“Both as a lawyer and as a judge, Jeff’s great talent was that he loved people and treated everyone with respect. If he leaves a legacy to our bench, it would be a legacy of patience and respect for the people before the court.
But the law, while important to Jeff, was only a part of his life. Jeff was a unique individual who had many extraordinary talents outside the law. He was an accomplished pianist, a poet, an author, a professor, a movie writer and director of screen plays, a basketball player, a father and coach to his children, and a best friend to his wife and to many, many other people.
Jeff had an extraordinary ability to work hard and then enjoy the many other pursuits of life, while convincing the rest of us to forget about the demands of the moment. He approached everything he did with an almost childlike excitement and exuberance that was infectious and whether it was diving in the Galapagos Islands, fishing off of Guatemala, cooking out in the Bahamas or sitting on his back porch overlooking the marsh, Jeff’s excitement and friendship helped to create moments of respite from the demands of our everyday lives.
The morning following Jeff’s death, I went to Jeff’s office at the courthouse to gather some papers for his family. Sitting atop a stack of legal research and a court file was a book of poetry which was opened to a page that read as follows:
Dusk, and all is chill.
I am here still.
Awaiting your coming.
And always will.
Jeff will be missed by his family and his many friends, but I have no doubt that Jeff is waiting on his friends with a smile on his face, a fishing pole in hand and an excitement that is infectious. ‘