Share a Story

Please help us celebrate Jeff’s life by sharing your personal thoughts.


97 thoughts on “Share a Story

  1. Eli Gerber says:

    Only recently have I come to realize just how many people Jeff touched. To me, he was just one of my parent’s best friends, and a good guy to be around. He wasn’t a renowned columnist, a bestselling author, or any of the other numerous things that he was known for professionally; he was half of Jeff and Sherry, the people my parents introduced through a rather strange series of events. That was really his charm; no matter how successful he got, (and he was damn successful, for good reason), it never affected him as a person. He was equally willing to screw around with me and my dad when he was writing for the Wall Street Journal as he was when he was working with Randy Pausch; as he was when he was working with Sully; as he was when he was working with the girls from Ames.
    Jeff was as genuine a person as there is. I deeply regret that I won’t have the chance to try to build a relationship with him of my own, as my parents were able to. To Sherry, Alex, Jordan, and Eden, and the rest of the Zaslow and Margolis clans: the entire Gerber family loves you, and we will never, ever forget the effect Jeff had on us. He was a wonderful man to be around, and I can’t express how much it meant to my parents to be able to count you all among their closest friends.

    Love, Eli

  2. Almost 30 years ago I lived with Lisa and Cindy in NYC, and met Jeff when he visited with us at our apartment on E 66th street. I had broken my leg and was off from work, and for a brief moment Jeff was the brother I never had. He was a tremendous help to me, I’ll never forget that.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I remember when Jeff had The Big Race in elementary school against Dave Margolis. The race was about 1 1/2 miles from Sproul Road to West Chester Pike. This big event was pre-Sports Center so not many people heard about it. Jeff came to me and asked me to help him train. I guess he realized that you don’t see a body like mine everyday. I told him that he needed to focus in on nutrition so we would run every day to Thunderbird and share a Philly cheesesteak and a hoagie with a Tastykake for dessert. To me, that is GOOD nutrition. Needless to say, despite these words of wisdom, Jeff lost the race. In fact, a baby first learning to crawl would have beaten him on that day. I lost money on the race but that one event prevented me from becoming a full fledged gambler!!! Great times with Jeff. This is just one of many great stories that I personally had with him!!!

    • David Margolis says:

      I grew up with Jeff and considered him a close friend. We had so much fun as kids. Life was carefree and simple. After school, we played sports together; street hockey and stick ball in front of his house. We were in a band (The Living Dead). Jeff wrote the one original song that we played for no one but our parents, as we never got very far. We were in Cub Scouts. Many great memories. I was in The Big Race with Jeff and won. It’s a story I have told my kids and they remember Jeff because of it. We lost touch when we graduated high school, but we started to communicate by e-mail. When Jeff came to Boca Raton for a book tour, we met for breakfast, and despite not seeing one another for almost 25 years, we had so much to talk about it. I never had a chance to meet his family, but he talked so lovingly about them. I will miss Jeff as I am sure his family and all that knew him do. He was a great example. Someone should write a book about him! I love you and miss you.

  4. Natalie Bloom says:

    Jeff Zaslow was never simply my friends dad, no he was much more than that. Jeff was never without a smile and a dry sense of humor.

    To Jordan, Alex, and Eden you are all so beautiful and incredible. I sit here and reminisce about your dad and think repeatedly of the times he would reassure the three of you of the qualities that make you all so unique. He loved you girls so much. Never forget you are a direct reflection of him and he is looking down prouder than ever that you hold his name with so much honor, respect, pride, and love. My heart aches knowing the pain you’re in, but I know that you are all so strong and with each other and your mom by each others side you will come out of this stronger and closer than ever.

    To Sherry you are such an amazing mother. Always so poised, put-together, and still managing to get Eden to dance on time. I remember Jeffs dry sense of humor so vividly that sparked your contagious laugh. You were such an amazing power couple. I specifically remember a shabbos dinner at your house, Jeff had just picked Eden and I up from a football game at Andover, we came in to the smell of chicken and Dakota challah. I remember the following action so clearly, yourself and Jeff blessed Eden. It was simply, beautiful. You have raised three beautiful daughters and I am so fortunate to have become so close to your family over the years. Thank you for always welcoming me into your home with open arms and caring for not only myself, but our entire group of friends.

