Share a Story

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

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94 thoughts on “Share a Story

  1. lhwren says:

    Sherry, Jordan, Alex and Eden

    How sad I am for your loss. I had just picked up the Carnegie Mellon Alumni magazine and was stunned to see that your husband and your father had died. While I did not know him well, I nonetheless felt like I knew him well. He was a rare person you always felt comfortable around. He drew you in and you felt like he really listened. I remember looking forward to his writings in the CMU Tartan. His uncanny wit made me laugh and/or think. He was a great writer. I knew he would be somebody, even back in those college days.

    He came to my hometown twice to speak at the JCC. We visited. I remembered him, more than he remembered me. I told him how much I enjoyed his Last Lecture book. I told him my husband was diagnosed with cancer about the time the book came out.

    I believed, as Jeff did, that everyone has a story to tell. Thus I created a book/journal with prompts for anyone to write their story. I was honored that he wrote a review of the book. It is printed on the back cover.

    Jordan, Alex and Eden I read about your Dad’s death on the anniversary of my Dad’s birth. He would have been 101 today. While my Dad lived to 92, I miss him every day as I am sure you will do. He will always be with you. I know how much he loved you. He spoke so proudly of you in his speeches. Your Dad was a wonderful man who touched many lives. My sincere condolences.

  2. Chris Van Dyke says:

    I knew Jeff briefly in high school, from homeroom (my last name began with a Y so we often ended up sitting next to each other), and remember his as a kind, funny and sensitive guy. Over the years, I have followed his career and been so happy to see each book coming out, starting with The Last Lecture. I was always proud to see such wonderful books by someone I knew and encouraged others to read them.

    Today I just finished reading his last book, The Magic Room, and I found it to be a sweet, insightful look at the lives of so many women and their families, and it touched my heart. Then I pulled out my yearbook from 1976, and found clipping after clipping that I had saved or my mother had sent me, every time Jeff had achieved a new feat, whether it be becoming the next Anne Landers or writing a wonderful essay in the Wall Street Journal.

    I also found the reunion booklet from the last time I saw Jeff at the 20 year Marple-Newtown high school reunion in 1996, and read what he wrote, and wanted to share it with his wife and daughters in case they had not seen it. His was the last entry and he wrote: “Spouse: Sherry; Children- Jordan 7, Alexandra 5 & Eden 1. Jordan loves to sing & act, Alex loves to collect odds & ends in her room, read & do somersaults & Eden loves to eat.” From this, I can tell that he was obviously in love with his wife and children, and my thoughts and heart go out to them all. Fortunately, he left such a gift to all of us with all his writings, especially The Last Lecture and the Magic Room. I hope this can give his wife and daughters some solace in the future as they face it without his grace and guidance, but know that his spirit is still with them.

    • lhwren says:

      Sherry, Jordan, Alex and Eden

      How sad I am for your loss. I had just picked up the Carnegie Mellon Alumni magazine and was stunned to see that your husband and your father had died. While I did not know him well, I nonetheless felt like I knew him well. He was a rare person you always felt comfortable around. He drew you in and you felt like he really listened. I remember looking forward to his writings in the CMU Tartan. His uncanny wit made me laugh and/or think. He was a great writer. I knew he would be somebody, even back in those college days.

      He came to my hometown twice to speak at the JCC. We visited. I remembered him, more than he remembered me. I told him how much I enjoyed his Last Lecture book. I told him my husband was diagnosed with cancer about the time the book came out.

      I believed, as Jeff did, that everyone has a story to tell. Thus I created a book/journal with prompts for anyone to write their story. I was honored that he wrote a review of the book. It is printed on the back cover.

      Jordan, Alex and Eden I read about your Dad’s death on the anniversary of my Dad’s birth. He would have been 101 today. While my Dad lived to 92, I miss him every day as I am sure you will do. He will always be with you. I know how much he loved you. He spoke so proudly of you in his speeches. Your Dad was a wonderful man who touched many lives. My sincere condolences.

