My Friend Jeremy


If you have checked Jeremy’s website, you have learned that he passed away on 19 August 2013.  His doctor thought he would live six months when he was first diagnosed, he made it about eight.  When you read his blog (link below, it still works as of January 2014) he had ups and downs, but figured out how to live the last few months of his life to the fullest, just like he led his life before his diagnosis.

Several people have sent me condolences – I really appreciate this.  I did get a chance to see him each rotation home – unfortunately I was not able to attend his memorial service as I had just traveled back to Kazakhstan.  The visit in late May 2013 he shared how he was arranging his donations, particularly the orphanages in Laos he supported.  We went out for a walk that visit – picture below is with our common friend Mike – Jeremy in the middle.  My last visit in early August was with his great friend Andrea – we hung out and ate a little, drank some wine and Jeremy talked about how he was giving away all of his possessions to his family and his friends.  He had put a lot of thought into making sure his possessions went to people in need or would be special memory for the participant.  What is most impressive is he gave his home away to two friends who live in SF but cannot afford to purchase a house.  Generous to the end.








Original Post

He is sick.  He is going to die, maybe soon.  He has pancreatic cancer.  He is the same age as I am, 55.

Jeremy started a blog when he found out he had cancer.  The site is; the user name is “viewer” and the password is “horsef***er” (fill in the * with the correct letters, just can’t make myself type it out).  Makes my blog’s password of “santa” seem kinda lame, but not shocking.  Jeremy is a good writer, never knew that about him.  I log onto it periodically to see how he is doing.  Recently he learned that the light chemotherapy he was taking is helping – said he was a chemo f***ing superstar, made me laugh.

So how does having a friend who has cancer feel?  Makes me wonder how I would handle it?   What can I do to comfort him?  I need to remember to take pictures of him when I see him next. Maybe we should go on a walk and take pictures everywhere – get strangers to take pictures of us together at various spots.  Karen and I are going to visit him on Sunday, go to Glide Memorial Church with him.  Just went to Glide before Christmas, enjoy the singing but get bored by the congratulatory statements on all the good they do – feels like an infomercial. I enjoy watching the people enjoying themselves, connecting.  Jeremy writes on his blog how much he likes going to Glide – believe he liked it before but looking into death it now has more meaning to him?

Thinking about Jeremy reinforces that I want to spend time with my children, just be with them, and enjoy them.  Let go of my need to get things done and just be around them to connect and share.  Guess when a person contemplates their mortality you realize it’s the relationships that make life worth living, not the wealth or job or prestige.  Also makes me think I would like to retire sooner than later, spend time doing what I enjoy doing vs. the “stuff” that goes with working for a large company.  But that said I enjoy lots of my career with Chevron, including the people and the challenges.

So now this getting to be about me, and not Jeremy. I’m going to call him as soon as my flight lands in San Francisco and ask how he is doing.

Additional Comments

I wrote this entry while travelling home from Kazakhstan in mid-February.  We did go to Glide Memorial Church ( with Jeremy on 17 February – he had other friends there too.  We then went out to lunch with him – learned about his travel plans and how his chemo is going (has multiple trips planned and the chemo is going great).  Will plan an outing with him next time I am home in April.

22246-183Here is a picture of Jeremy at our wedding in 1991.  We have been friends since 1981.  I remember once going to a party at his house (he’s a great host) and he introduced me as follows: “This is my friend Marc.  We have been friends so long he knew me when I was poor, fat and straight.”


We Are So Proud – Eagle Scouts

The following is a speech deliverd by Jeff Kelley at an Eagle Scout ceremony in January 2013:

Ben Johnson, Aaron Lee, Diego Rocha, Zane Samuel, Spencer Wright, and AD Will-Arrego. Congratulations on your success in earning the highest rank in scouting. I speak for the adult leaders of Troop 202, present and past, in saying that we know what you went through to earn this award, and we are justly proud of your accomplishments. I take great pleasure in this public acknowledgement of your success here today. But as your Emeritus Scoutmaster, I’d like to add a few cautionary words about success.