    To Eden specifically you know how much I love you, but here I go again. E, you are my best friend. I could not ask for a better friend, you are irreplaceable. You are smart, witty, humorous, artistic, athletic, interesting, loving, kind, sweet, genuine, honest, trustworthy, and I could go on forever. Your dad was #1. If it was getting us the impossible sold out Taylor Swift tickets, taking us to see Hairspray, going out for dinner, or just driving carpool Jeff was always there. I will never forget after seeing a chick flick yourself, your dad, and I went to Antonio’s for dinner; your dad sat there intently analyzing the movie while you and I just fawned over how cute the lead actor was. Along with our rant on how cute the actor was we talked about the stereotypical happily ever after plot line and we both simply sighed complaining how we wanted a fairytale lifestyle. I specifically remember your dad looking at the two of us and saying, “Don’t you girls worry, one day you will live happily ever after.” At the time we just looked at each other laughed and went to eat more bread (nothings changed). Though this is a tough time you will have that happily ever after ending just like your dad promised. He was exceptional. He will be greatly missed by myself and “the Girls from West Bloomfield”. Love you.

    Natalie Bloom

  5. Brian Cronk says:

    I had the honor of working with Jeff on the WSJ’s Personal Journal section and editing his Moving On column on occasion. Jeff was an amazingly gifted and talented writer who was able to brilliantly capture the humor and pathos of life itself. He was always extraordinarily gracious and kind and one of the most wonderful people I have ever known. I send my deepest condolences to the whole family and will always cherish Jeff’s memory.

    • R SUE DODEA says:

      One of the amazing things Jeff leave us is the way that I identify with Brian’s words without having any of his experiences. I’m among millions convinced we lost a friend we never met, one of the most wonderful people I never knew. Thank you for giving space for us too. If his family and friends can find any comfort in the embrace of strangers, here we are sharing this noble So very sorry. R. Sue Dodea

      • R SUE DODEA says:

        One of the amazing things Jeff left us is the way that I identify with Brian’s words without having any of his experiences.

        I’m among millions convinced we lost a friend we never met, one of the most wonderful people I never knew.

        Thank you for giving space for us, too. If his family and friends can find any comfort in the embrace of strangers, here we are — sharing this noble grief. (and returning to correct typos)

        So very sorry. R. Sue Dodea

  6. Karen Sheer says:

    Jeff was the ultimate story teller. His career was in full bloom. A talent of no compare. Clever, prolific and gifted are words to describe his work.

    But, it is the man he was, which made him so special. Warm, humble, unpretentious and giving, is who he was.

    Gabby Giffords, Captain Sully and Randy Pausch all hired Jeff to tell their stories. Jeff beat out all of the other writers because of his talent ~ but mostly for who he was. He wrote from his heart, valued and respected his subjects.

    It was such an honor to get to know Jeff, who I met through his sister, Lisa.
    Like my college room mates, Margo and Cindy who wrote before me, if you were a friend
    of Lisa’s then Jeff took the time to get to know you with much sincerity.

    A few years ago I learned Jeff was coming to my local JCC to speak of his book “The Girls from Ames”. I immediately asked him to dinner (along with Lisa, David and a college friend, Robin) before his gig that night. Looking back I feel like I was contestant on “The Bachelor”.
    I wanted some alone time with Jeff!
    He had such great aura. Truly a man who loved what he did, and loved deeply his family and closest friends. I got such a kick out of him, he was so funny, and so similar in many ways to his sister, Lisa.

    Lisa expressed to me that Jeff was her best friend.
    For more than 30 years, Lisa and I have had a friendship like sisters.
    And though I have been crying and grieving for days… I have my Lisa.
    She possesses many of the qualities which made Jeff such a remarkable person,
    and a fantastic writer in her on right!