  3. I posted a modest memory of Jeff in my _Jerusalem Post_ blog at http://blogs.jpost.com/content/remembering-jeff-zaslow. Although I put the words, finally, together on the page, they are as nothing relative to the kindness and other admirable gifts Jeff gave to me and to his other friends over the course of his life. May he have much merit in heaven!

    Sincerely,
    KJ Hannah Greenberg nee’ Karen Joy Ravets

  4. I get chills every time I read another story on this beautiful man turned angel too early.

  5. Jonathan Herman says:

    I couldn’t help but be terribly saddened when I read the “Remembrance” section in the WSJ last month regarding the passing of the irreplaceable Jeffrey Zaslow. Similar to many people, Jeff had an enormous impact on my life and my relationship with him started almost 10 years ago.

    After reading one of his heartfelt columns in 2003, which discussed the Holocaust, I felt compelled to e-mail Jeff and share my personal story with him which was not only being the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, but also losing both my parents before the age of 13. Jeff e-mailed me back and said he was moved by my personal story and, if possible, he would make it the basis of a column at some point in the future.

    Always true to his word, Jeff penned a column on May 27th, 2004, entitled, “Baby Boomers Confront Another Rite of Passage: Burying Their Parents.” I, along with several other people, was mentioned in the article and it had a profound impact on many readers. Jeff was kind enough to compile all of the e-mails he received and forwarded them on to me so I could reflect back on them (and Jeff’s way of letting me know I wasn’t alone).

    In the subsequent years, Jeff and I kept in touch periodically via e-mail and it was great for me to watch his remarkable story-telling talents blossom into world-wide success on the heels of his outstanding book, “The Last Lecture.”

    Then, in May 2010, Jeff e-mailed me to say he’d like to interview me for an upcoming column; always smart, he didn’t reveal the entire basis of the article but intimated what the story would entail. After our hour-long conversation, Jeff e-mailed me and said he wanted two pictures of me for the column – one picture when I was younger with my parents and another current-day picture (the WSJ photographed me in Central Park).

    On June 2nd, 2010, the column, “Families With a Missing Piece” was published which included the two pictures Jeff requested. To see my parents pictured in the WSJ was as if they came alive – that Jeff brought them back to life and, for that, I was/will always be eternally indebted to Jeff and the WSJ.

    Now, it’s the Zaslow family with “a missing”piece.”

    Jeff will always be alive and a much larger-than-life figure for all the lives of those he touched.

    Jonathan Herman

    NYC

  6. Jim Berk says:

    I only knew Jeff by seeing him on occasion at synagogue or at the health club, but I always found him to be so friendly and genuinely interested in my endeavors. I used to work with Sherry in the news department at Channel 2 in the early 1990’s and have maintained a friendship since then. Jeff’s passing has left me feeling so hollow and lost, wishing there was something I could do to change things.

    One day after Jeff’s funeral, I was in the West Bloomfield Library’s bookstore and found a copy of his book ” The Girls from Ames”. I opened it up and was astonished to discover Jeff’s personal note to the buyer of this book with his autograph (it had been donated to the library). I quickly bought the book and now even moreso feel a connection to him and his family.

    My prayers are with Jeff’s entire family, wishing them comfort and strength in the days ahead. G-d bless all of you !

    Jim Berk
    West Bloomfield, Mich.

  7. Dave Wisor says:

    Jeff Zaslow once gave a talk to a college journalism class when he was the young, bright star of the Orlando Sentinel, and a guy in the class wrote about it for the college newspaper, and Jeff couldn’t stop talking about that little story for months.

    Didn’t matter that “Zas” regularly wrote stories about people for a big-city paper and made them slightly famous for a while. It was all second nature to Zas, but he was excited about seeing his own life and photo on a printed page, and every time he saw the guy after that, he cracked a big, wide smile and said, “There’s the guy who made me famous!”

    And I was that guy.