Most of us know that success is just the flip side of failure. One might argue that success isn’t success unless it costs us something close to what it’s worth. If it comes too easy, success begins to seem normal and loses its meaning in our lives. The process of becoming an Eagle Scout is fraught with pitfalls; it’s not meant to be easy, it’s meant to mean something, and meaning – in spite of all the cultural messages to the contrary, especially those directed toward the young – meaning is never merely success. It is, perhaps, significance of purpose, purchased at the risk of possible failure.

During this holiday season it is fitting to observe that your generation is bombarded with messages about wealth, consumption, status, style, fashion, attitude, and success.

I wonder, though, how much you hear about meaning. For if meaning is bound up with significance of purpose and its attendant risk, then there’s something else you’ll need to take with you from this place: humility. Be humble enough in your moment of accomplishment to look around you, and you will see the most important people in your lives gathered here today in your honor. Be justly proud. At the same time, look inside yourselves and you will know that the rank you now carry you did not earn alone.

If I may speak for the adults in your lives – and as one of them – let me say that what I think what we want our kids right now is to be real. To understand that the world is bigger than their personal egos and desires. That there is real danger and real hope. That trivial things are just trivial things, and that achievements of significance are hard, take time, and can only be earned.

Ben, Aaron, Diego, Zane, Spencer, Adrian – you have earned this moment – hold it close – you’ve waited a long time for it – you’ve come from far away to get it – keep it with you for the rest of your lives – keep in mind those of us who brought you here – we remember when you came – we remember when you were small – it is hard to let you go now – but we are so proud!

My Additional Comments:

Both my son Zack – friends of these boys – and I were in attendance at this Eagle Scout Ceremony.  This speech by Jeff brought tears to my eyes – his eleqouance and heart-felt words were incredibly special.  The entire ceremony was special – there was a slide show for each boy / young man, and they each also delivered a speech.  As I type this I get a little emotional thinking about these boys, their families and my own children and family – and reflect on what is meaningful in life.

I have known 5 of these boys, Ben, Aaron, Diego, Zane and Spencer for about 10 years.  I was their Den Leader (or Cubmaster)  in Cub Scouts (Pack 295 in Oakland) for each of the 5 boys, and also a soccer coach for 4 of the boys over multiple seasons.  I have a lot of shared memories of these boys growing up: Pinewood Derbies; campouts; Blue & Gold Dinners; Crocker Carnivals; soccer practices, games and playoffs.  Zack completed Cub Scouts in Spring of 2005 – he joined Boy Scouts Troop 202 in the Fall of 2005 but did not stick with it partly because we have moved from Oakland to Orinda.

Den 2 Cub Scouts 4 (021103)

This is a photo from early 2003 – the boys are showing off their Pinewood Derby cars.  In the front row, starting from the left is Aaron, Zack and Diego – Ben is on the far right.  Spencer is fifth from left in the second row.  My guess is Zane did not join Pack 295 until the next year.



I am impressed by Ben, Aaron, Diego, Zane and Spencer, and their families, for completing the Boy Scouts program and earning the Eagle Scout rank.  It takes effort, perserverance, and support – all skills that will help them be successful in adulthood.  And I am pleased with my contributions – I was part of the “village” that helped raise them.


2011 Evans Family Holiday Letter

Greetings.  As some of you know we typically send out a “newsy” holiday letter, enclosed in our annual holiday card.  When the kids were little we were hard pressed to keep up with this but the last few years we reestablished this family tradition.  I’m excited this year to do this on-line; always wanted to have the option of tweaking the “letter” after the cards went out in the mail.  So anyway, here goes:

As you can see, the kids are getting big.  The picture is from our summer vacation (late June) where we visited NYC and Washington DC (vacation pics posted under links in this blog), just before I departed for my first trip to Kazakhstan.  We enjoyed the tour of the Mint, purchased a few trinkets in the gift shop, and then took pictures of each child in front of the “growth board.”  Please note that both Grant and Andrew cheated a bit – Andrew is actually a 1/2″ shorter than Claudia.