    Like all who are reading this ~ we will always remember Jeff through words in print and photographs. And for us who got to know him, our personal stories of being touched by him are priceless.

    With love and respect to all who he touched.
    Karen Sheer

  7. R SUE DODEA says:

    Mr. Lipton, to whom are you speaking? This makes no sense in context and surely you intended for it to be useful elsewhere, for it is not useful here.

  8. Phoebe and Myron Resnick says:

    The Zaslows lived about three blocks from the Resnicks in Broomall, PA. A great neighborhood for growing up. Kids went to Marple-Newtown High School and families knew each other well. Jeff was features editor on the MarNews his senior year, Rosalind R. was features editor the next year. I had just sent her his new book, “The Magic Room,” for Valentine’s Day. We all took pride in Jeff’s accomplishments. A talented and wonderful guy, who also stayed in touch with his old friends and his hometown. Our hearts are with the Zaslow family in this time of great loss.

    With love,
    Myron, Phoebe, Rosalind, Bruce and David Resnick

  9. Anonymous says:

    Remembering Zazz is not just a beautiful, cathartic memorial for him, but a source of comfort for all of us reading the wonderful eulogies and stories. I have known the Zaslow family for over 30 years and I have delighted in Jeff’s remarkable accomplishments. Through my dear friend, Lisa, I have been a voyeur – and loved every minute of it. Jeff was warm and wonderful toward me every time I saw him. He was an extraordinary human being whose accomplishments are immortal. My heartfelt condolences to the entire Zaslow and Margolis families.

    Margo Kornfeld

  10. Liz Muschel says:

    Dear Zaslow Family,
    I have never written a condolence letter to someone that I never met about someone that I didn’t know. Yet I sit here weeping tears of anguish over the loss of your dear husband, father, brother and son –Jeffrey, of blessed memory. I first heard of him when he wrote the column in the Wall St Journal about Randy Pausch. I watched the last lecture on youtube, and then eagerly read “The Last Lecture”. What an inspirational read! I then exchanged emails briefly with Jeff, regarding something that struck me about the book. He answered promptly and warmly.
    I am currently in the middle of reading “The Magic Room”: I had started it last week. It is through that book that I felt like I knew him. His warmth, his passion, his love for all of you certainly comes through so much in that book. I hope that you can all take some strength and some comfort in the knowledge that he loved you so much and that he made sure to express his feelings to you often. He accomplished so much and did so many wonderful things. He touched so many many lives in such an exceptional way.
    As a personal tribute to him I have decided in his memory to make sure and tell my husband and children daily how much I love them.
    I pray that your amazing family will strengthen one another in this difficult time, and that the wonderful memories that you share of your extraordinary husband and father will serve as a comfort to you.

    May G-d comfort you amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.


    Liz Muschel

    Monsey, NY

    • SRZ says:

      On behalf of our extended Zaslow family – Thank you Liz for your heartfelt words and for reaching out. We take much comfort in knowing Jeff’s legacy brings more love into this world.
      Jeff’s sister in law, Sherri

  11. Wendy Lupul says:

    One of the earliest stories I recall about Jeff was of his selling newspapers on the beach in Atlantic City when he was only 5 years old. I always remembered the story that he’d purchase the newspapers for five cents and then sell them for ten cents. When I saw him after many years – in November 2009 on a book-promotion tour through Southern California – he shared that he was actually his brother’s accomplice in this endeavor. During Jeff’s Southern California visit it was a treat to reconnect and reminisce a bit after so many years. My parents and I had qvelled over his many successes throughout the years. (It was always a kick to catch an interview or other public appearances on TV or radio.). Jeff’s presentation at the JCC that November day was entertaining, amusing and touching. Jeff was especially warm and cordial to my parents (Miriam and Seymour Wellikson), my husband, Charlie, and me. That day I brought with me his 1990 Tell Me All About, one of his earlier books about navigating through the advice biz. Jeff, who told me it was long out of print, graciously wrote a lovely inscription in the book that I had read and reread many times over the previous two decades. Not only did Jeff give us a couple of his newer books that day, but a few months later he sent a copy of The Last Lecture – with a wonderfully warm dedication – to my son, Sammy Seid. [When my dad turned 80, Jeff shared personal amusing and warm anecdotes about my folks for a special memory book first noting that he had “great memories of Seymour.” In fact, Jeff had sometimes written about my dad in his articles and books.] These inscriptions will help us relive the regrettably brief visit which turned out to be the last time we would see Jeff. Our hearts ache along with those of the entire Zaslow family.

