Jay Lepreau
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Jay Lepreau "Gone Camping" Jay Lepreau, loving father, husband, brother and friend finished his last race Monday morning under the full moon. A brilliant computer scientist, avid outdoorsman, champion procrastinator and fantastic bicycle racer, he got caught on his long uphill race against multiple myeloma. He and the excellent medical staff at the University of Utah Hospital and the Huntsman Cancer Institute fought bravely with everything they had. The family greatly appreciates their efforts.Jay was born to Dr. Frank J. Lepreau Jr. and Miriam Barwood March 27, 1952. He grew up in Massachusetts and at the Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Central Haiti, where he helped his father treat the impoverished population there. While there in 1971, he met Caroline Kueneman with whom he established a life-long friendship and 12 years ago they married. He loved her dearly. Computer science was more than a job for Jay. He was passionate about operating systems. He was a world class and highly published researcher in the areas of network devices and testbeds and other arcane things that baffled the rest of us. We pretty much thought he was up all night reinventing the internet. He was passionate and competitive about most things he got involved with. More than twenty years ago he saw the redrock country of Southern Utah and loved it enough to move here to work with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance to protect it. A lifelong Quaker and Progressive, he supported causes and candidates that fought poverty, war and injustice. Recently, Jay was most involved with ensuring integrity in the way election votes are counted and with promoting more open and equitable models of scholarly communication. Jay leaves behind loving wife Caroline, children Renee and Frank Lepreau and Erica and Jordan Kueneman, father Frank Jr., Sisters Lucy Ann Lepreau, Judy Keller, Mimi Jose (David) and his friends and his colleagues at the Flux Research Group at the University of Utah. He is preceded in death by his mother Miriam, sister, Susan O'Neill and former wife Linda Stengle Lepreau. We could say a lot of things about Jay, but we couldn't ever say he might actually arrive at any particular event. More than one of us said, "Jay will probably be late for his own funeral," We hope you won't be late, though. Join us at the Quaker Meeting House at 171 East, 4800 South in Murray, Saturday September 20th at 10:30 AM for Greeting, 11:00 for Memorial Celebration of Jay's life, and 12:00 NOON for refreshments. Bring your stories and your love to share. In lieu of flowers, Jay would appreciate donations to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA.org). Funeral Directors, Evans and Early Mortuary.

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Published in The Salt Lake Tribune on Sep. 18, 2008.
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39 entries
June 21, 2016
My dear friend, I miss you so.
douglas orr
November 16, 2010
Today I learned of Jay's passing by noticing that Peter Bauer had made a gift to Haverford College in Jay's memory. I knew Jay way back in 1970-71, when we shared the same dormitory during our freshman year. I remember well his enthusiasm for life and his committment to progressive causes. The world is a poorer place without him in it.
Michael Morse
March 27, 2010
I just learned of Jay's passing from the department newsletter and was very sad to hear of it. I worked with Jay during the '80s and learned a tremendous amount from him, knowledge I still use today. He was a great mentor and a world-class talent.
John Peterson
December 6, 2009
I am so sad to learn of Jay's death. The last time I saw him was in 1972 when he and I vacationed together in the south of Haiti. I have never forgotten him and the once-in-a-lifetime adventures he led us on. I would like to give my condolences also to his kind and wonderful wife Caroline.
George Laven MD, HAS 1971-1973
George Laven
June 5, 2009
I come rather late to this book but my memories of Jay are as clear as ever. I could give you many sailing stories of Jay at Lake Powell but you already know him well.