    It was a huge thrill for Zas because it was the first time anyone had written about him, he told me, and if he had known then that other people would be writing about him for years and years to come, he would have been truly stunned. And happy. And wildly excited, because that meant his life was going places, and even then, back in the early 1980s, you could tell that Jeff Zaslow was going to go a lot of places in his life.

    Zas was probably only half-finished with his life’s work when he died Friday morning in a car accident on a snowy road in Michigan. But what a life of work he already had in the vault. Jeff Zaslow helped make the Sentinel one of the best newspapers in the country at the time, and his stories were the talk of the newsroom on any given day.

    Zas loved to write about people and the human experience. He was such an open, compassionate person – a man with virtually no ego at all, which is a rarity in any newsroom – and he combined those values with the art of listening well. He knew there were incredible stories to be told if people could just talk them out, and he loved to tell those stories, and Jeff Zaslow told those stories as well as anyone could.

    Zas “owned” the entire Sentinel newsroom on a regular basis, and that’s no easy task when you write for the features section. His stories often were the talk of the town and the envy of his colleagues, capturing the passion and emotion in the lives of people who wanted something, or needed something, or had done something spectacular or fashionable or new. All those people stories were hungering to be told, and Zas loved being the go-to guy for that. His stories often made the front page of the Sentinel, and they always were fresh and compelling and greatly admired.

    And then he was gone. Zas left the Sentinel in 1983 for a terrific job as a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, and even there he turned it into a people beat. Then he entered a contest so he could write an inside story, and the contest was to succeed Ann Landers, and then Zas won the contest and the advice column that came with it, and all that Zas suddenly turned into “All That Zazz,” and nobody who knew Jeff Zaslow was surprised at what had just transpired. And then Zas did Zazz for more than a decade, and of course he did it exceedingly well.

    And then it was off to do more. Zas had a column in USA Weekend magazine, and along the way he turned to books. Books about people, and the human experience, and the passion and the emotion, and by now Zas was up there on the highest stage. He wrote the book with Randy Pausch, and he wrote the book with Sully the Heroic Pilot, and he wrote the book with Gabrielle Giffords, and they were incredible stories to be told, and of course he did it exceedingly well.

    No surprise that Zas won these projects, either. He knew how to connect with readers because he knew how to connect with his subjects, and then they could talk freely, and then all the great stories rose to the surface.

    “I’m interested in people’s deepest, sharpest emotions,” Jeff told the Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass., in 2010. “That’s what I like writing about. Life’s transitions are very emotional.”

    In writing these three books, and two others, Zas showed again and again how he could take difficult or challenging subjects and make everyone feel rewarded in the process.

    “Jeff was a beautiful writer, wonderful collaborator, loving husband, father and friend,” renowned pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, who somehow landed an airliner safely in the Hudson River in 2009, said in a written statement Friday. “Our whole family loved him dearly, and he will be sorely missed.”

    How sad and stunning it is that Jeff Zaslow suddenly is gone, in the prime of life and only halfway through his magnificent career, leaving behind a wife and three daughters and friends in all corners of the country, and probably the world. Those of us who knew him have always been amazed at his talent, his energy and, above all, his never-ending quest to help absolutely anyone in any way he could.

    I haven’t seen Zas in years, and now he is gone forever. I ran into him a few times after he left the Sentinel, but I never got to see him enough after we forged that early bond. Jeff was a hero to me and to plenty of others in journalism and beyond, and every time I saw his name in print I would think about how good it would be the next time we ran into each other.

    One New Year’s Eve I took a girlfriend down to Fort Lauderdale to check out the festivities there. We were watching the yachts pull in three-deep for the party at Shooter’s Waterfront Café when Jeff Zaslow stepped out of the gathering crowd. We had not seen each other in a few years, but we spotted each other at the same instant, and then Zas cracked a big, wide smile and said, “There’s the guy who made me famous!”

    I didn’t make Jeff Zaslow famous. But I loved hearing him tell that story, too.