    (Some photos of that last visit have been sent to the Zaslow family.)

    • Wendy Lupul says:

      I neglected to mention that my family has been friends of the Zaslow family since 1948 – and that the families have celebrated many simchas together. But, of course, the Zaslows already know that.

  12. Ed Sterling says:

    Jeff spoke at the closing brunch of the Texas Press Midwinter Conference on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011. The temperature was below freezing that day in San Marcos, Texas, and probably was close to zero counting the chill factor. Jeff went out for a run that morning as if it were nothing. He showed up on time (but admittedly nervous) to set up the audiovisual equipment in the ballroom, leaping around with a few of us Texas Press staffers along to help him make sure he would be heard in every corner of the room. He identified a couple of bad spots. We repositioned a few of the 6-foot round tables to make sure whoever sat at them could hear when the time came. Then we went through a similar drill with the screen and the video projector. When everything was done in the hall, he sped to the foyer to work with the booksellers to create an optimum setup for his book signings after brunch. Some 250 Texas newspaper men and women filed in. Jeff engaged many of them as they seated themselves and while they worked their way through the buffet lines. During the course of his presentation about The Last Lecture, Sully, and the Girls From Ames, he managed to mention his wife and daughters several times. It’s my job to observe what happens at our events. Jeff’s natural, warm delivery and the intense, personal nature of the subject matter made this room of people who hear moving stories pretty often cry and cry again. It was overwhelming. People swarmed around him after the meal, made it hard for him to get to his book-signing table and bought every one of the dozens of copies the booksellers brought. Afterward, some paced along with him as he walked away, down the football-field-long foyer of the hotel. I’ve got a string of his routine email correspondence still on my computer, but that’s how I will remember him, walking away with a bunch of happy-sounding people alongside.

  13. I really did not know Jeffrey at all but my friend, Sherri Zaslow, insisted that I contact him because I was looking for ways to get speaking engagements for the two books I had written. I was very hesitant to call him because he was so famous and noone really knew about me but one day I got my guts up and called him. I left a message, never really expecting him to call back, and lo and behold he called back the very next day. I was nervous speaking with him but he quickly made me feel so comfortable. We spoke for about 20 minutes and in that time Jeffrey really gave me a lot of good advice which I followed through on. I was fortunate to meet him at the next Baltimore Zaslow simcha. My books are on how family and friends can help families of sick family members or families who have suffered a profound loss. I hope that anyone who reads my books will be able to offer the Zaslow family the comfort they need. From all I have heard and read about Jeffrey he was a very special man in so many ways and I am so sorry for your loss.

  14. Rob Randelman says:

    Jeff’s family in close to my heart and in my prayers at this terribly sad time.

    I met Zazz when we were about 9 – playing baseball at the beach and hockey in the street in AC. He always made me laugh. Jeff was a “hustler” -a hard worker who had a humongous paper route. When we were 11, he “tom sawyer-ed” me in helping him deliver the sunday edition and keeping him company when he collected the weekly bills from his clients – often about $1 and he hoped for a 50 cent tip. Most of the clients were elderly and he had a story for everyone – this person liked cats, this person had a smelly apartment, this one had great cookies, etc. I remember one person in particular – an old lady with white hair “Mrs. G” . Zazz was particularly nice to her, she invited us in, gave us ice tea, and stale cookies. Jeff asked her lots of questions about how she was doing, about her life, what music she liked, her favorite movie star. She lived alone and Zazz was genuinely interested. I was impatient! After about half an hour, he said “Well, I have other pretty women to meet – but you’re may favorite Mrs. G” she blushed and said “Jeffrey, Honey, I don’t have any money for you this week. I didn’t go to the bank. Can I pay you next week?’ He replied ” I’ll see you next week” and she hugged him goodbye. She hugged me too, and it was then I saw the number tattoo on her arm from the camp.
    As we got on our bikes I asked him – “do you ever get paid from her?” and Jeff said ” Every week -just like today” and flashed me that infamous Zaslow smile and laugh.

