Jeff was my employer first, starting in 2004 or 2005. I worked for him for several years and several different times, at the bike shop that changed my life in various ways and for the better. I learned a lot from him, and I benefitted from his generosity, for example after I had a serious bike wreck in 2007.
But we were better friends when we didn’t work together. And it was a joy to get to know his wife, Ruth, and their daughter, Liz, two amazing, funny, smart, badass strong women. He was great fun, and hilarious, and irreverent in all the best ways. He liked meat: there was a lot of grilling and smoking at the bike shop and lots of Sparkle burgers and Guy’s Meat Market. He was a drinking buddy and occasionally even a riding buddy. He never once missed my birthday. I remember an amazing birthday card he and Ruth gave me one year that had a chihuahua on it, and it played the Mexican hat dance. That card always brings a smile to my face. It’s in a box in my storage unit in central Texas now.
We had good times. I remember some silliness (that shouldn’t be described too closely) at my parents’ ranch property out west of town on a bike race weekend. Lots of silliness at the bike shop (and just as much angst) (and lots of beer). When he came out to visit his brother in Washington state, when Chris and I lived there, it was such a joy to see him. He was an essentially fun-loving, good-hearted man.
These pictures are screen shots from videos taken the last night at Bikesport, the night of the “tell it like it is” t-shirts, after the party had mostly shut down – I think it was just Chris and I and Jeff and Ruth left, and Chris and Jeff were negotiating over some Sram cables and housing. Jeff was overjoyed to be heading into retirement.
I’m sad he didn’t get as many retired years as he deserved. I’m devastated at the loss I feel now, and for Ruth and Liz, whose feelings I can scarcely imagine. But I’m so very glad I got to know Jeff. He was a good man and a good friend. Love you, buddy.
Jeff’s memorial service is today in Houston, so I am missing it, but don’t think for a second I’m not there in spirit.