  8. Marsha Bank says:

    I never had the honor of meeting Mr. Zaslow, yet when I was on the train traveling to see my daughter at the University of Maryland, he was my traveling companion. I was reading “The Magic Room” on my Kindle, laughing, crying and feeling a strong connection to the ideas Jeff was sharing in his book. I felt that text-to-self connection because my children are certainly of the age to take the next step in their lives…marriage. I was reading about one of the brides who had been to The Magic Room at a younger age, had had the tragedy of losing her husband, and was returning to the shop once again as a bride. Jeff’s writing could cause nothing less than a choking back of tears. I didn’t have to choke the tears back for long. My husband, reading the Long Island newspaper, “Newsday”, elbowed me gently, and said, “You’d better read this.” It was the article about your beloved husband, father, friend, killed in a car accident.

    The tears were no longer stifled. I cried for someone I didn’t know personally, but as an avid reader, and a teacher of young children, I strongly believe in the notion that authors become your close friends through their writing.

    I started following Jeffrey Zaslow’s writing when I picked up the book, “The Girls From Ames” and realized he was the co-author of “The Last Lecture”. Both books had made a strong impact on me. “The Last Lecture” for all the lifelong lessons it implicated, and “The Girls From Ames” because of strong friendships I have maintained from my childhood. His writing made me feel like he was a man who understood all facets of life and was able to write about them honestly, with humor, and most of all, with compassion.

    I am incredibly saddened by the loss of your loved one. I feel like I lost a friend. I have searched for Jeffrey Zaslow’s Wall Street articles and will ask the help of my son who works for Fox News to guide me in my search.

    My deepest sympathies go to the family of Jeffrey Zaslow. He was a friend to many people who didn’t have the blessing of meeting him.

  9. Matt Roberts says:

    I met Jeff on the first day of kindergarten, at Charles H. Russell Elementary School and we remained friends through graduation from Marple-Newtown Senior Highschol in 1976. Although we traveled in different circles by then, we remained friendly and took one memorable writing class together in highschool.

    We renewed our friendship at class reunions and, just weeks ago, exchanged e-mails about one of our favorite teachers (Miriam Bedein) passing away in the last two months. Jeff and I talked about the influences people have on our lives and the fact that we continued to feel connected to our excellent writing and English teachers and our childhood community.

    I kept in light touch with Jeff throughout the decades since high school (congratulating him on his books and sharing news–happy and sad–about our classmates) and would’ve liked to have been more in touch with him had we not moved so far away from each other. He was a great communicator and student of the human condition who found success by being an effective voice of our generation.

    Notice that Jeff focused on the positive in his writing and that he was a huge fan of people’s resilience and positivity. He wanted to know–and to share–the ways in which regular people did extraordinary things. He wanted to affirm for us that good people, well motivated and well-prepared can be exemplars in the face of hardships, disaster and violence.

    I also admired Jeff for his willingness to take chances and to push his career into places that others, more timid, are less willing to attempt. There is nothing more admirable to me than a person who takes the big chance after working hard to hone their skills. Jeff was a great writer with a greater heart and an even greater-still love of life and his family and friends. We were not close friends, but we were old ones, and I will miss him–and our occasional reunion visits and e-mails exchanges. The fact that his writing has been interrupted has actually prodded me to write something of my own, in my own style, but in the vein of the kind of story he enjoyed–and our teachers taught us to write.

    As I did in that writing class so long ago, I think I’ll hear his voice in my mind as he both critiques and encourages me–just as I’ll hear the voices of our great writing teachers–and I’ll hope to write something that he’d have enjoyed reading. In this way his spirit will remain vibrant and if I’m fortunate, present, in my own writing. I’m certain, if I could deliver him a copy of the book I’ll write, he’d send me a note that began, “Thanks. It’s about time!”

    My heartfelt condolences go out to Jeff’s family, friends and colleagues.