    I have had a great, successful, journey in my career. But when I was 11 – I learned from a master how to be “in the moment” with people and make a connection. It was never surprising to me the fantastic career and family Zazz had – he honestly enjoyed people, he enjoyed hearing about and telling the human story. For a nerdy, awkward kid like me who grew up to be a nerdy, less awkward adult (but not by much!); I was always in awe of this very uncommon trait.

    While I remember Jeff much more through the vivid memories of our youth and the lessons that you can only learn at such an age (better to fight with your mind that your hands!)
    Through the years Jeff’s brilliant light shined on the inspiring stories that gave joy and hope to millions – and through those words his spark will endure forever.

    Godspeed my friend, Godspeed.

  15. Anonymous says:

    With Deepest Sympathy,
    I only recently became a fan of Jeffrey Zaslow’s words as an author. They were for me, like a new friend discovered late in life. His legacy is as rich in magnitude as the untimeliness of his tragic death. Sadly, the world is now deprived of countless books unwritten. My deepest sympathy to all those he held close and who personally lost the most.


    Doug Landman
    Media, Pennsylvania

  16. Mike Segal says:

    i felt so sad when i heard from a friend about jeff. i really did not know him that well–except i loved to read his books. he was so talented! then, one day, i received an email from him asking if he could speak to me as he was working on his next book with gabby and mark and he wanted to speak to me about my experiences. the night he called me i was so sick, but he had a way about him. soon, i realized not only was he extremely talented, but he was also an incredible human being! i believe the world lost a special person, but he’ll always be smiling down from heavens above.

    asides from writing and speaking, i work at a hospital helping people to cope. often when “a person is taken too soon” i share the below story with the family. true, no 2 experiences are alike, but it often helps.

    my prayers are always with you and yours.

    mike segal

    by Michael Jordan Segal

    Looking down at the cemetery plot, I could only feel tears streaming down my face. My grandmother had just passed away at the age of 96, almost 97. People were constantly saying to me “…but she lived such a full and long life;” however, at that moment none of those statements really mattered. I only felt a sense of loss—a huge one at that.

    Still, with my eyes on the grave, with tears welling up, I began remembering my grandmother. I could even begin seeing what I thought might be shadows of her in the cemetery grave. I thought I was also experiencing the wonderful scents of her kitchen–the aroma of her wonderful chicken soup that filled her pots every Friday afternoon and the fragrance of the sizzling potato pancakes which always had been my favorites.

    Just then I remembered a story about my grandmother when she was in the hospital one time, already in her late 80’s. She was in a special hospital room for an x-ray to be taken. The technician left the room ready to turn the x-ray machine on; however, my grandmother started screaming, “WAIT, WAIT!”

    The technician stormed back into the room frantically asking, “Mrs. Segal, Mrs. Segal, are you okay? What’s the matter?”

    To this, my almost 90-year old grandmother calmly replied, “You failed to ask me whether I might be pregnant.”

    That, and many more positive stories about my grandmother, told me who she really was. As I stood at the cemetery, I noticed that my tears had changed to smiles.

    The key, I believe, to overcoming grief is in “memories.” As long as I remember my grandmother in my heart, she will always be “with me.”

    As the funeral ended, I whispered to my grandmother that I loved her very much and I would visit her soon–if not at the cemetery, then in my memories.

