Condolence & Memory Journal

I just learned of Jeff's passing from the CWRU Alumni magazine. I was so sorry to hear the news. My sincere condolences to his family. I went to CWRU with Jeff in 1982. I always enjoyed my time with him in college. Although I am not a musician, I enjoyed his guitar playing and he shared that love for music with me. My favorite musician passed away last year and Jeff remembered that about me from over 30 years earlier and he sent me a nice note about him. I have great memories of Jeff and he will be missed.

Dave Siegel
Friend

Posted by Dave Siegel - Friend   February 15, 2021

I just learned today of Jeff's passing from the CWRU Alumni magazine. I was shocked and deeply saddened. Please accept my sincerest condolences, and those of my wife, Wendy.

Jeff and I started CWRU together in the fall of 1982. We lived in the same dorm, he in Suite 150 and me in Suite 430; we even played together in a dorm band one year. He knew my wife, who also lived in our dorm, and attended our wedding in June of 1988. I always thought he was slightly crazy, but we both loved music and science. He was a good friend and a great person.

I will miss him greatly.

Posted by Bob Steagall - Gaithersburg, MD - Friend   February 11, 2021

I was shaken to hear of Jeff's passing. Jeff sat next to me at work before I left in January 2020. I remember working at his desk and trading music stories since all of us had music backgrounds - not uncommon among technical people. I always envied Jeff's lunch and running discipline - two things that continue to inspire me today. I miss Jeff and wish the best to his family.

Posted by David Watson - Mt. Lebanon, PA - coworker   December 22, 2020

Dear Karen and Sylvie,

it is unimaginable to think of Jeff gone. I know that his relationship with Sylvie was very special by the way he took interest in her progress during each lesson. I will miss greatly talking to him: Jeff was an intelligent, warm, witty, and absolutely genuine person. It was a privilege to know him.

I hold you both in my heart.
Inessa

Posted by Inessa Beylin - Teacher   September 04, 2020

Dear Jeff,

It was so sad to hear the news of your death. Our sincere condolences from my wife Tomoko and myself, and deepest sympathy to your wife Karen and your daughter Sylvie.

Looking back, way back, we first met in Westinghouse R&D Center in Churchill. Do you remember the Navy project on Sonar Signal Processing? You were helping me in electronics and software. It must have been in early 1980s. Later I started new company “Optomation” that you joined as the Chief Engineer. We were working on development of fingerprint sensor technology. I was impressed by the speed you generated the software code for identifying the prints. We kept the teamwork on many projects, including Laser based inspection of memory chips, of TV display panels and laser radar for automobile for collision avoidance to count a few.

Besides working hard on the engineering work, you were involved in musical performance, playing electric base as a member of Jazz group “Watershed.” Tomoko and I attended your concert a couple of times. Type of music was Modern Jazz or more modern, I would say, than the “conventional” Modern Jazz. The performance kept persuasion of dissonance. Concluding the concert by the last number by the audience amplifying the dissonance with the Kazoos that were handed out to everyone just before the number started. The house resonated with dissonance transmitting message that we were all born free.

On the job we traveled together to Japan a couple of times to hand-carry the experimental product for exporting. Remember we were in two taxies in Tokyo on the way to customer’s office. You were in one with the heavy hardware and I was with Dan Oban in the other. Our cars stopped side by side at the signal near Tokyo Station. You rolled down your window, and so did I. You paused at me, pulled your chin, managing a strong British accent in baritone and asked, ‘Do you have any GREY PUOPON?’ in smile. It was one of the most popular commercial on the mustard product then. We laughed and rolled up the window and traffic started again. You left Optomation in 2000. I still appreciate all your contribution to the company.

In 2007, we lost our son Katsu in swimming accident in Colorado. We had second memorial service right in Murrysville, Pennsylvania. You were kind enough to give one eulogy for him in the service. It was so nice of you. You and Karen helped me preparing for the court battles in the lawsuit following our son’s accident. That was extremely helpful. We had the first memorial anniversary gathering in our back yard. Surely, you participated together with Karen. Thank you for joining the gathering. A few years later, we had a follow-on memorial, where you brought in your new member Sylvie. We were honored to meet the young addition. Since then we enjoyed seeing the pictures of your family in your back yard and while your family were on camping you sent me. We enjoyed the happy atmosphere emanating from the family snapshots.

During every Christmas time, almost every year, you and I went out for a glass of beer or two over which we tried to catch up what we were up to and to share the new experiences, till last couple of years. We lost contact somehow, --- and now we are hearing this. We cannot cling the beer mug and crack jokes anymore. We will miss you greatly. Those clinging sound is coming back with fond memories. Probably it will stay with our lives through. We pray that your soul may rest in peace.

Poohsan and Tomoko Tamura

Posted by Poohsan Tamura - Murrysville, PA - coworker   September 03, 2020

My heart goes out to you in your sadness. I remember Jeff's kindness and devotion to Sylvie's musical career. I'm grateful to him for allowing Sylvie to join my students in chamber music concerts.

Posted by Carolyn Edwards - Pittsburgh, PA - Teacher   September 02, 2020

I'm so saddened to that Jeff has left us. I hadn't spoken to him in quite some time, but I have so many great memories of playing music and spending time with him. I'm blessed to have been involved with Active Ingredient, where he ran a seamless and professional ship while always challenging us and pushing us to grow. My deepest condolences to Jeff's family. I know he will be missed by many.

Posted by Steven Heineman - Macungie, PA - friend   September 01, 2020

I was deeply saddened by the news of Jeff's passing. He was a kind and gentle soul. Always smiling. He loved to exchange music finds with me via email. And whenever I saw him with Sylvie, it was obvious that she was the apple of Jeff's eye. I want to express my heartfelt sympathy to Karen and Sylvie and Jeff's family. The world has lost a wonderful man. RIP Jeff.

