Andre Norton was one of the first two sf authors I read, the other being Heinlein. When I learned she was a woman it changed how I saw my future. Teachers giving me bad advice aside, it was Andre Norton's work that made me want to be a science fiction writer and kept that dream alive. I loved her worlds, her people and her sense of adventure.
In 1999 my friend Rosemary Edghill was writing a book with Andre Norton -- the Shadow of Albion. She wrote me in as a minor character. It was the closet I came to Andre Norton, and one of the most wonderful moments of my life.
There are a lot of women writers in sf today. But I remember when they were rare, and she was the crown jewel -- or maybe the shining star that reminded us, every time we looked up, that even women could dream about the stars and the future.