As long as Kokonauts gather around the campfire each fall, stories of Jay will liven the evening and leave us wistfull.
Jim Thayer
November 5, 2008
I learned today of Jay's death from a SIGCOMM newsletter. I knew Jay from a series of DARPA projects that brought us together at meetings all over the US for many years. I appreciated his kindness and brilliance, and would save my "Why is it ..." questions for him. He had such energy and enthusiasm for his work that he positively shimmered when he talked! The technical world and the world in general are the worse for his absence. My prayers will include Jay and his family.
Sandy Murphy
November 2, 2008
I just heard tonight from a former coworker in the Flux Research Group. I'm sorry to hear of Jay's passing. He gave me a chance when I really needed it.
Eric Pabst
October 30, 2008
It has been over a month since Jay passed away and I still have a hard time accepting that he is no more with us. I was an MS student under Jay back in 2001-2004. In many ways, he shaped my life in the US. I learnt some of the best lessons in life while working for Jay in the Emulab project. As a leader, he inspired some really sound ideas amongst his team. In a world where research success is measured by the catch phrase "publish or perish" sometimes not caring enough for quality or reproducibility of results, Jay was different. His approach of never compromising on quality even if it meant that there would be delays in publishing, demonstrated his integrity and commitment. Despite his great success in pioneering the field of network testbed research, his humility and jovial nature made him very popular in conferences. He leaves behind a great team of people and a legacy of tools and principles in the area of experimental networking research that will live far longer than most other tools developed in academia. Jay worked tirelessly towards making Emulab and Flux hugely successful. To say the least, we'll miss him dearly.
Shashi Guruprasad
October 18, 2008
I am terribly shocked and saddened to hear about Jay's death and the awful illness he had to endure. He was genuinely friendly, compassionate and generous, both with his time and support for people and causes he cared about. He was always looking out for the people that worked for him, the professional community he worked with and the community he lived in. I'm still not sure were he got his energy and ability to work constantly, but still have time to enjoy the outdoors, a concert or a quick game of Ultimate (among countless other things!). I am sure though that wherever he his, he's busy doing something interesting.
Steve Clawson
October 6, 2008
I learned of Jay's passing today. I cannot think of the music community in SLC and the Ave's, without seeing his smile at a gathering or jam. He was a positive force and was a source of comfort to me during a time of loss for our family. I wish to extend my deep condolences and wishes for peace and strength to his family.
Troy LeValley
October 1, 2008
I knew Jay as a fellow Computer Scientist with similar interests, and as a competitor (in pick-up basketball games we had when the opportunity during PI meetings). He was first class in both. We will miss his contributions technically, and more, we will miss him personally. He always kept things lively.

Condolences to his entire family and his research group at Utah.
Rick Schantz
September 30, 2008
I am shocked to learn of Jay's passing today. My first and only impromptu meeting with him last year left a real impression on me. Thank you for all you have done for computer science and engaging young minds.
Pete Ashdown
September 26, 2008
Jay was incredibly talented and kind. I will miss him.
Glenn Judd
September 26, 2008
I've known Jay for many years, and he was a wonderful guy. My students and I, and many others as well, owe a lot to him professionally, making available the Emulab testbed. His work on Mach was highly influential. But most of all he was just a great guy to talk with. I'll sorely miss his presence at systems conferences. My best wishes go out to his family.
Robbert Van Renesse
September 25, 2008
I've been an Emulab user for almost a decade now. While I've met Jay only once, a few years ago at a PI meeting, this brief encounter was enough to confirm to me what I've suspected already - that behind this wonderful project (Emulab) stands an even greater man. I've had great respect for Jay's work over the years, and for kindness he seemed to interleave with everything he did. I truly believe that only an extraordinary person such as Jay could have imagined, funded and realized this big project - and kept it going flawlessly for such a long time. I am incredibly sad Jay is gone, more so since I didn't know how seriously ill he was. The research community has lost a great man, and he will be dearly missed. I am comforted with knowing that his legacy will live on.
Jelena Mirkovic
September 22, 2008
I am so sorry you left us so early in life, Jay. I much enjoyed the many times that I sat in on your stimulating classes, and I will miss no longer being able to do that. Indeed, I even enjoyed the excellent pizzas that you provided for that class. CS will miss you too, not just for the vast amount of money that you brought to our U, but also for your excellent research, and your positive influence in the dept. Your are huge loss to me personally.

-Frank Stenger
Frank Stenger
September 21, 2008
To me, Jay is as much a symbol of my memory of the U as anything else. His encouragement, his energy, and his smile got me through many long weeks and months during my PhD (1995). I wish I could've met him when I visited the U last year (characteristically, he was late enough that I gave up :-). I admire him and I will miss him very much.
Guru Banavar
September 20, 2008
My wife Suma and I are shocked and saddened to learn the sudden passing away of Jay. Our thoughts and prayers are with Carolin, kids, his father, sisters and the current members of the flux project.

