I was very sad to hear of Jef's death, and my sympathy goes out to the entire family for their loss. Having worked at AQ from the early 70's into the 90's while taking classes at the same time, I think I took every film class Jef taught. His classes were my favorites, and Jef was a great teacher as I (along with so many others) never looked at a movie in the same way again. From Hitchcock to westerns and to pop culture films, I now watch movies with the many things he taught us to observe in mind. I still have the papers I wrote and had to laugh many times at his red-ink critique in the margins. I attended many events where Jef was also present, and he was fun and interesting to listen to about movies and many other topics.
The stories at the memorial service regarding Jef's passions for baseball, movies, and most of all for his family were funny and touching. Kay and family, although his loss will leave a big hole in your hearts, it is nice that you have so many wonderful and loving memories to cherish. He was such a great guy.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Jef and I first worked together in 1976 when we accepted the co-directorship of the Aquinas College overseas Study Program in Tully Cross, Ireland. The entire Jefchak family accompanied Jef, and it was during the great variety of experiences in that small, wonderful Irish village that I learned to love them all. Jef was an easy man to work with, as this program developed, and each family member added spice to our lives. Jef loved the challenges of this new program, loved the students, the people in the village, the beauty of the countryside, and the study of Irish literature. His was a treasured friendship through the years. God bless you, Jef, and keep talking with us, keep reminding us of the importance of friendship, and the ways you let so many of us into your own life. Our lives are richer because of you. Thank you so much.
Alice Wittenbach, OP
Jef was on the hiring team when I was first hired by Aquinas. After that, he became my department chair, then I became his department chair, and on we went back and forth for 30 years. He was an easy man to love, who always wore his foibles and vulnerabilities up front and we loved him for that and for his unfailing enthusiasm for and engagement in whatever was pre-occupying him at the moment, whether it was baseball, movies or politics. Joseph Campbell said we can never underestimate the effect a truly alive and vital person has on all he meets. That's the kind of man Jef was.
Lines for Andrew Jefchak
Jesus Remember me
when you come into
I am thinking this morning
of the suddenness with which
we were presented with
the gift of sorrow.
In the shadow of this sadness
I understand that
what the heart loves
it loves in silence.
Speech is irreverent,
only the rhythm
and the pulse of the heart,
knows what to celebrate
and how to salute both
our coming and going.
Herbert Woodward Martin
Dearest Kay and Family:
These are frail words above and they do not come close to the value I have placed on your long-standing and on-going friendship, but you are in my thoughts and prayers at this very horrendous time.
an embrace of fellowship,
Dear Jefchak Family, I am so sorry for your loss. Although teaching, literature and films, were Andy's professional passion, baseball was his folly. We would have many conversations about the upcoming season, Aquinas College baseball, the White Sox and the Tigers. Andy was a regular on our baseball trips to see the Tigers. This past summer we went to Chicago to see the Sox & Tigers play. I sat with Andy as we went thru Northern Indiana and into Chicago and he told me about his youth and even pointed out some historical sites of his earlier days. Of course, the Sox won and Andy was the only happy person on the return trip. Although far too short, Andy's time on earth was definitely a "home run".
Terry Bocian/Athletic Director/Aquinas College
Andy's grandchildren's memories of their grandfather were so lovingly expressed at today's memorial service. Along with his own poems to family members we heard and quotes from his last Valentine to Kay reflected his own deep love for his family. IT was a beautiful service and a fine tribute to a man who will be missed by so many. I had the pleasure of being his student as an under-graduate years ago and again in the last class he taught at OLLIE. I pray for his family who have experienced the greatest loss.
My prayers and Love go out to Andy's family. Dr. Jefchak was a thinking man's professor who helped thousands of students truly learn how to learn. May God bless you during this tough time.
I am lucky to have a special volume of memories about Jef as we were young writers and close friends during our years at Indiana University. If he didn't show up at some dead class, I would go to our favorite theater in downtown Bloomington, knowing I would find him there. Before theaters were emptied between showings, we should watch movies through twice, such as GIANT and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. I learned a lot about movies from Jef, of course, but we shared an endless college dialogue. I chatter only, having no way to convey the importance of our college friendship, and, in more recent years, our email correspondence. Others may have expected this, but his death came as a terrible shock. Jef will certain reside in my memory so long as this memory is still attached to this body. My love to all who loved him.