Zack: senior year at Miramonte High School.  He got his driver’s liscense at the beginning of the summer and returned as a camp counselor at UC Berkeley Strawberry Canyon summer camp.  He drives himself and brother Grant to school each day, plus helps with drop-off / pick-up of Claudia / Andrew (this 3rd driver in the house is essential when I am away working in Kazakhstan).  Zack has lots of friends, does well in school, and is enjoying his senior year including his Sports Medicine and Physiology classes.  He has already been accepted to four PAC 12 universities (did not apply to the UC system) and is close to accepting addmission to the University of Arizona.

Grant: sophmore year at Miramonte High School.  Gets along well with Zack (finally), also has many friends and does very well in school.  His favorite sport is lacrosse which means he goes to summer camps, plays box lacrosse (indoor) in the fall and field lacrosse in the winter/spring (February to early May).  2012 will be his second year on the Miramonte JV team – there is a great group of kids and coaches involved in Miramonte lacrosse – and we have become friends with several families we met through Grant’s participation.

Andrew: 7th grade at Orinda Intermediate School (OIS).  His sport is also lacrosse.  Andrew plays for a local club – they have four teams in his age bracket this upcoming season. He also goes to camps in the summer, participates in a once/week skills and scrimmage training in the fall, and then practices 2/week with 1 or 2 games on weekends during the season (again, Feburary to early May).  Andrew can do well in school, but he sometimes lets his responsibilities slip without constant “encouragement” from his parents (and with four kids and a half-time single parent household he sometimes is able to dodge our check).  He really enjoys reading – we both got Kindles this year and share books.

Claudia: 7th grade at Orinda Intermediate School (OIS).  Dance, drama and shopping – Claudia has lots of activities and probably spends as much time in the car going to/from than the other three kids combined. She was in both the fall and spring productions (Snow White and The Wiz) while in 6th grade and fall production of A Midsummer Night/s Dream in 7th grade at OIS; we expect she will try out for the 2012 spring play which has yet to be announced.  Claudia really enjoys dance, having taken classes the last couple years.  This fall she joined a new dance studio, takes classes three evenings per week and will start paricipating in dance competions in 2012.  Even with this heavy activity load she does very well in school – our last child is very responsible.

As far as Karen and I, we are both doing well.  Karen’s physical ailments are at bay this year, both her back and foot are repaired.  Together we joined a health club a few miles from the house and enjoy working out together when I am home.

Karen continues to work at Kaiser in Walnut Creek – still at an 80% schedule.  She volunteers at OIS once per month plus handles all the house / kid duties of our family without complaint.  Karen typically handles the many dentist/orthodontist/doctor visits but I help when I am home (4 visits alone this recent rotation home).  She has also had to step up and deal with computer, car and furnace problems while I am away.  The flip side is when I am home I help get the kids out of the house in the morning, pick them up after school, and get them to / from their various activites – all without the distraction / stress of juggling work responsibilities.  Plus I get to work on “weekend” home projects throughout the week when I am home – this last trip home completed what it probably would have taken me three months to do.  I know this may come across as sexist as Karen and many other working moms juggle work/life responsibilities without complaint, but for me I am much more engaged with my family when I am home off rotation.

Extended Family News

Karen’s brother Bruce and family (Courtney and Cooper) are well in Portland.  We all got together in October to celebrate Karen’s father’s marriage to Cynthia Bishop (he met her in Sedona after Karen’s mom passed away in March 2009).  Her father is in good health after two knee replacements and continues to travel extensively.

My mother continues plugging along – she is now 84 and had a pacemaker installed this summer.  With my rotation schedule I am able to take her many medical appointments – we joke that I see her more now that I am working in Kazakhstan.  My sisters Robin and Joanne and their families are well and continue to grow.  We currently have two grand-nephews (Christopher and Carson) and one grand-niece (Rose).

Well that’s it for now.  Wishing each and everyone who reads this far a happy holiday season and a great 2012.

Marc and Karen Evans