    –Matt Roberts
    Wallingford, PA

  10. Mike Ocrant says:

    I invited Jeff to speak during the closing lunch at our Family Office Wealth Conference in Laguna Beach a few years ago. This spot is always reserved for a speaker who can provide inspiration and provoke an emotional response among our audience of affluent families who are interested in giving back to their communities. Jeff was perhaps the best speaker we ever had, certainly among the top 3, over the 12 years we have held the conference. While he spoke about The Last Lecture he also wove in stories and anecdotes about his family, his experiences taking over the Ann Landers column, his childhood and so much more. He brought all of these things together in a wonderful way and kept the audience absolutely rapt. Everyone in the room–about 100 people–could tell how sincere he was and appreciated both the seriousness and humor used throughout his presentation. I’m sure he had probably given roughly the same speech many times before, but unlike other speakers everything he said sounded fresh and new.

    We so much enjoyed having Jeff as a speaker, as I know our audience did. I know how difficult his death is for his family but I hope they can take some solace in knowing that he touched people in many ways and truly helped inspire others to do good and to consider how they could make the world just a little bit better.

    Farewell, Jeff, Rest Easy.

    Mike Ocrant
    Institutional Investor

  11. Roberta says:

    i hope the family is still overwhelmed by kindnesses, that they wonder how they’ll find the time to thank everyone — not because people need or want that, but because it means they are assemblng plans for their future, the next stage. I want to call it “Living with what we learned from Jeff” as his influence is felt in every way, gently directing your choices. We are all still out here sending you our best thoughts and faith in your ability to do just that.

  12. Stephen Hightower II says:

    Jeff Zaslow was a tremendous inspiration to me. Many of you may know him as author of The Last Lecture. I had the opportunity to have dinner with him and I asked him for advice. He told me “If You Love Her, Marry Her” the next week I asked Julia Pace Hightower to marry me and have been blessed every since. Jeff was known for saying to kiss the ones you love for you never know what is going to happen. His death and the sudden death of others should remind us of that on this day of love. RIP Jeff

  13. Paul Glader says:

    Dear Zaslow Family and Friends,

    I never met Jeff in person. But he made my day when I was a reporter for the WSJ based in Pittsburgh in 2006. He sent me a nice note after a story I wrote about the lone bagpipes major in America ran in the WSJ. The story was set at his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He and I wrote back and forth a bit about Pittsburgh and CMU. I was surprised to hear from him as I viewed him as a “superstar” of sorts at the paper.

    I was in my mid-20s at the time. Frankly, his encouragement and interaction made my day and my week and deepened my respect for a man I already looked up to for his talent and his career. In the U.S. media world, some “superstars” at Jeff’s level (and non-superstars) are less than charitable to colleagues of a lower rank or age. He was never that way. In fact, he seemed to thrive on valuing stories he liked, wherever they came from.

    He was passionate about great stories, stories about people. He understood these kinds of stories better than almost anyone. By his example and his interactions, he inspired his colleagues to understand, find and tell these stories. Jeff made time to listen to book ideas from young reporters (including me), to invite us to send and read our proposals or manuscripts, to give his honest feedback. An example from en email from Jeff on March, 2011, after he invited me to send him a proposal I was working on:

    “Just read it. Compelling story for sure! You’ll sell the movie rights.

    I’ll be interested to talk to you about it.
    Cheers,
    Jeff”

    He was constructive and encouraging even though he thought the proposal and story didn’t have all the right elements for a book. He found what he did like in it and shared his thoughts on how to position the project or what ingredients may be missing.

    Jeff never hesitated to encourage or inspire someone rather than to intimidate them with his success. His empathy greatly overshadowed his ego. He was a prince of a person. He continued to send encouraging notes, to build friendships and share ideas. After he wrote major best-sellers, he was never too fixated with himself and his own work to help others. As a person, he was unique.