I have known Jay ever since I came to UofU in 1992. I am privileged to have worked with him at the beginning of the flux project and grateful to him for allowing me to use his lab when I visited the department to wrap up my Ph.D. Through him, my wife came in contact with his wife Carolin who introduced her to the book club and they became our family friends during our stay at Utah. When I visited UofU couple of years back he passionately explained about his current Emulab project and the infrastructure they had built to sustain it within the department. That was the last I saw Jay and spoke to him. Ironically, the last email that I have from him in my mail box is the one he forwarded last year to the entire department/others about the live webcast of Randy Pausch talk on "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams". I came to know that Jay has terminal cancer from John Carter last week. I thought of calling him/sending email but got this news before I could do that.

Jay was such a person who would stop to help some random kid fly the kite and then rush to catch his flight. To give an example, one Saturday afternoon I was working on a class project in the lab and he was running around looking for something and just stopped to have brief chat with me. When I mentioned missing watching Saturday college football highlights, he went back to his room, dug up a TV antenna and with my help moved an old TV in the lab so that it will catch signal. Just when he was done helping me, he realized he is late for an important engagement and ran out of the lab. That was Jay - brilliant as well as caring. I was amazed at the number of late nights and weekends he put in to keep abreast with OS research, review/publish and apply for funding so that he can sustain his lab/staff/students do projects that they liked and felt useful to the OS community.

We will miss him.

Ravi and Suma (San Jose, CA)
Ravindra Kuramkote
September 20, 2008
We are so sorry for your loss. We appreciate you and the great friend you are to Gordy.
All our love,
Gordon & Sandy Wilson
Gordon & Sandy Wilson
September 20, 2008
Jay was my thesis advisor and then boss when I was a graduate student and then research staff at the U starting in the late 1990s. He gave me many opportunities. Jay often pushed me (often mere hours or days before any relevant deadline, of course) to submit and publish work. Jay encouraged us to work on projects that interested us. But even more, Jay with his big, staccato laugh was fun and interested and encouraging outside of work. It was always good to catch up with him every year or so when I visited Salt Lake and I will miss him.
Patrick Tullmann
September 20, 2008
Jay was extremely passionate about the way he led his life. His enthusiasm and energy were highly infectious, and I learned a great deal from him in graduate school. I will miss Jay a lot.
Abhijeet Joglekar
September 19, 2008
We were so hoping that medical intervention would succeed in countering Jay's illness. We feel very sad that this was not to be, especially, of course, for his family's sake.

We had limited contact with Jay, seeing him only when he was in town to see Renee, and an outing was shared. Jay was a very enjoyable guy to visit with, and exhibited a curiosity that included avid attention to family, friends, current events, and his career. His humble attitude left that last item as a very secondary issue when socializing.

We last spent time with him a year ago when he was up for a presentation at a U of M conference, but his focus, despite having a pivotal role in this presentation, was on family, not the very technical format he was responsible for the following morning. He was one of those unusual folks with an enhanced intellectual technical skill set who also had excellent people skills as well. His interest in others was easily incited, despite any background or occupational differences that often have the potential to cause a disassociation impetus as common ground is assumed to be lacking.

We’ll sincerely miss Jay, and the opportunity to have developed a closer association with him over the upcoming years. Our hearts go out to Caroline, Renee, Frank, Erica and Jordan, as well as Jay’s father and other family members.

Jesse Mortenson’s parents--
Toni & Mark
September 19, 2008
Jay and I enjoying a relaxing soak on a side canyon of the Colorado River 1985?
I'm really sorry I didn't have a chance to see Jay one more time before he passed away. My condolences to Caroline and the kids.

Jay and I became good friends when he arrived in SLC in the early 80s, I recall. I was running the Computer Science computing facility at the time and Jay starting hanging around was was soon working with me. He was largely responsible for introducing Unix to the Utah crowd in the early 80s, and became a significant contributor to the various BSD releases. I still remember stringing the first ethernets on campus with Jay (remember that old 1/2" thick yellow cable?). Jay and I ran the '84 Usenix conference together in SLC, and I still remember late nights getting the Proceedings ready for press on a finicky new all-digital phototypesetter, the first time that Usenix published the proceedings before (in our case hours before...) the event!

I also remember some great backpacking and river running trips. I had taken up Kayaking a few years earlier, and got Jay to join me (I recall teaching him how to roll) but he quickly passed me, certainly in fearlessness. Just a few months after Jay started kayaking we scored a sought-after private Grand Canyon permit and Jay of course was determined to kayak the Grand after only a few days on other rivers. We thought he was nuts! But he attacked the Colorado like a crazy man; I still have 8mm movies of Jay trying to surf the big hole in Crystal rapids, getting knocked over, rolling back up, and doing it again and again (while I was safely watching him from the shore).

