This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, James Vera. We will remember him forever.
Posted by Joanna Castillo on April 19, 2021
I am saddened to hear this news. I have had the pleasure to work along James on occasion for several projects during my years at Google and I cannot express enough what a wonderful colleague he was since day 1. He had such a breadth of knowledge, wisdom, fun humor and sincere kindness. He was always willing to assist the team and myself with anything we needed. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to his entire family, friends and loved ones.

Thank you James for all the wonderful impact you've made in the world. Your light shines on.

- Joanna
Posted by Yuchen Y on April 7, 2021
I feel shocked when I heard the bad news.

James, It was my pleasure to working with you. And I appreciate a lot for your kind help on my projects. I will always remember your cheerful, "Howdy, ma'am!".
Posted by Jayro Molano on April 7, 2021
Thank you James for always being such a warm and receiving energy at work and in our interactions. I always admired your wealth of knowledge and your character.

May God Bless you and your family. Rest in peace my good man.
Posted by Huan Sun on April 7, 2021
James, it's so sad to learn that you have passed away. I still remember the threading problem you asked during my interview. That was 6 years ago. I think I did okay; otherwise I wouldn't have had the privilege working with you on the same team in the next couple of years. You were such a great TL, kind and witty. I will miss you for all the cheerful "howdy sir" greetings.
- Huan
Posted by Carmen Cook on April 4, 2021
We know James as a loving husband and wonderful father. In this time of remembrance, we want to share a poem.

By Arnold Crompton

When I have moved beyond you in the adventure of life,
Gather in some pleasant place and there remember me
With spoken words, old and new.

Let a tear if you will, but let a smile come quickly
For I have loved the laughter of life.

Do not linger too long with your solemnities.
Go eat and talk, and when you can;
Follow a woodland trail, climb a high mountain,
Walk along the wild seashore,
Chew the thoughts of some book
Which challenges your soul.

Use your hands some bright day
To make a thing of beauty
Or to lift someone’s heavy load.

Though you mention not my name,
Though no thought of me crosses your mind,
I shall be with you,
For these have been the realities of my life for me.

And when you face some crisis with anguish.
When you walk alone with courage,
When you choose your path of right,
I shall be very close to you.

I have followed the valleys,
I have climbed the heights of life.
Posted by Elmer Garduno on April 2, 2021
James was such an extraordinary person and I feel so fortunate to have crossed paths with him. I have the fondest memories of working with him from the time I joined Google in 2014. I can still remember him gathering everyone in the team for lunchtime. He always saw the bright sight of life.

James you were a great mentor and friend. Like everyone else, I'm going to miss you. Thank you for your friendship.
Posted by Daniel Hernandez on April 2, 2021
I will always remember James with fondness. He and I worked together in my first project in Google when I joined almost 6 years ago, and he was always very warm, caring, patient, and extremely knowledgable person I knew I could always count on, specially as a noogler.
James will be sorely missed. Godspeed friend.
Posted by Peter Mateja on April 1, 2021
I first met James over the phone, for my initial interview with Google. I was pretty nervous, but his easy going manner quickly got through to me, and set me up for a successful navigation of the Google hiring process.
After moving halfway across the country with my family, settling in, then going through noogler orientation, it turns out that James was the TL on my new team. His mentorship and calm, careful demeanor, provided the right place for me to grow into my new role at Google. James had an amazing balance of conscientiousness mixed with pragmatism. Overall he was a friendly, honest, wonderful person to work with.
Posted by Chris Antilla on April 1, 2021
So amazing to see all the lives that James has impacted inside and outside of Google!

I first met James over a champion / fit interview many years ago as he was joining Google. I remember meeting him and thinking within 2 minutes that I needed to pull him into the swirl that was Datacenter Automation at the time. I was thrilled he accepted and he immediately started having an impact. I remember giving him more and more and amazed at how he could bring order to the chaos. He just simply built systems that worked. He cared deeply for his customers and the people that depended on his software. Truly rare to find someone that even during times of frustration and challenge remained so positive and uplifting. There were many things I learned from James but he embodied the team spirit and always worked to get consensus and do the right thing. If we can all remember to just take a little bit more of that forward in our daily lives his impact will be lasting.

Likely some funny stories to share regarding an offsite or two or three but will save those for another time... James was also a great buddy to my old yellow lab Molly. He would always make time to say hello and let her know she was loved. James would frequently watch her for me as well as take her to his meetings.

James was truly an amazing man and I will truly miss him.
Posted by LabThug Nida on April 1, 2021
James had a big impact within Google outside of the team he was on. I was one such person he influenced during his time there. Even before I became a Program Manager, James would help me on the many issues I hit during my days bringing up new servers. As a Program Manager, he and I collaborated on fixing many things (including some I previously raised from before my role changed). He and I formed a relationship of mutual respect through our many candor meetings.