    As a journalist, he was also unique. He carved out a “beat” of incredible importance in an area that others in media might consider soft or touchy-feely. He knew how to walk all the tricky tightropes of making this realm of emotionally-difficult journalism some of the most powerful journalism around. I think his life and work demonstrates that there is a huge market for voices like Jeff that help people think about values, family, place and the most important things in life. Some people call it “solution-oriented journalism” or “constructive journalism”. I don’t know what Jeff calls it. But we need more of it! I do hope his legacy and vision is somehow preserved – at journalism schools, creative writing programs, in the publishing industry or at journalistic publications – for future writers and reporters to learn from and to operate with his sentiment and sensibility.

    Sincerely,
    Paul Glader

    A former colleague at The Wall Street Journal and currently a Bosch Fellow in Germany.

  14. Nicole Green says:

    I am grateful to have met Alex Zaslow when I was in the 6th grade. To this day, we are the best of friends. There are many perks that come along with being friends with Alex, but the most important is knowing her beautiful and incredibly warm family. To find the right words to describe her father, Jeff, is truly not possible. I think I can speak for all of Jordan, Alex, and Eden’s friends by saying that if you are friends with one of the girls, then you were friends with Jeff.

    Jeff could magically be in two places at once because somehow despite his busy schedule, he was always there. Without fail, every single time I walked into the Zaslow residence, he would greet me at the door because he would be sitting in his office and it was an unspoken rule that Alex “accidentally” would not hear the doorbell ring. I would always talk to him for a little before I went to find Alex because I truly enjoyed it. You simply could be yourself around Jeff. I have never met someone who was so genuinely interested in other people and so easy to talk to. I remember one time I was over at the Zaslow’s and I mentioned to Jeff that I wanted to read “The Last Lecture.” Five minutes later he handed me a copy of the book with a long, personalized note inside the cover page, and then told me that he won’t be offended if I don’t like it or read it, but he wanted me to have a copy just in case. Jeff was truly the most modest person I have ever come across. No one would know that he was a world-renowned author who had been on Oprah because he would never tell you that.

    I was fortunate enough to go on a family trip with the Zaslows a few years ago out west. I remember when Jeff, Alex and I went to see the Blue Man Group with very high expectations. It turned out that all three of us had overestimated how much we would like the show and Alex and I found it more entertaining to watch Jeff the entire time as the strobe lights hit him. To this day, Alex and I always bring up this moment. My other main memory is when the girls (Sherry, Alex, Jordan, Eden and I) wanted to walk along Rodeo Drive, so Jeff said he would wait for us. When we were finally finished, we found Jeff sitting in the trunk of the rental car parked on Rodeo Drive writing away, happy as could be. We all immediately started cracking up because it was quite a funny scene, not usually something you would see on Rodeo Drive.

    I could go on and on because the reality is there is nothing I or anyone else can say that would truly do justice in describing Jeff. He was just that one in a million, once in a lifetime person you pray you are lucky enough to know. I will live my life as a better person and with a bigger heart because of Jeff. The Zaslow family is so incredible and unique and mean everything to me. I am honored to tell the world that I was privileged to have Jeff Zaslow in my life and forever in my memories. Love you Zaslow family!

    -Nicole Green

  15. bginbc says:

    I only knew Jeff through his many books. I loved them all. After each one, I would write a review for my online newsletter and would send Jeff a copy. He always sent me a gracious note back. It was very nice of him.

  16. Peggy Shecket says:

    I’ve been so sad about Jeff’s accident that you’d think he had been related to me. I now know after reading remarks from many others that we all felt that way. We felt connected to Jeff after a brief encounter, an email friendship. I wrote to Jeff to thank him for his first article about Randy Pausch. He wrote back right away and we exchanged occasional notes. When I read that he was coming to Columbus for a lecture at the Jewish Book Fair, I showed up an hour early, hoping to get a good seat. While most were having dinner, I browsed the book fair and ran into Jeff. I recognized him immediately, introduced myself and he seemed truly delighted to meet ME! We sat down, chatted and bonded. That’s how it felt with Jeff. Instant friendship. He wrote a lovely note in my copy of “The Last Lecture” – a note which I will cherish always. I brought him Buckeye Candy which he later wrote he had taken home to share with his wife and daughters. Jeff made me feel like he was happy to meet me . To his parents: I know you are proud of the wonderful son you treasured and encouraged. To his wife and daughters: I am so sorry for this unspeakable loss. It hurts my heart that Jeff has died; I can’t even imagine how this has been for you. Thank you for sharing Jeff with the rest of us. I will remember Jeff and hold him in my heart always.

