This letter is in the memory of my brother, Jeff, so that together we may acknowledge and share both our joy in the gift that his life was to us, and the pain that his passing brings. In sharing the joy and the pain together, may we lessen the pain and remember more clearly the joy.
Jeff was just 56 years old when he passed away at his home. He was born on September 14, 1958 in Redwood City to Morio and Kazuko (Kay) Higashi. We moved to Fremont in the late 1960's, where my parents would grow commercial flowers and where we lived as children. Jeff spent all his life in Fremont and worked as an Auto Mechanic for over 38 years. Jeff was very close to his family and took care of our mother for ten years after our father passed away. To his friends, he would never say 'No' and always remembered a child's birthday. Growing up with Jeff as an older brother and my only sibling wasn't always easy for me or maybe for him. I would do stupid little brother things constantly, but let anyone else even look at me funny, and Jeff would be on my side, whatever may come. Jeff was good to his friends and employers, and they were good to Jeff - their care and support during his passing, is very much appreciated.
As an automotive master mechanic, Jeff started work when he was in High School and was a hard worker. These are the dealerships I remember: Perotti's Fremont, Los Gatos Volvo, and Sunnyvale Nissan. He owned his own shop for a few years and then he went to work Stevens Creek Lexus for past 23 years. Jeff was a car guy; he could do everything and he did it well. When he wasn't working, he loved to go to swap meets, sell and collect old toys from childhood, hot wheels, tonkas, match box cars, schwinn bikes and classic cars (he was a Ford Guy). There are a lot of stories about from his long time friends Brian Goodwin and Tom Kirkbride, but I'm afraid that those stories will have to be told by them.
There were other things besides swap meets and car stuff, many of you will recall Jeff's landscaping/gardening talent. He enjoyed working in his yard and enjoyed sharing his talent with many of his friends and family. Jeff was a man who didn't have a mean bone in his body, a warm friendly man who made his mark in the world not with grand gestures or fancy titles, but by the basic goodness and generosity of his character, by the quality of his involvement with his fellow man, and how he brought out these qualities in others.
Jeff had planned to retire up in the Sierras, and though that didn't end up working out. A promise to Jeff, that I will put together 'Mustang Sally' his 1965 Mustang GT Convertible, the way he would have and go for a ride.
There were many wonderful aspects to Jeff's life, and many ways that he touched our lives. He will be remembered as a wonderful brother, great guy, a good friend, a generous uncle, cousin, co-worker, collector, and landscaper, a friendly face in town, or in the shop. In all these ways and more, he made our lives richer and fuller. Now that he has passed away, of course there is emptiness and pain, confusion and maybe even anger at death coming to a man of only 56 years, but in many ways, the gift of Jeff's life is still here with us. He lives on in our memories and stories, and in what all of us have become because of him. So I encourage you to share –today, tomorrow and in the years to come- your memories and stories, and to share the pain of your loss as well. In this way we will keep the gift of Jeff's life alive.
A few lines from 'How Do I Say Goodbye To A Brother Like You':
'How do I say goodbye to a brother
That I love as much as you?
I still cannot believe you're gone
I'm still hoping it isn't true
Wishing this heartache was just a dream
From which I'd wake up and find
You still here, in life, with us
Or if not...somehow time we could rewind
For I don't know how to do it
How to say goodbye to a brother like you
There's almost no one who's shared as much of my life
Who knows me as well as you
I often think upon the memories we shared
When we were very young
You teased me, played with me and laughed with me
When our lives had just begun
When we shared simple thoughts and simple dreams
And were lost in childhood's plans
Dreaming up our next adventures
In the vivid ways only children can
And as we grew up there were more special moments... '
We send loving thoughts and sweet memories for Jeff. His kindness will never be forgotten. 20 years ago he made me a wonderful minature Christmas tree which I continue to put out at holiday time. It will be cherished forever.Ã¢ÂÂ¤Ã¯Â¸ÂLove BarB and Steve Monahan
I remember Jeff as a close friend of my brother Jeff all through high school – and even before. Jeff would come over our house in his yellow Ford Pick Up just hanging with friends. Always a smile and never a harsh or negative word. I’m so sorry for your loss Craig. I can’t even begin to imagine. Sending love and prayers for comfort.
Craig my thoughts and prayers are with you.
We worked with Jeff for the past 13 years. His passing is such a loss for all who knew him. He was gentle and kind and had such a great sense of humor. He always found a way to make us laugh, even in the most stressful of times. He used to bring the whole shop lemonade that he made from his lemon tree on really hot summer days—a huge icy cooler of it & it was the best. He would bring fruit in from his trees for everyone to take home. He had the highest integrity and work ethic. So many of us have the greatest respect for him. He was an excellent diagnostician. Because of him putting in all of the hard work to figure out some very challenging electrical issues, he saved all of us from having to spend days on those same challenges—we know now to check for those things first. He was truly rare, good and kind. He deserved the very best. He worked hard and we wish that he got to enjoy retirement in his future. He was too young to go just yet. We miss him. There will never be another like him, but oh how we wish. Our thoughts are with you and your family, Craig. May peace find its way to you soon.
Jeff doing what he loved best.
We’ll miss you Jeff.
Sema show 2011
Jeff at the sema show 2011
Hi Craig, I learned of Jeff’s passing tonight from Gary Mills. I used to see Jeff when he would come into Dale Hardware and we would talk about all the old guys we wrestled with. I guess I saw him last in February. So sorry for your loss. I was unaware that we shared the same birth date Sept. 14th, but I was born in 62. He always had something nice to say, I always asked how his truck was, I’m a Ford guy too! May he rest in peace and may your family find peace.
Craig, I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of your brother. I am the Treasurer of the California Flower Market in SF, where your mother Kazuko owns shares in the corporation. Please contact me by either E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org or my home phone: 510-338-3440. Regards, William Sakai
Sorry about Jeff,I worked with Jeff at Los Gatos Nissan Volvo we work side by side for two years went to lunch together every day.i quite that dealership and went to capitol ford.jeff and I stayed in connect with each other.i quit the dealership for good and open my own shop alliance automotive.jeff called me one day and said he was going to start his own shop.i help him with the Bussiness of starting his own shop.jeff loved the flee market swap meet to.one of the best mechanics I have ever work with.i will miss jeff