He was a guy who certainly had an effect on my formative years by helping give GR an introduction and insight to good films. I'll remember going to AQ in the 70s to see foreign and independent movies and how they changed my world view. I thank him for that.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to take film courses with him at OLLI. I view films, now, with a more appreciative lens.
Dr. Jefchak was one of my most favorite professors at AQ. Such a smart and humorous man to be around. I feel blessed to have known him. Praying for peace, comfort, & healing for his family & friends.
He was passionate, sincere and fallible. He loved his family and was curious about life. I will never forget him. I'd always hoped for another conversation. His own writing is as inspiring as his teaching. If you wanted the moon, I would try to make a start, but I would rather give my heart. See you on the other side, Sir.
'Jef" was the best teacher ever...I've never watched a movie the same way after taking his film classes at AQ, especially a Hitchcock movie. Even after I moved to the West coast I still read his film reviews in the GR Press on line. The community has lost a fine man and heaven gained an amazing angel. My sincere condolences to the family he left behind.
Kay and family, How many wonderful memories I have of Jeff and you---dinners with the Karsinas, good conversation, happy times. Of course, I certainly remember Aquinas in the 70s---I think that we were all just starting out.
My sons remember Pegeen babysitting; I am sure that she could tell some stories about that.
Please accept my most sincere sympathy as you all journey with your grief.
Jeff will be missed by so many. What a contribution he made to our lives.
I only took one class from Jef and that was in the spring semester of 1972--Literature and the Motion Picture. Hands down, it was the best class I attended during my four years at Aquinas. I even kept my exams from that class (essay exams in those little blue notebooks) because I was so impressed with his questions and how they made me really think about details--both in the novels we read and the adapted films we watched. Once I told him how much that class meant to me and he was shocked. Shocked when he found out I took the class in early 1972. "Linda, that was probably the very first time I taught an entire class devoted to the subject. I was always concerned about the curriculum for the course because it was such a new thing." His statement confirmed what I already knew: a superb class taught by a brilliant professor. One of the best. I send my sincere condolences to Kay and the rest of Jef's family.
My condolences and warm regards to the Jefchak family.
Having come from a Catholic education upbringing prior to first semester English Comp. with Dr. Jefchak, I may have thought my writing skills passable. He really caught my attention with my work scribbled over with red ink! I loved every minute of every class I took, which was one every semester the remainder of my college years. The man and his tutelage made a huge impression on me. I'm so proud to have been a student that eventually earned a hard fought "A". No small thing. I too will never watch Hitchcock without thinking of this teacher. He lives in us all that walk with the knowledge he so willingly provided and was eager to share.
I am so sorry to hear about Jef. I have such fond memories of him and you, Kay. It has been so long since we have connected Kay, but know that you are in my thoughts. LaDon
A true rarity - a professor becoming a lifelong friend. Jef and I could fire "Citizen Kane" quotes back and forth with gleeful abandon and finish each others' references while they were still being spoken. My gosh, to sit in his living room on Breton and watch a 16mm projection of "It's A Wonderful Life" was truly magical. I am positive that the discussions the two of us had over the editing of "Jaws" helped lead me on the path I chose. Jef acted in the film that got me into NYU (playing the head of the film rating board who happened to be blind), and as late as two years ago we exchanged our magnum opi -- his first novel and the first feature documentary I edited. Kay... I loved the guy. I loved hanging out with you and the kids. I loved his writing and his style. Jef was a pivotal influence in my life, and I am SO fortunate to have known him.
My deepest sympathy to all of the family. Jef will be missed--he had an infectious passion for literary and film art that enriched my life and outlook. I am a grateful former student and so sorry to hear of his sudden passing.