    Sincerely,

    Peggy Gawiser Shecket, Worthington, Ohio

    • R SUE DODEA says:

      So beautifully said, you speak for this “stranger”, too. I so hope we’re comforting this family in whatever small way. Arms reaching out, RSD

  17. Jeff Zaslow Touched Lives Far and Wide – Including Mine

    It is funny how Creation has a way of putting people in the right spot, at just the right time, in exactly the perfect circumstances that can allow another to meet someone that they thought they would never have the opportunity to meet. Creation put me in a path that gave me the chance to meet Jeff Zaslow – at a gathering at a home in Michigan were Jeff was going to speak about something he cared deeply about … other people.
    I have to admit I was a bit nervous. After all, Jeff had just come from a whirlwind tour promoting The Last Lecture, which he had co-authored with the late Randy Pausch, an extraordinary book about the importance of living your life well – with integrity, honor, humor and love.
    This particular event was hosted in a private residence, and Jeff was lending his voice to help others understand the importance of awareness – in this case, the awareness of pancreatic cancer and the work of the Sky Foundation that is working to find the early biomarker for the deadly disease.
    Standing on the stairway to be slightly above the crowd, Jeff used his humor and self-effacing dialogue and showed his own humanity. He spoke about love, he spoke about his family, and he spoke about The Last Lecture. His dry wit and character shone through as he told the remarkable story of how he had met and worked with Randy Pausch and the lessons he learned in the process. He made you laugh and he made you cry. I liked him.
    After his talk he mingled with those gathered and I mustered the courage to introduce myself. He shook my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, “Geez, I think someone was talking to me just yesterday about you.” The evening before he had spent time with his long time friends, Jason and Carolyn Kreiger-Cohen, and Carolyn had told Jeff that she thought he would be interested in someone whose work was unique. It just so happens that Carolyn is a friend of mine and the person she was speaking to Jeff about was me.
    That opened the door to a wonderful conversation. He was curious about what I did. As an Energy Healer and Angel Reader, my life involves helping others to see themselves differently, and hopefully, more lovingly, so that they can live their lives more fully. He asked me to sit and we had a wonderful discussion about healing, health, grief, and the mystery of what lies beyond death. In my work, I often receive messages from those who have passed…and to me it is the most natural thing in the world.
    Throughout our conversation a nagging thought ran through my mind… “Ask him…ask him…” I heard over and over. Finally, I did.
    I told Jeff that I was writing a book about my experiences as both an energy healer and intuitive and I boldly asked if he might be willing to write an endorsement for my book. I held my breath. He looked at me and said, “Send me the manuscript, and if I like it, I will happily write an endorsement for you.” He wrote down his address, shook my hand and gave me a big smile and hug. “It was a pleasure talking to you,” he said to me. Truly, the pleasure was mine. The next day I sent him the manuscript and then waited.
    One day a few weeks later I received an email from Jeff. True to his word he had read my work and wrote an endorsement. His words touched me deeply, as so many of his words had touched others.
    Jeffrey Zaslow kindly wrote: “Elaine Grohman writes from the heart about matters that are vital to all of us. It is remarkable how many people say she has changed and improved their lives. Her work in energy healing is powerful and provocative, as is this book.”
    Jeff’s words grace the front cover of my first book, The Angels and Me – Experiences of Receiving and Sharing Divine Communications. From the bottom of my heart I am grateful for that evening’s encounter with Jeff Zaslow and for the kindness he shared with me.

