W. Richard Stevens was the author of my favorite technical book, UNIX Network Programming Volume 1: The Sockets Networking API, second edition. I was immersed in that book for years, while I was working on high-performance web servers. His TCP/IP Illustrated volumes are also fantastic.
Stevens died young, in 1999 at age 48. I would have loved to have met him. He had an interesting life, and brought passion and liveliness to subjects that less imaginative and more reticent people might have felt were not worth the effort. I have enormous respect for that kind of wholehearted commitment – deciding that something worth doing is worth doing well, and not holding back.