Infinite.


Uclue Admin 

 12 Mar 2017 22:28 UTCSun 12 Mar 2017 - 10:28 pm UTC 

Bryan's funeral was on 9 March. A memorial site has been set up here:

You can post stories and thoughts to that site. Presumably his daughters will get to see them.




 11 Dec 2017 12:08 UTCMon 11 Dec 2017 - 12:08 pm UTC 

'Hove time' - well chosen words ('Uclue is closing. The last new questions will be accepted on December 14, at midnight Hove time').


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