Man, that's sad news to hear. :/ While I didn't get to meet him, I got to chat with him a little online when I was living in Indianapolis. Was hoping to see his collection one day, meet him in person, etc. Such is the march of time. :(
Has anyone from the community reached out to his family? Besides offering the group's condolences, my understanding was he had a sort of museum of boots, jackets, and such. Especially in regards of any heavily worn boots, it would be a shame to see any of them thrown out or destroyed when they could be preserved. Not sure what the most appropriate venue would be for such preservation, since he's the only person that comes to my mind when topic of boots/history/preservation came up.
As well, does anyone know if his family be maintaining his site/domain name? Digital preservation can be just as important and physical.