In Memoriam: Jeff Zaslow

Feb 13, 2012 | Everything Else

On Saturday morning, I was checking the New York Times business section, as usual, when one headline leaped off the screen at me. “Jeffrey Zaslow, Author and Journalistic Role Model, Dies at 53” it read.

I encountered Jeff for the first time when he interviewed me for a story he was writing for the Wall Street Journal. That was several years ago. Those years were busy ones for him.

He wrote a front page Journal story about Randy Pausch and “The Last Lecture,” then he and Randy wrote a book with the same title. It’s a great book.

Jeff wrote some other books you may recognize. There was Highest Duty with Chesley Sullenberger and Gabby, with and about Gabby Giffords.  There were also two other books with special meaning for me.

The Girls from Ames is about the lifetime friendships of several women from Ames, Iowa. I told Jeff how exactly it captured the spirit of the friendships among my wife’s starting-in-childhood friends. And there’s The Magic Room. The story is about a bridal shop in Fowler, Michigan, but the book is about what we want for our daughters.

Frankly, I wouldn’t be writing this post if Jeff Zaslow was just another reporter. With most reporters you exchange information and then you move on. And there are lots of authors I won’t miss after they’re gone. I may miss their work, but they’re not people to me. With Jeff, it was different. I’ll miss his work, but I’ll also miss Jeff.

In every conversation or email exchange you got a little bit of Jeff. And in every conversation or email exchange you knew you were dealing with a person who cared about you and not just about the information you were exchanging. That’s why I’ll miss Jeff Zaslow and I bet a lot of other people will, too.

– o0o-

One other person who remembered Jeff Zaslow is my friend Jennifer Kahnweiler in her post, “Remembering Jeffrey Zaslow, Author and Father”.