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  • Writer's pictureJody Ferguson

Requiescat in Pace

Last year I lost a very close friend, whom I had known since childhood, to an untimely and early passing. I was asked by his family to deliver a eulogy. Rather than compose a light-hearted message in an attempt to assuage some of the pain due to his passing, I decided to use the opportunity to ask his group of friends—our group of friends—to use Michael’s selfless example of keeping in touch and checking in from time to time. Michael, our friend, had been so good at doing this. If I ever needed any information as to an old friend’s whereabouts or doings, I had simply to reach out to Michael. Now, we were losing this bridge. I beseeched the group of assembled mourners to follow Michael’s example, and just send a line or two by text, or better yet, reach out with a phone call. Some of us can slip through the cracks, even in an age of information overload, where contact can be established with anyone anywhere on the planet with the touch of a button. It was in this spirit that I reached out recently to an old friend from college days, Jordan Lebamoff. Jordan grew up in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, the son of a prominent lawyer and one-time mayor of that city. We became acquainted as American students, living overseas in that fantastic, yet at times overwhelming, city we call Paris. We established an instant rapport. Over the next nine months, we spent hours in cafés, restaurants, and bars with other friends—French and American—discussing world politics, philosophy, inanities, and all those other frivolous topics college students love to discuss under the influence of caffeine or alcohol. Jordan, as one of our other recent friends recently explained, had that certain Midwestern common sense and decency, which he always brought to the table during our discussions. But he also had a devilish sense of humor, and he knew precisely when to deliver an uproarious, deadpan retort. The same friend recounted how Jordan used to look up over the tops of his eyeglasses with those steely blue eyes, and you got the sense he was looking deeply into you, whether to call ‘bullshit’ on you, or to tell you how much he agreed with you. Jordan never quit learning and he never tired of knowing more and more about the world each day. I visited Ft. Wayne years ago and got the golden tour from Jordan, who worked as a settlements lawyer. He did so much in helping to revitalize the southside of Ft. Wayne (or “Ft. Fun” as he called it). He also served on the local school board and was active in his alma mater’s alumni organization. He took many cases pro bono, as I was to learn later. Jordan was also proud of his Macedonian heritage and was a devoted attendee of the local Eastern Orthodox Church. When he visited the Macedonian region when we were students in Paris, we joked with Jordan how he might be lucky when he visited his relatives if they pushed a pile of hay into the corner of their barn where he could sleep. So, it was with great sadness when I phoned Jordan the other day and learned of his passing due to a heart attack. I only wish I had gotten to speak with him again, even if I didn’t know it was to say goodbye. I will miss you Jordan, as I have missed Michael. Requiescat in Pace, Frater Meus.


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