I left SLC in '86 for Ann Arbor; Jay came east for my wedding to Ellen in '90 (I still have the text of a crazy toast he gave in song and verse) and I saw him a few times after that on trips back to SLC, but largely lost touch, to my loss and regret.

Jay was a great friend and colleague, who put his heart and soul into everything he did. He was often at the office when I left for the evening and still there when I arrived in the morning (I even recall he kept a sleeping bag and pad under his desk.)

I'll continue to remember Jay as a vibrant and caring person who brought joy and enthusiasm to everyone and everything he encountered. We lost a great human being and friend
Randy Frank
September 19, 2008
We all feel proud of a life so well lived. Jay was a devoted and an excellent researcher. I have had the opportunity to work with him during my studies in UofU. He was a wonderful teacher and a mentor. I used to see him working so hard till late nights in his office and his passion and dedication towards his work used to always amaze and inspire me. We will miss him deeply.
Indrajeet (Inder) Kumar
September 19, 2008
I can't possibly express the sense sadness and loss I've felt since learning of Jay's unexpected passing on Monday. Although I had known of his health struggle, when I last saw him in March he was still so full of his usual energy and optimism that I never doubted for a moment that he would pull through. I'm still in denial.

I owe so much to Jay - my career, for starters. Before meeting him I was just a young geek with ideas and a fancy for operating systems; he invited me into his group, gave me a workstation named after a brand of liquor, infected me with his passion for systems research, taught me how to develop and express the crazy ideas we came up with together, and patiently nurtured me into a member of the global systems community. No one else in the world deserves my gratitude more for getting me started on my professional path.

Jay also taught me some of the most important practical lessons for dealing with the world - such as that doing anything before the last minute is a waste of time, and that when in doubt about the rules it's easier to get forgiveness than permission. The extent and frequency with which these lessons have continued to serve me well further testifies to Jay's deep pragmatic wisdom.

Without Jay, I probably would have passed four relatively ordinary years of college; with him and his group, I was instead granted seven extraordinary and intensely meaningful years of pursuing shared passions, highlighted not only by the requisite last-minute all-night hacking sessions but also by trips around the world together for conferences, culminating in memorable philosophical discussions over drinks in hotel bars. Even after I had moved away, he continued to nurture and encourage me in extraordinary ways - one memorable example being a brilliant song he wrote (at the last minute, of course) and sang at my wedding.

I feel a bit selfish for dwelling so much on all the things Jay did for me, when he did so much for so many others as well, including other undergraduates he similarly nurtured into systems research. Not only his family and friends but the entire systems community will deeply feel the loss of his presence, and we will remember him for all the warmth, energy, and passion he showed for the things (and people) he believed in.
Bryan Ford
September 19, 2008
Jay had more confidence in my ability to succeed in academic computer science than I did. His encouragement and one useful piece of advice in particular have helped me get started in a career I love.
Mike Jones
September 19, 2008
Jay was a good friend and close colleague during my tenure at the University of Utah. I remember late nights debugging; fun at Usenix conferences; and time spent just chatting. As so often happens, I lost touch after leaving Utah in 1987. I am saddened to hear of his passing. Our community has lost one of its quiet greats.
Spencer Thomas
September 19, 2008
Jay helped me immensely when starting my professional career by supporting me and providing me with many opportunities I would not have had without him. I am very grateful for that.
Godmar Back
September 19, 2008
My condolences to Jay's family.

Jay was a great computer science researcher. The whole community will miss him. He was a great advisor and teacher for me. He taught me how to learn. He was a source of constant support and encouragement for me. I will miss him deeply.
Parveen Patel
September 18, 2008
Jay and I worked together for the last five years of his life. It is hard, probably, for the general public to appreciate just how special he was. There are a great many computer scientists who can write brilliant papers, show deep insight into hard problems, build elegant prototypes. Much rarer are the small number that can build something, make it work, and keep it running day after day, week after week, year after year. Still fewer are the tiny number that can build something that everyone wants to use. Still fewer are the minuscule number that build something everyone copies and incorporates in their own work. Finally, the number that can do all that -- and do it at a University, on a shoestring budget, kept going with a tiny, competent, extremely dedicated -- can be counted on the fingers of one hand. After an amputation.

