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July 17, 2018

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Preview Entry
July 17, 2018

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 Memories & Condolences
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May 26, 2018
I lived in the same dorm as Jack at NMH and I considered Jack a good friend. He was a great guy. He was a true scholar and academian. He was very driven, competetive, and he knew what he wanted. He had one of the strongest personalities of anyone I know. I'm sorry to hear of his passing.
December 12, 2017
At the risk of understating the obvious, especially for those of us who knew him well, Jack did not traffic in the middle. No, the middle is where you'll find the rest of us. Indeed, Jack's wont was the periphery, as he was ever the edge-seeking, mercurial maverick. His was a presence that was equal parts big, bawdy and brilliant and, I would proffer, also balancing and necessary. By any measure, our world is now a more conventional place, with a tilt decidedly more toward the center, and, for better or for worse, is a MUCH, MUCH less interesting place, so much so that I find myself consumed by the impulse to reclaim the absurdly overused phrase, one-of-a-kind and forever retire it with the ascension of this singular spirit.

As we all lean on each other to deal with this shocking loss, my outreach has revealed a particularly interesting, though not surprising, connecting thread, and welcomed, shared comfort in the stories the endless, barely believable, borderline cartoonish adventures that Jack, almost as a birthright, seemed to be routinely in the midst of, while occasionally insinuating others as unwitting accomplices (sound familiar?)! It is my fervent hope that our collective grief, among other things, will spawn gatherings among us to commiserate and swap Jack stories tales that would be ill-served by anything short of live renditions, and that would no doubt simultaneously invite challenges from the non-initiated over what would appear to be over-the-top embellishments, while at the same time invoke knowing nods from those of us who know better!

If you'll allow me an indulgent interlude, no remembrance of Jack would be complete for me without acknowledging our dear mutual friend, Gary Ahwah, who rounded out a seemingly improbable trio that formed during our days at Harvard Business School. Gary and Jack were 1st year section-mates who formed a fast friendship, one they inexplicably invited me to join for reasons I still do not understand. That said, the reasons why I accepted the invitation have never been a mystery to me, optics aside.

Firstly, Jack was a dreamer of the first order, unlike anyone I had ever met before or since, and by dint of DNA and hard wiring, he was the polar opposite of me. His unabashed audacity, undoubtedly inspired by his equally unbridled father, fueled a life and carriage totally unencumbered by fear or reservation. So, his blind spots and missteps notwithstanding, Jack epitomized an uninhibited world view and self-confidence that I both admired and envied!

Secondly, Jack was one of the best listeners that I have ever encountered, a compliment that his bombast would seemingly belie. And, as someone with precious few listeners in his life, I place a significant premium on this particular trait, and Jack was one of the best.

Finally, I REALLY, REALLY enjoyed making him laugh, which was not especially difficult to do, particularly when recounting tales of his own misadventures. Bravado notwithstanding, Jack had no problem laughing at himself, which was one of his most endearing qualities.

I should wrap up now, but, of course, closing any tribute to Jack, by definition, would have to be willfully arbitrary and grossly premature. How could it not, as Jack was constantly writing new chapters to his story? That said, one instructive way to attempt the impossible task of summing up this, say it with me, one-of-a-kind friend, would be to profile just SOME of the more curious and far-flung qualities that made Jack so!
Among other things, Jack was a country music connoisseur, Black conservative, Republican, Naval Academy Women's Basketball fan, break dancer, historian, absolutely the smartest person I know, and, most impressively, for the follicly challenged like me, HE HAD ALL OF HIS HAIR, every single solitary God damn strand!!!
Jack, you'll be sorely missed and NEVER forgotten!

Thanks for the memories, laughs, and inspiration! Your friend,
Lionel
December 12, 2017
December 12, 2017