Posted by Paul Steigerwald - Pittsburgh, PA - Friend   August 21, 2020

I was shocked and saddened to hear of Jeff's passing - taken from us too soon. As a young musician from Greensburg, PA, the musical inspiration and influence of Jeff (together with Erin, Jay, Ben and Daryl as Water Shed 5tet) upon me was incalculable. Jeff and company demonstrated world-class discipline, musicianship, and innovation on a local level that was easily at or above the quality of avant-music scenes that we were fans of in NYC or the West Coast. It was so important for us to see musicians to whom we were so geographically close taking these kinds of risks and making unforgettable, timeless music in the process. We thank you for your music and will remember you always, Jeff. My sympathies to all family and friends.

Posted by Adam MacGregor - Mumbai, India - acquaintance   August 21, 2020

I met Jeff in the fall of 1988. He was playing in the basement of the student union of Duquesne University with his band Active Ingredient. The band played songs titled "I Like School Supplies" and "Sobbing in Her Saab," just to name a few. I loved the quirky songs and the sound of the band, and was cracking up at lanky front man playing guitar. After the show, despite being a painfully shy freshman, I introduced myself to who I would come to know as Jeff, Stringer, Stringy, and String, interchangeably. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this wacky guy onstage was a very kind and gracious person, and he thanked me for coming to the show. I bought a bumper sticker and a tape.

A couple of years later, I was invited to Jeff's house to play drums in a group that came to be known as John Thursday. During wildly creative jam sessions and rehearsals, I found that Jeff was not only a kind and generous person, but also profoundly intelligent and inventive, with one crazy sense of humor. The whole of his personality infused his musical style and performance. I was always amazed at the seemingly infinite flow of creative ideas on the guitar, many of them were so crazy we'd laugh out loud, and others were melancholy and thought provoking.

Outside of music, Jeff was interested in a myriad of topics. Hanging out at his house, there was no shortage of books and magazines dealing with art, poetry, nature, and science. In his day job, he dealt with advanced engineering topics far beyond most peoples' understanding, but was so brilliant, he could describe what he did in simple layman's terms.

I am deeply saddened to hear of Jeff's death. For many people involved in creative art forms, it is difficult to find like-minded people who are kind and generous and have a sense of humor. For all of these qualities, I will greatly miss him.

Posted by Steve Burkholder - Lombard, IL - friend   August 21, 2020

My deepest condolences to your family. Jeff was an inspiration to me. I always felt so fortunate that we became friends. We shared so much laughter and good times. I will remember and be inspired by his great humor and intelligence.
Take Care,
Randy

Posted by Randy Chiurazzi - San Diego, CA - Friend   August 21, 2020

Karen and Sylvie and all of Jeff's family: you have our deep condolences. Jeff was such a good person, I will miss him terribly.

Posted by Michael Wagner    August 19, 2020

Dear Karen & Sylvie...We are so very sorry to hear of Jeff's passing..Thinking of you at this difficult time..prayers & love sent for you both...love Gina and Doug and Keira...and family...thinking of you❤

Posted by Gina Edwards - Lexington, NC - Friend   August 19, 2020

Just heard from my husband of Jeff's passing. My husband and I are stunned and deeply saddened.

We were co-workers at Marconi in Warrendale. PA. It was always a pleasure to work with him. He was a good man and will be deeply miss.

Our sincerest condolences to his love ones.

Posted by Poh Yee Holmes - Pittsburgh, PA - Coworker   August 19, 2020

Jeff and I were close pals for 30 years. I first met Jeff in 1990 and went to his bachelor house when he was working for Westinghouse on the suggestion of Mike Bross for a jam. It didn't go well, in fact I don't think we even said much to each other that night. Thankfully Mike set it up to have another go, and this time it clicked. So many great nights hanging out and playing music with him. I remember driving to his house and always looking forward to hearing Jeff work on his feet. What struck me the most was that although he knew exactly what to do, he could always take the next step and fly. His friendship was like that as well.
Re-Reading countless emails from the last several years I realized you just didn't email Jeff back when he wrote. You had to rise up and respond in a way that met his enthusiasm and energy. He wrote in the same way he played musicby making up words and language when the common vocabulary failed to convey where he wanted to go. Remarkable man.

I saw Jeff for the last time last October when he was in San Jose for a convention. He stayed our home in the North Bay for a night and we hiked the hills above SkyWalker Ranch. Beautiful day. He proudly told stories of Sylvie and Karen and of his life. He always saw the beauty in everything. We enjoyed a bottle of wine and cooked some food with my wife. I loved Jeff like a brother. A rare person who you could just pick it up where you left off the last time without missing a beat. The next morning we took a hike around my neighborhood before heading to the airport. I walked that same path this morning with the feeling he was walking right next to me. Same as that October day. His gift to all of us is that he is still with us, gliding on celestial lights. His presence carries thru in a way that speaks to what is highest in all of us. I was incredibly fortunate to have known Jeff. For that I am humbled and truly grateful. Remarkable Man. Remarkable friend.

Posted by david mazza - San Rafael, CA - Friend   August 18, 2020

So sorry to hear of Jeff's passing. He will be missed greatly by those of us who had the opportunity to work with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Posted by Eric Reiners - Coworker   August 18, 2020

My sincere condolences on the loss of Jeff! Thinking of you all at this difficult time.

Posted by Judy Young-Gianni - Asheville, NC - Neighbor   August 18, 2020