    (c)2001 by Michael Jordan Segal, all rights reserved.

  17. Ethel C. Levenson says:

    I knew Jeff through my friendship with his wonderful parents Naomi and Harry. What a loss for them! My sister Ellie and her husband Len Madres and I had dinner with the Zaslows down at the Jersey shore and frequently Jeff was visiting them. He always greeted us with hugs and kisses and warm words. What a friendly guy!

    I have read all of his books and now I will reread them just to keep him alive in my memory.
    May his name be for a blessing! Ethel C. Levenson

  18. Jon Coren says:

    I grew up in Broomall and was classmates with Lisa starting in fourth grade. Jeff was two grades ahead of us. In tenth grade I was on the indoor track team with Jeff. I was down on myself and was thinking about quiting the team. Jeff had a heart-to-heart talk with me and encouraged me to stick it out. I will never forget his kindness and encouragement. I kept up with Jeff’s successes through Lisa. I remember when she told me that he won a writing contest and was taking over for Ann Landers. I have many great memories of hanging out at the Zaslow house during my childhood.

    • Immha says:

      I have not really cesohn what kind of specialists I would like to work under, but I do believe that it would be fun to work in a Psychiatrist’s office. I originally was going for my B.A. in Psychology, but switched. There are so many to choose from that sound absolutely interesting. Such as working under an Internist or going simple and working under a Family practitioner. Even Gerontologist sounds like fun. I love the “aging population” and they have stories and much to teach.For the moment I am going to take this degree one step at a time and try to find the place that fits me best.

  19. cindy Getzoff says:

    I have know the Zaslow family for about thirty years since Lisa, Margo, Karen and myself lived in London. That was the first time we all met Jeff. Since that time we have been connected to Jeff through Lisa. We would see him at family events and he always remembered us as the London college friends. He never changed once he became a famous author. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak on Long Island to promote his book the Girls from Ames. I was so proud of him, what he had accomplished. When he spoke of his family it was so personal for me. He gave me such a big hug at the book signing and told everyone this is my sisters friend.. Cindy…….
    Reading all the tributes and the articles in the newspapers, he will always be Lisa’s brother Jeff Zaslow..
    Cindy Getzoff

  20. Sandy & Neil Ostrosky says:

    Neil and Jeff were college buddies at CMU. After graduation they both moved to different parts of Florida but managed to get together several times on the weekends. Then Neil moved to Houston and Jeff to Chicago. When Neil was in Chicago for business they would meet for lunch.

    Jeff came to our wedding in Oklahoma City. Jeff would always joke about that he only came to our wedding because he couldn’t believe there were Jews in Oklahoma! We came to Jeff and Sherry’s wedding soon after.

    The years flew by with us in Houston and Jeff and Sherry in Detroit. We both had kids around the same time. We lost touch for a few years but fate brought us together again. Just three years ago, we were standing in line for lunch at IU freshman orientation when we look behind us and its the Zaslows! What a pleasant surprise for us all! We had a picnic lunch with the Zaslow’s again a few months later when we brought our kids to college. I still remember the funny sight watching Jeff and Neil doing the fraternity “secret” handshake!

    We also were fortunate enough to go for dinner with Jeff when he was in Houston last year at a speaking engagement. Jeff and Neil talked about old times for hours. I learned alot about each of them that night!

    I would like to quote Jeff when he autographed his very first book for me….”Tell Me All About It” on Dec. 6, 1990.

    Dear Neil and Sandy
    If you ever need advice, don’t ask me. As Neil knows, I don’t know much of anything. In fact, everything I know, I owe to Neil.

    And then in November 2010 he autographed “the Girls from Ames” for me with the following:
    I’m honored to call myself your friend. Give a kiss to one of my oldest friends in the world, the lovely Neil Ostrosky.

    We will sorely miss you, Jeff. We send our hugs and all our love to Sherry, Jordan, Alex and Eden, and the entire Zaslow and Margolis families.

    Sandy & Neil Ostrosky
    Houston, Texas

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