Play this while you read.
My friend Jack passed today.
I can’t remember when I first met Jack, but it was probably 15 years ago. He quickly became part of my extended family.
Jack loved music, and big band, jazz and blues were probably his favorites. He made me dozen mix tapes over the years. The song posted above was on one of those tapes. I have pages of his hand-written notes wherein he shares his knowledge and history of the various artists on these tapes. I think one of his favorites was Count Basie. One Christmas I gave him a book on the early blues and the following year I received a blues mix tape.
Jack spent most of his life in Aspen, Colorado. He was the town doctor back before Aspen became the glitzy community for the super rich. He made housecalls in his jeep and delivered babies, including his daughter. He built his house and the commercial building that housed his practice, both of which were designed by Tom Benton.
After he retired from medical practice, he continued to manage the commercial building (now re-named The Crandall Building). His office located in the basement boiler room was his man-cave and it was a treat to see Jack’s other side.
Jack was the epitome of “easy going.” He never let stuff bother him very deeply. If it was something out of his immediate control, he didn’t spend much time dwelling on it. He was extremely easy to talk to.
Several times a week, he would go to the Weinerstube for coffee and breakfast and join the Stammtisch. I joined him on a dozen occasions and met some of the old-time colorful characters behind Aspen.
Jack had been living with cancer for years now and he’s been a real trouper — another thing he didn’t let bother him deeply.
He passed very peacefully with his immediate family at his bedside.
Goodbye, Jack. My life is better for knowing you.