Johannes Dianovich Claerbout, 25, a lifelong resident of Stanford, died of a massive heart attack at his job in Mountain View Aug. 20. The youngest of three boys, "Jos" was born in Mountain View and attended Nixon Elementary School, Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School, Gunn High School and Pomona College.
After graduating from Pomona with degrees in economics and religion, he became an engineer at WebTV in Mountain View. He taught himself Web design and computer engineering, and in his spare time, he loved to knit his trademark "toessel" hats, which he displayed on his Web site, formerly www.toessel.com He wrote screenplays and short stories and taught himself massage; he spoke Spanish and had just started learning German when he died. He was also an amateur filmmaker, and recently filmed a Silicon Valley version of Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window," set in office cubicles. He was a volunteer bike mechanic, worked with Habitat for Humanity, taught English in Ecuador, and traveled to Alaska twice to study Japanese and work on a fishing boat and for the Green party. "He fit into 25 years what most people don't do in several lifetimes," said Caryn Huberman, a friend of the Claerbouts. Claerbout loved a good bargain; he often shopped at Ragtime, a local thrift store, and his older brother Andrew recalled that Jos often came home thrilled with his latest 29-cent shirt. Family members say Jos will be remembered for his enthusiasm and extraordinary good humor. "He had no inhibitions about living life as fully as he could, and he loved everyone he came in contact with," said his brother Andrew. "He knew all the cafeteria workers (at Pomona College) by their first names, and he probably knew what their grandmothers were like too. Everything to him was amazing; everything in his life was superlative, and he wanted everyone else to experience life in that way."
His father is a professor of geophysics at Stanford University. He is survived by his parents, Jon and Diane Claerbout of Stanford; and two brothers, Andrew Claerbout of Burlington, VT and Martin Claerbout of Maui, Hawaii. Services have been held. Donations may be sent to the American Heart Association or to the charity of the donor's choice.
(adapted from Palo Alto Weekly obituary ).