My good friend Jordan Breeding passed away this morning after a battle with cancer. Better eulogies are coming from people much more articulate, but I felt I needed to speak about his character.
I meet Jordan several years ago when he was working with my business partner Marcus Zarra. For months Marcus was telling me about this new kid that was working with him and how impressed he was not just with his technical skills but also his resilience. For those of you that know Marcus we can agree that he has a pretty high bar so his praise spoke volumes.
Meeting Jordan was anything but what you would expect from such a world-class developer. He was humble, soft-spoken, energetic with a zest for life that is rarely seen. He was showing everyone his new Cocoa is My Girlfriend tattoo and as usually was absorbing some friendly ribbing. Me and Jordan instantly hit it off, he was one of the nicest people I have ever meet, he was so humble and eager to learn and grow as a developer.
A few years ago Jordan left our organization and went to work with Apple. We all couldn’t have been happier for him, and he was so excited to work for a company that he loved so much. Having a team member the caliber of Jordan leave is never easy but we all expected great things from him. As we expected from Jordan he quickly made friends in California and was one of the guys right away. I would see Jordan a couple of times a year but when we were together it was always like we had never been apart.
I last saw Jordan several months ago after his car accident when he first got diagnosed. We were having dinner with some friends in California and my iPhone was acting up. Jordan volunteered to break away from the pack and come to the Apple Store with me. You rarely get to pick your last time with a friend, my last time with Jordan was him fighting with the Apple Store staff on my behalf. That was Jordan, even with everything he was going through he never thought of himself first.
Jordan was taken from the world far too young. No one ever speaks ill of those who have passed but in all the years I had known him I never heard anyone speak ill of Jordan. Everyone liked him, everyone loved him. He was of superb character.
Each of us who knew him will cope with the loss in their own way, some of us will show emotion publicly and others will struggle on the inside. When we think about life we often reflect on our legacy. What we leave to the world is something everyone worries about and few of us ever do anything to conquer. Jordan had the privilege of working on the UIKit team at Apple on iOS 7, 8, and beyond. Jordan’s contributions to those products will touch the hands of hundreds of millions of users. Hundreds of millions of Apple fans will get to experience a small piece of Jordan and while they may never of gotten the chance to know him they will get to share in some of the magic that Jordan shared with the world. Today I have come to like the idea that iOS will always have a piece of Jordan in it and every time I use my phone I will remember my friend who left us far too soon.
“Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” is a poem written in 1932 by Mary Elizabeth Frye, it has always brought me comfort in times of loss and I hope it can do the same for you.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.