Jay was one of that tiny, tiny, number. He was a true giant, admired by all of us. The fact that he could do this speaks volumes about the man. Not simply about his technical knowledge and skill, though of course that was formidable. Mostly, however, it speaks to his personal character. Building this and keeping it going requires extraordinary dedication, determination, and, most important, the charisma that comes from being a genuinely wonderful person. Nobody has to work at a University, nobody has to fund it -- Jay kept his group together and kept them funded and going because, at the end of the day, they simply didn't want to be anywhere else or with anyone else.

When Jay got sick late last year, he realized that Emulab was his life's work, his art, and he wanted to use the time he had left -- he and we thought there would be several years more of it -- to advance and spread it. If anything, he got even more dedicated. I vividly remember one night in February when we were putting finishing touches on a proposal together. We were doing what research computer scientists do -- revising text, checking budgets, emailing each other final last-minuted edits as the proposal deadline got closer and closer. I remember looking up at the clock in my study in California and 2 AM, and thinking to myself, "I'm 51 years old, too old to be doing this nonsense -- I'm stupid. But it's 3 AM where Jay is, and he has *cancer*. Now that man is crazy". I didn't say it to Jay, unfortunately -- he would have gotten a kick out of that.

The last time I saw Jay was, of course, at a meeting in Washington in July. His hair was gone, and he'd lost a lot of weight. He had a skin rash, and had to spend several hours a day treating it. When he had a memory slip (rare) he said that he had "chemotherapy brain". But for all that, his trademark humor and good nature were omnipresent. he treated his disease as a minor annoyance. He was optimistic, as we all were. He had a new doctor at Huntsman who was an expert in Myeloma, and whose patients had an average life expectancy of nine years past diagnosis. I felt sure that Jay had several years left, and expected that the next time I saw him the side effects of chemo would be past. I also hoped that new treatments would emerge and he'd be with us indefinitely, and healthy indefinitely.

The meeting broke up early -- miracle of miracles. Jay was going to stay another day in DC, and my flight was out late. We had some time to talk, and so we did -- about the projects we had going together, of course, but also about our families, a little; mutual reminiscing about Berkeley and old friends; nature, art, politics, science. It was a wonderful afternoon, and it is with a great deal of sadness that I realize it was the last one. A great man and a good friend. The world will miss him, and so will I.
Rick McGeer
September 18, 2008
We had the pleasure to know Jay through cycling. It's hard to be unhappy on a bike, and Jay certainly exemplified this. Through everthing Jay always smiled. He will certainly be missed in the cycling community.
Doug and Shelly Jensen
September 18, 2008
Caroline, Jordan & family,
We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you. We are so grateful to have you in our lives.

With love,

Rex, Paige and family
Paige Meriwether
September 18, 2008
I am sorry that Jay left us so soon. I want to thank him for his friendship and support to Colin and I over the years. He truly loved his family and is so proud of the loving and supportive way you have come together as a family. My love to you all. Please keep in touch- there will be some moon light adventures to do in Jay's memory.
Love, Nancy, George and Colin
Nancy Inaba
September 18, 2008
Good bye Jay,
Your energy, passion, fun, and care for the others have affected so many of us.
Alessandro Forin
September 18, 2008
Jay was a fantastic computer scientist, and the Emulab system he built will be enabling advanced research in the field for many years to come. What a service to researchers everywhere and humanity at large.

Jay was also one of the nicest people I've ever met. He made all those aroud him feel welcome and heard.

The greater the man, the more painful and the more people hurt when they finally pass out of this world, but I am so glad to have known Jay.
Dave Maltz
September 18, 2008
Jay had so much energy! I can't believe he's gone. The systems community will miss him dearly. My sincere condolences go to his family.
Rich Draves
September 18, 2008
I will always remember the intensity with which Jay lived his life. He will be missed.
Wilson Hsieh
September 18, 2008
I will always remember Jay, dancing like a wild man at our wedding in 2002. He could sure cut loose! My sympathies and thoughts are with you all.
Renee Brooks
September 18, 2008
I am sorry for your painful loss.

I had the pleasure of working with Jay on several occasions. His strong intellect, deep experience, and passion will be sorely missed by all.
Patrick Lardieri
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