Remembering Jeff McLeman
January 22, 2020
Like many who knew him, I am absolutely devastated to hear the news of the passing of Jeff McLeman. I got to know McLeman while working at Black Pixel together. Though we didn’t get to work together on projects, he would come into the office every Thursday from his home in Vashon Island. If there is one thing I can point to which I cherish most about Jeff is the presence and conversations we had.
Jeff was an old school person. He believed in working hard, being authentic, and taking no BS from people who weren’t. Basically, he’s from Boston. With him, trust had to be earned. I remember my first trial and tribulation with him came from a very small gesture. I was in Cupertino visiting Apple’s campus. Jeff sends me a DM on Slack, “I need a new hat. Get me a black size medium.”
At the time, I didn’t really know Jeff. I said, “sure, why not.” I bought the hat, and next time he was in the office I gave it to him. He was so grateful, paid me back. What I remember is he wore that hat all the time. Looking back, I’m sure it wasn’t even the hat he cared about, but it was because I got it for him and that small gesture built a relationship of trust and reliability.
Even when I moved to San Francisco and he moved to Beaverton with his lovely wife Stef, I would get occasional pings from him. He never lost touch, and would check in to see how I was doing. I know he didn’t do this to just me. Authentic relationships were important to him.
My thoughts are with his wife Stef, son Ian, the schnoodles, and all of his friends and family. If you knew Jeff, he wouldn’t say pray, but perhaps embody all the things those religious communities intend to convey, to care deeply about humans, love one another, and cherish life.
Jeff, I will miss you so much. I will forever cherish our Thursday morning Real Talk breakfasts at Lola. We’d always get the Lola scramble, sausage for you, bacon for me. If there was one more thing I could tell you how much it meant to me how much you believed in me, not only as a professional, but a person.
I will truly miss such a great mentor, and a wonderful friend.