I have many fond memories of Dr. Jefchak, or “Jef” as we knew him at Aquinas. I majored in literature, and took Jef for many classes. In all of the years of school, from kindergarten through law school, I can think of few teachers who left a lasting impression upon me. Jef was one of those few. I love to watch movies, and watch them with a discerning eye, an eye given to me as a gift by Jef. I have fond memories of Alfred Hitchcock, Casablanca, award-winning chili, and running the Old Kent River Bank run together. I found myself choked up when I read the notice in the paper, and can only imagine the pain Jef's family must feel. My deepest condolences to the Jefchaks. A great tree has fallen and will be missed.
As a former colleague of Jeff's at Aquinas, I always appreciated his sense of humor and committment to Aquinas. He was always a valued member of the Aquinas community. My sincere regrets to the family on this loss. A good man!
Pegeen and the Jefchack Family,
Jef - Gone too soon and gave so much!! He touched so many in more ways than we will ever know. That is the greatness of Jef!!
Pegeen, I know that all the Ireland '81 are praying for you and your family suring this time of deep sorrow!
May God hold him in the palm of His hand!
Cherish the memories!
Kay and family,
So sorry for your loss. Prayers. He was such a fantastic professor who really had great passion for what he taught.
Deb (Kiel) Steele 1988
A great teacher and a wonderful man. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Kay and Family,
First, let me say how extremely sorry I am for your loss. Jef was such a nice man and always had an interesting story to tell. I remember lots of laughing when the Agnew's and Jefchaks got together. He will be greatly missed. Thoughts are with you during this sad time. You have wonderful memories!
Sincere condolences on the passing of a great Professor and a fantastic human being.
Our prayers and wishes extend to the Jefchak family -- he was one of the greatest Aquinas professors ever, and will be deeply missed.
Peace and blessings, Roberta & Larry Lewis-Barton
I am so sorry. I loved him a lot. My condolences, love and prayers. I remember spending summers at your house on Briarwood. We always had so much fun. Love you all.
Sending big hugs and lots of love. Jef was one of thee best Professors Aquinas had to offer. I have been blessed to have taken a few of his classes. My life is richer because of him. <3
We are so shocked and saddened to hear of Jef's unexpected death. We are thinking of you and your family.
XO Chris and Jack VanderWall
Kay, I was reading the GR Press online yesterday and noticed that Jef had passed away. My sincere sympathy to you and your family.
My deepest condolences to Pegeen, Irene, Scott, Katie and all of Jef's loving family. I'm so very sorry for your sudden loss.
Oh, what a loss. So sorry to hear of this. He was one of the best professors I had at Aquinas. Hitchcock, American Westerns, the classics-he taught us so much about a topic he loved. A bright mind such as Dr. Jefchak could never retire. May you all find peace in happy memories of a great fella.
Kay, I am shocked and saddened by the news of Jef's death. He was one of the best profs I had the pleasure of learning from at Aquinas. It was really my privilege to have the opportunity to enjoy his company at the various Social functions that he attended with you during the years that you and I worked together. Unfortunately I am in Florida right now so I will not be able to attend the memorial. Please know that I will be thinking of you and your family.
Kay, My thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless.
Kay and Family.
We are so shocked at your loss of Jef. Both of our families shared many times on Briarwood. Sarah saw Vinnie's posting on Facebook. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all.
To Peg and all the Jefchak family, I am so saddened to hear of Jef's sudden passing. He was my professor at Aquinas and a friend. I will be in attendance at the memorial on Friday. Please accept my love and deepest sympathies. Dr. Jefchak left a huge impression on me as a student and it's in part because of him and Aquinas that I eventually became an English teacher myself. He leaves a long legacy. May his memory be eternal. Love, Stathi Afendoulis
Our hearts go out to you, Kay, Vinny, Pegeen and Katie. Kay, we are so glad we had the opportunity to chat and reminisce in November. We're not yet sure we can make the memorial service, but we'll try. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
God bless and love to you all,
Matt and Elise
Andy was a passionate professor at Aquinas. His EH 363 English RomantIc Lit was among my favorite undergraduate courses because of his wit, intelligence and charm. Also, I will never watch a Hitchcock movie again without being mindful of the unusual role that staircases play. I'm deeply saddened by his sudden departure from his friends at the college. Sincere sympathy, Pat Kozal