Zonker Harris: For the past six months I sat two cubes down from Jos. He had many, many friends. He always had a positive outlook on life. I can honestly say that I had never seen him depressed, or disheartened. Even when things were difficult at work, he could find something positive to be thankful for. He was also one of the most articulate folks that I've known at Web-TV. He was clever, insightful, and had a wonderful sense of humor. I can assure you that he will also be sorely missed by his dozens of friends, and the hundreds of folks that he talked with each week.
Jos remembered everyone. He called me by name, and he spoke to me in a way that made me feel like we had been friends for a long time, reuniting after a few weeks apart. His enthusiasm in making a personal connection with people was an inspiration to many of us. I hope that we can all pitch in to fill that gap. I will try to pay more attention to other co-workers, to honor my memory of Jos.
... ... ... The year I met Jos, I wore my "Dilbert's Boss" hair. This was just after the late-summer "Worst Hawaiian Shirt" contest at Web-TV...I thought I surely had the prize clinched, until I saw Jos in a Muumuu...he had the legs to pull off that look, and I won a small potted flower for second place.
Jos really liked my hair. I had let it grow at the end of July, and finally got a short haircut in early October, and I saved the long, curly locks from that shearing. I made some plastic supports, and a couple wire supports, and then I stuck my own curls to the plastic with some brown model paint.
Art Bobroskie: I cannot say that I was a close friend of Jos. I wish I had been. I work as a QA lead for the Japanese service. I would bump into Jos in the halls and occassionally have lunch with Jos, Joel and their lunch gang. I tend to have a dour demeanor and a meeting with Jos would end with me smiling in spite of myself.
The day before he died, I walked the pond trail after lunch with Jos, Joel, and Renée. I loved the way that Jos would consider the possibilities beyond the normal boundaries. A lovely walk, spirited conversation with goodhearted people and no clue of the terrible twist in the path to come.
The next day after hearing the unbelievable news, I called my wife Marty. She and Jos are kindred spirits, who shine the joy of life upon those they encounter. She had met Jos nearly a year earlier and had planned an exchange of a Toessel for some of Marty's jewelry. Marty had just opened an old message from Jos and was thinking of him, when I called her with the tragic news. If either of our children come to possess the intelligence, infectious good humor and radiance of Jos, then I will consider ourselves successful parents.
Brava Services: Brava services was paying Jos while he was working at WebTV. We often do not get to have a lot of interaction with the people we pay and who are legally our employees. Jos however had a significant impact on many in our office. I had the pleasure of talking to Jos a couple of times on the phone. Both times I hung up the phone and commented to our staff what a great guy he seemed to be. He was full of energy, absolutely charming and gracious.
You may wonder why someone with very little contact with your son is writing, but I wanted to convey that he had a positive impact on people whose lives he barely touched.
Neil Laughlin: I had the pleasure of working with Jos here at WebTV. We weren't very close -- I don't think we ever worked in the same city, let alone the same building -- but my responsibilities would frequently bring me into contact with Jos. When it happened, it always left me in a better, happier mood. Jos's sense of humor was amazing, and his good cheer seemed infectious. It was a distinct pleasure to be around him, and his loss is a terrible sadness. I am positive he will be missed by everyone who knew him, and by all of the people who should have known him.
Lennart Lovstrand: Jos was a collegue and a friend, and although we weren't all that close, he nevertheless left an everlasting impression that will live with me for the rest of my days. He used to come over and ask me questions while offering backrubs in return -- a most excellent proposition for which I was more than willing to give any answer he needed! We also had dinner together once over at the Hunan Kitchen. I remember it well because Jos gave me a piece of advice that uncunningly fit an issue that had been on my mind for a while. I thought about it a lot, and although I wasn't very good at acting on the advice, it stuck in me from that day onwards.
Paul Erickson: I didn't know Jos in "real life" I suppose, never met him in person. But in my capacity as a "WebTV guru" of sorts I came to realize what a dynamic and positive force Jos was everywhere he went, and to everyone he came in contact with.
From brief correspondence over technical problems in WebTV service, and reading his cogent and light-hearted posts to the message boards at http://developer.webtv.net/ I gained some insight into his intensity and never-let-go-till-I've-got-it approach to problem solving.
You were blessed to have him, for the time he was given. I will never forget him.
