You did, JD. I remember when Hope first spoke of you. I remember the light in her eyes. I remember seeing you two together for the first time……..and how easily you two connected….fit. You loved her. She loved you…..unconditionally. It’s rare, you know. Rare. Thank you for being such a light in her eyes and her heart…….and in ours by association. I don’t know why you had to leave so soon but I know that while you were here, you imprinted us all with your grace.
Thank you, JD.
For many of us who had our fingers in email and usenet before there was a spam problem to fight, it was really our souls… our spirit enmeshed in the idea. We were all hooked on these profound connections we’d made with our words in our niches of newsgroups and mailing lists.
There was a passion for providing an infrastructure to help others achieve the same connections, to provide a vehicle for their words,. And a naivety that just providing it would change the people who joined into our little world more than their joining changed it. Some of us became jaded fairly quickly, but JD always kept the lamp of optimism lit and held high.
Even in the whiz-bang web2.0 world, words matter. These aren’t the best words, or the appropriate words, but they’ll have to do for now.
I can’t claim to be a close personal friend of J.D., but for most of 2 decades I have known him as a fellow crusader against the abuse of mail and Usenet, a valuable colleague at MAPS, and genuinely good and kind man.
J.D. was one of the first people on Usenet to treat me like an adult human, as much as I may not have deserved it. It was some years later that I learned that he was significantly younger than me, making his combined level-headedness and technical skill all the more impressive. In a sense I owe him my marriage. He was one of the most active and positive participants in the “Usenet 2″ project, an experiment which succeeded long enough that my wife and I met through a Usenet 2 newsgroup.
More importantly, J.D. was a leader in the trenches of the war against net abuse for his whole career, and he has been working for the public good the whole time. There is still spam despite his work, and despite the work that the rest of us carry on doing, but because J.D. took on some tough battles and fought them as well as anyone could, we all are better off than we would be without him. Even those people who never knew he existed. Many of us who share that fight do it with varying degrees of misanthropic egotism, grumbling about spammers and clueless users and spamfighters who aren’t as brilliant or pure as ourselves, but J.D. always seemed to be doing it for everyone, mostly with a smile.
Its been awhile but I know you are always around that next corner. You have proved yourself to be inspiring and always reliable. I remember meeting you like it was yesterday, it has been a wonderful ride since. KOIN will miss you, I will miss you.
I can’t be too mad at spammers. I probably never would have met J.D. if not for them.
JD was such a powerful, wise, and kind-hearted colleague, friend, and ally. As a tireless leader of the worldwide war against spam — through his leadership at CAUCE and MAAWG, his hands-on work at Hotmail, Yahoo!, and Return Path, and his kind, sensitive, and caring approach to making the Internet a safer place — JD had a tremendous, lasting impact on spam, e-mail, and the Internet as a whole.
We will miss him and his contributions terribly. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family, friends, colleagues, and the extended e-mail community.
I knew J.D. long ago via his work with MAAWG. It is sad to see one of our good technical leaders pass. So few can match J.D. interest in making “everything work the right way”.
I first met JD in India, when he good heartedly agreed to accompany my oldest friend (and later his wife) Hope on a visit to me. He had a conference in Hyderabad, many hundreds of miles away but went waaaay out of his way to make sure Hope and I could connect. I had my then husband and three kids in tow, chaos abounded. He and Hope travelled all night by car to meet us at the hotel. It was beastly hot. The food was hot. The room was hot. My kids swarmed all over him. Hope and I chattered like excited birds and basically left him to his own devices. He and James bellied up to a bottle of scotch and wrangled the kids. When Hope and I came up for air, I tossed a ‘sorry about the choas, thanks for being so cool’ at him. He smiled a genuine smile and said, ‘no problem, it’s fine.’ And it was.
Then he pulled copies of Sesame Street out of his bag-‘There is a new character! Abby-Kadaby’. My oldest daughter’s name. He watched it with the kids 20 times in 2 days.
We travelled by rickshaw, went to the zoo (scary), the playground, shopped for souvenirs, ate at roadside stands, all in twenty trillion degree heat…and always that easy going smile. Always the ‘it’s fine.’ and it really WAS.
He was the most singularly laid-back cool cat I ever met. He took it all in stride. When the visit was over, he paid the hotel bill for all of us. A class act.
A couple days later we picked up his wedding suit (betcha didn’t know that sucker was hand made for him!) and it is my priviledge to say that he purchased the yamulke he wore at their wedding in India as well. That was the first time I met JD and the last time I was actually in his physical presence. Mostly we e mailed, and sometimes spoke through Hope.
I am and will ALWAYS be grateful that he entered her life. He was the light of her world. A perfectly matched set. I pray for her to be able to remake her life without him. I pray that his good hearted spirit will find peace, enlightenment and ultimate goodness for eternity. And that he will bless her from wherever he is.
Your goodness will be deeply missed my friend. Travel on in peace.
Rest in peace, and now you have superuser access to the universe, keep on fighting the good fight.
My friend J.D. Falk died last night. Fuck cancer.
Lately, I didn’t get to see him (or his awesome wife Hope) as often as I would have liked, but I will remember him well as one who lived life with aplomb and panache.
Back when I worked with J.D. at Return Path, I worked in our Bay Area office, and he still worked in our Colorado office. I’d travel there frequently, often going out every 3-4 weeks, and staying for a week before returning home.
As fun and interesting as the work was, the highlight of every trip for me was going out to lunch with J.D. (and Neil, when he was in the country), and the conversations we’d have. Having dim sum or phô with J.D. will always be one of my favorite things.
I’m crying over my oatmeal as I write this, but I’ll be having phô for lunch and thinking of you today J.D., and I’ll try not to get big wet tears in my soup.
“Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives… and to the ‘good life,’ whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.” -Hunter S. Thompson
I’ll better myself by remembering you.
I met JD through the SF Bay Area music scene. He was the guy with the long, colored hair who never failed to offer a genuine smile and a light-hearted hello to anyone. It was inevitable that we should become acquainted because he was so available for conversation whenever I saw him. I remember walking the grounds of a musical event early early in the morning and sitting on hay bails by the gate, chatting in the morning stillness. Bye JD. You’ll be missed in the old familiar haunts.
JD will remain a living guide to all who were privileged enough to have received his gift of kindness and friendship.
However, he will be deeply missed by so many. My prayers and condolences go out to your family. Take care.
I so hope for a cure.
Life’s too short, and JD’s death gives me some serious pause.
While I’ve never met him in person, we shared some of the same circles, and most certainly knew of each other, even though our interactions were never direct with one another.
His contributions to the messaging space of the Internet were already legendary before his death – and now ever more. He was clearly the calm voice I am still trying to find for myself, but which I’ve only ever found, if just temporarily, in the other professional space I inhabit.
Not since Abha Ahuja (Merit/NANOG) died in 2001, have I felt such a close, professional loss, and my thoughts, wishes and heartfelt condolences go out to his family.
We miss your laughter and smile. Glad you enjoyed ‘dem apples from our tree these past few months! Thanks for brightening our lives.
– gps & Karen