  18. Jim Van Bochove says:

    We had the great blessing to welcome Jeff as the keynote speaker at The Henry Ford’s All Staff Conference in January 2011. The 800 staff who gathered for that event experienced one of the most heartfelt story tellers of all time and they all loved Jeff. We shared the following in our weekly staff newsletter – the Bellwether – this past week:

    Remembering a Friend

    Many of you have heard of the untimely passing of Jeff Zaslow last Friday, February 10, 2012. Jeff was a best selling author, Wall Street Journal Columnist, and by our good fortune, the 2011 All Staff Conference keynote presenter. We were uniquely blessed to be joined by Jeff on that day and many of us developed a kinship with him, our prayers and thoughts are with Jeff’s wife and daughters in their loss.

    Jeff had a unique ability to weave a story from the heart and he often worked with others (Dr. Randy Pausch, Captain Sully Sullenberger, and Congresswoman Gabby Giffords) to help them share their stories with power and love. Jeff also shared his special perspective in hundreds of Wall Street Journal columns and in his books The Girls from Ames and The Magic Room.

    During his conference keynote, Jeff shared many memorable stories that brought both laughter and tears. This was one of the stories that Jeff shared with us that morning that was about a column of his that focused on the words “I love you.”

    The column appeared two days before Valentine’s Day in 2004, and led with the story of a judge in Maywood, Ill., who often told his children that he loved them.

    One day in 1995, as his 18-year-old daughter was leaving the house, the judge called out to his daughter. “Kristin, remember I love you,” he said.

    “I love you too, Dad,” the girl replied. That day, Kristin was killed in a car accident. It was a story that resonated with Jeff, and one he took to heart, always saying “I love you” to his wife and daughters before saying goodbye or hanging up the phone.

    “All of us should say ‘I love you’ to the people we care about,” Jeff said. “We should do it because you never know. I got about 1,000 e-mails from readers saying they were going to tell their children they loved them.

    “What I like about my job is sometimes I’m just writing about the obvious. By doing that, you can touch a lot of people and tell them things that will change their lives, even if it’s something simple.”

    In the past year we have said good bye to too many good friends and family. Perhaps as our memorial to Jeff we can each remember to take and make time for those who play such a central role in our lives – it doesn’t have to be some big showy thank you – the simple gifts are often the best!

    Enjoy a GLORIOUS day!
    Jim Van Bochove
    Workforce Development

  19. Diane Kall says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff through his Brother-In-Law, Randy more than 20 years ago. Jeff’s warm smile was infectious, he was always so welcoming. Being an avid reader, I truly loved “The Last Lecture”. When “The Girls From Ames” was published I had to get it, and again it was a wonderful read. I sent Jeff an e-mail to let him know how much I enjoyed it, in true Jeff style he responded immediately. I’m so distraught by his untimely death. I want to thank his family for this wonderful website, it has helped my family immensely to deal with this tragedy. To the Zaslow and Margolis families, “Blessed is he who bequeaths a good name to his decendents”.

    Diane Kall
    Utica, New York

  20. I worked on the CMU school newspaper, The Tartan, with Jeff at CMU in the late 70s. Even then, his personality lit up the room. He was warm, funny, brilliant, opinionated, and very hyper. When his name starting popping up all over the place years later, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. I always knew that boy was going places.

    I’d always hoped that our paths would cross again–and then discovered that my family friend Cindy Gordon Getzoff was best friends with Jeff’s sister Lisa. I hoped that would somehow lead to reconnecting. Now, knowing the love between them, as told to me by Cindy, makes the loss sting even deeper.

    My condolences and heartfelt sadness to all of you. What you are doing here is a beautiful thing and I wanted to add my long ago memory to this patchwork quilt of Jeff’s life. I didn’t play a large part in it, but the memory of that vibrant, brilliant 20 year old I used to know left an indelible mark on me.

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