He seemed a happy man, it's obvious he was a light in the lives of everyone he met.
Ray Hill: I think that he was quite aware that he could be leaving at any moment. That's why he was always so uninterested in material goods and so vibrantly interested in life experiences and being close to other people. While it is certainly tragic that Jos left at such a young age, I know a lot of people two and three times his age that didn't live their lives nearly as completely.
Mike Richman: I met Jos way back in 1997 when I first started at WebTV -- I traded a sculpture for a toessel. Ever since then he had not only made me laugh a countless number of times, but he electrified the air around him with happiness and ease. I will miss him dearly.
T i m o Bruck: I have two very short Jos stories to share with you. The first is how Jos would pronounce my name: It's supposed to be pronounced "tee-mo" (not tim-oh), which is pretty happy sounding, but apparently Jos didn't think it was happy-sounding enough. Instead, he'd yell (in a rather high pitch) "tWee-mo" (or just tWee, for short). Often, he'd do this while chasing me down the hallway to ask some technical question that he was sure I knew the answer to (I usually did have an answer for him, and felt awful when I didn't). I can still imagine the "tWee-mo" sound in my head. Unfortunately, I don't think I'd ever be able to accurately vocalize it.
The other story has to do with sailing. Jos knew that one of my dreams is to quit working, buy a sailboat, and sail around the world for a year or so. When Jos saw me in the hallway (quite often after yelling "tWee-mo"), he'd ask what kind of day I was having. Usually, I'd mention that it was a stressful day and many things were going on. He'd always remind me that it was a day that is one day closer to my sailing trip around the world.
Neal Tucker: He still does make me smile. Every I think about him greeting me [Neal Tucker] across rows of cubicles with "Wassup, Tucka!" He also came to the realization that since I work on some of the back-end server parts of webtv, I should be called a "back-end engineer," and he'd give me a little wink whenever he said it. Funny stuff.
CJ Silverio [Ceej ( 1, 2, 3).] I first got to know Jos and earned a Toessel by setting up TOSSEL.COM NOW REMOVED for him. He was awesome at conning me into doing all sorts of sys admin stuff for him. He'd say "Oh, Miss Ceejay, do you need a backrub?" and there I'd be, setting up another hostname for Jos.
I used to work with Jos. He used to call me "Professor" when he had a
question for me. Anyway, I'm a jazz musician and I just finished a new CD and
one of the song was write about day Jos left us. I thought you might be
interested in putting a link on the Jos site to this song.
Early Exit is an extended tone poem about the day a friend of mine died at work. The poem begins with my waking up and going to work as on any other day, then seeing paramedics carrying out my friend who had died suddenly of heart failure. It was a long day of confusion and reflection, and, afterward, an evening spent alone waiting for my girlfriend to come home. (After Albert Ayler & Tim Berne) Black Hat Records
Brian Bock: I'm the editor of Net4TV Voice. [ story] We are a community site for WebTV users. I had never personally met Jos, but I did talk to him and trade e-mails a few times. I remember one particular conversation. He was trying to help me with a problem I was having with setting up a box with my TV, VCR, etc. I love word play, so I said something with a double entendre. Unphased, he threw it back at me slightly differently. It took me off guard. I couldn't help but laugh. He was a joy to talk with. I kick myself every time I see the Toessel site for not having traded him the styrofoam heads for the Toessel.
Jenny Wilder: I had the pleasure of working with Jos in customer care and then when he was in QA at WebTV and then had the pleasure of running into him the cafeteria almost daily when I was in the engineering building also. Jos always had a smile for everyone. Now when I think of him I get a smile of my face which covers up the sadness. He was one of the funniest people I have ever had the opportunity to meet. His wit, humor, intelligence, spunk, charisma was contagious and even when I was feeling sad -- he always had some sort of witty comment that would force me to smile and snap out of my funk.
Sharon Frinks: When I first met Jos, he immediately nicknamed me "Frinkster". But after we went as a company to see the new Star Wars movie, he surprised me by suddenly naming me "Jar Jar Frinks" based on the digitally animated character Jar Jar Binks in the movie. Most people would not have been bold enough to tease me in such a way (not that I don't have a sense of humor but that I can sometimes seem too busy to be approached). [She is the company chief of Human Resources.] Only Jos would have reached out in such a silly way to make me feel "one of the gang". And only Jos could have gotten away with it!
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