A Santa Cruz Son, A Welcoming Heart

William L. Harrell

We remember Jason, and we love him. He loved his family, he loved his friends, he loved his daughter Hannah, and he loved Robin. He told us that, and he showed us that in many, many ways. Jason was a devoted father, a loving son and brother, a devoted, loving friend to Robin.

Robin says, Jason had a "welcoming heart". He was friendly, inclusionary, and non-judgmental. As his friends to a one say, "You are the best - We love you, Bro!".

Jason had many friends. Many he loved, and many who love him. Love went both ways with Jason; he loved, and he is loved. He loved people, never disparaging anyone. He cared for many.

Jason did not live an 'unlived life'. He vividly experienced all that was presented to him, bravely, easily stepping forward. He would try everything that life offered. Jason was practical and sincere. He was playful, he was smart, he was dedicated; he was a friend to many. He reached out with those big, long-fingered, kind loving hands.

Jason was introspective, always challenging himself towards perfection. He did not compete with others in the classic games, but always sought to better his previous self.

Jason was not a risk taker, nor was he an adventurer just for the sake of adventure. Risks and adventure were part of his life, but only because real life is an adventure. Jason lived day by day for the sake of living, savoring the moments. He sailed because there was water to sail upon and boats to be sailed. Jason backpacked because the mountains were there to be hiked. He dove for Abalone because they were there and they made for wonderful picnics and they were a grand basis for get-togethers.

Jason loved to host picnics. He did many in Frederick Street Park, diligently preparing shish-ka-bob, abalone, and other delicacies on the barbie. Jason loved the desert because of the subtle shades of color, the rugged terrain, because it was there.

Jason taught his daughter, Hannah, to throw a ball to the dog at an early age; to love the ocean and step boldly forward always with his smile and twinkle in her eye.

Jason was love and he was compassion. He was a model to many. He applied what he knew, and what he earned and he got along well. He studied diligently how to build from wood, how to sail, how much anchor rode he needed for an anchor, what the size and weight of the anchor should be, and he studied which varnishes were perfect for his sailboat.

Jason was a Santa Cruz son. He lived life, laid back, traveling the trails on his bicycle, exploring what ever was presented. He is today, somewhere stepping along, wearing those work-boots, loose sweater, and his favorite shorts. Ones that Robin gave him. Those wonderful shorts; winter or summer it didn't matter. They were Jason's signature.

Jason was the best sailor that I have ever known. I trusted him above all others to bring me safely home from each wonderful happy day on the open sea. Jason sailed, surfed, backpacked, and rode his bicycle everywhere as his primary mode of transportation, only recently buying a truck in which he and his daughter found a new mobility that allowed him to take her to a variety of fun and exciting places. Most recently he took Hannah to the Zoo at Happy Hollow in the San Jose area. With that smile on his face I can see him now, showing her animal after animal, after animal. Jason was cautious and studied-well solutions to his many endeavors, tasks and projects. He opted for the stronger bolt, the stronger stud, the stronger fastener, the best line, the best shroud, and the most appropriate anchors, sails for his boat. He sought knowledge for the practical application. He cautiously sailed during inclement weather so that he would be prepared for the worst that could occur on the open ocean. He worked well under pressure, never panicking in emergencies.

And Jason had plans, he wanted to sail to Mexico, he and I were going to sail to the Farallons, when he had enough time this summer he was planning to fly to Alaska for a vacation. He had plans, most definitely, to take care of and raise his daughter, and as he told his Grandmom, "never letting anything happen to that little girl". He loved her so, spending every moment possible with her. He with Robin nurtured her to the beautiful happy child she is today.

Jason's life touched many. He was kind, generous, he loved children. Not only his own daughter, Hannah, but those of his friends, as well. Jason was playful, and yet patient. He savored the moments.

Jason journeyed through life, living it to the fullest. He had his place in the sun, and he knew it. He enjoyed it, and brought joy to many; especially his father, his daughter, and to Robin. He loved listening to his Gram's stories about growing up in the depression-era of the 30's. He listened and he embraced other's lessons and experiences. He was relaxed, and laid-back, evolving through life with that smile, that ever present smile.

And those hands, those wonderful loving hands that lifted his daughter high. Those hands that could work cement, trim trees, reach for abalone, and yet change a diaper gently and tenderly. Those hands that embraced and held Hannah to him. Those hands that worked so patiently and meticulously fastening Hannah's car seat solidly, securely before each automobile trip in his truck. He would double-check the attachment, ensuring there was no way it would come loose. Hannah would watch patiently, then ascend into that seat smiling and saying "This is my Dad; and this is his truck!" She was so proud and happy.

Jason loved comfortably, unpretentiously. He never staged an event in his life. He had integrity, was genuine, uncomfortable with things that were arranged. Jason learned well the lessons of life. He was brave, not for bravery's sake, but because there was no other way to live.

You can't see him, but he's there today. The picture that keeps appearing to me is he's there today wearing those boots and shorts as he makes his way on a new journey; on a path way beyond and before us, a smile on his lips, inspecting, looking-into everything along the way. In a way we cannot know, his journey continues. He is having new, wonderful experiences because they are there to be experienced. We must let him go, but it will be hard. I love him so.

We have our memories, and we have his spirit. He has left his legacy in our hearts and minds, and ever-presently we hear his words leading, loving, and guiding us along. He was our friend, deep and true. He was my friend.

I love you Jason, and I'll miss you. And we'll all miss you. My prayer is, "God, smile kindly on our Jason. He'll make you laugh, he'll engage you in deep discussion, and he'll be a model of integrity and unpretentiousness. And God, You and he will have fun."

Happy journey, Son!

William L. Harrell

You can send email to William L. at: [email protected]
mail welcome

anniversary date 08-22-98
date of post 10-13-98
email updated 10-07

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