I will always remember him fondly and a smile will always shape my face when I do. Thank you James for the experiences you gave me!

We have been blessed by knowing him, now let's do our best to not forget what he gave us.
Posted by Avi Palanisamy on April 1, 2021
I met James 6 years ago and worked with him in various projects. I remember the unassuming personality, who was always ready to teach, and share ideas . He always left the conversation with a smile. We will remember you for your friendliness and smile.
Posted by Geoff Mendal on March 30, 2021
I had the privilege of working with James both at Stanford when he was a student and I a software engineer in Professor Luckham's research group, and years later at Google. James was a kind soul with a razor-sharp wit. I'm deeply saddened to have learned of his passing, wish him Godspeed on his journey, and love for his family and friends at this difficult time.
Posted by David Compton on March 30, 2021
I am greatly saddened to hear about James.
He was my most talented doctoral student to not receive his degree, and in fact he was as talented as any who did. James could solve a technical problem as fast as anyone, and he did all the research needed to get his degree. The one thing he never could do was the last step, write up his results. And I don't think he cared about it very much, at the time, or later in life.
It seems that the degree was totally unnecessary anyway. I am so glad to see here, in these tributes, that he has had a very successful and happy life. It is so sad that it ended before his time.
My deepest sympathy to his family.
- David Luckham
Posted by Walter Mann on March 30, 2021
So many great memories of James:
-- Friday afternoon port tastings in the Gates building
-- Hanging out on various work trips to Greenwich Village, Seattle, Napa, and Sorrento
-- Arguing details of event pattern matching for hours on the white board with the rest of the gang
-- His friendly, approachable style with new yearly gang of "young-uns"
-- Asking him questions about Texas, and getting that pained, patient look and a reply that always started: "Well, Texas is a very big state..."
The world just won't be the same without him.
Posted by Neel Madhav on March 29, 2021
I had the privilege and honor of going to school with James. Always a pleasure to be around. You will be missed, my friend.
Posted by Seraj Dosenbach on March 29, 2021
My heart is saddened for the loss. James had an impact on so many people, not just because of the projects and ideas he championed but because of his enormous heart that radiated warmth, calm, kindness, acceptance, patience, gratitude, collaboration, humility, wisdom, joy, laughter, and love to everyone who crossed his path.

He, to me, embodied the following quote: "Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path." --Baháʼu'lláh
Posted by Richeng Huang on March 28, 2021
You carried a black handbag inside which had your old flimsy Thinkpad laptop until Google forced you to refresh. You always started a conversation with your trademark “howdy!” and finished it with your trademark “anytime, sir!”. You frowned every time when I insisted Java is better than Python. You didn’t proactive use your well-deserved vacation time. You’ve devoted so so much to your work and I still remembered you said “who can do work at work.”
You have guided me through numerous difficult problems, helped me grow and helped me gain experiences for the past 5 years. I am truly blessed to have such a senior leader in my early career.
I believe heaven doesn’t have diseases but have plenty of kind people like you and have plenty of hiking trails you can enjoy.
RIP James

- Richeng
Posted by Rujul Shah on March 28, 2021
James, I am deeply grateful that I had an opportunity to work with you and learn from you past three years . Since my noogler days, I came to you for all my questions, doubts about FTS, Tonka, CRS and everything in Resource planning; and you always found time to answer them all with the warmest smile. Those months of 2018/19 in MP5, when I sat across you was the most fun, educating, productive and empowering time for me.
I cannot thank you enough for motivating me to speak-up during discussions, encouraging to hold my stand when needed, giving me strength to believe in my abilities and believing in me since my noogler days. Your words and actions were always too kind and encouraging, they helped a lot at personal level too. I hope one day to have achieved at least some of your patience, knowledge, skill to multi-task and very friendly attitude (and be the confident professional you always encouraged me to be). Thank you James for being the great mentor and the awesomest lead.
Posted by Louis Perrochon on March 26, 2021
We go back over 20 years. You have been an advisor in everything important, including marrying my wife and me. I'll miss you, your intelligence, your wit, your moral compass, and your excellence in everything that matters.

As everyone can imagine, while fully aware of the sanctity of the matrimony, you used some unorthodox and funny wording. Enough that my father took me aside and wondered if our marriage was legitimate.
Posted by Yang Gao on March 26, 2021
So lucky had chance working with you, James. Tech guru, always ready to help, nice, smile, space fan, all the memory with you are so warm.

Wish we could have meal at trading post or Jiating to hear your story one more time. But you are gone ... Hope your soul flying to infinite outer-space where you are always longing to.


-Yang Gao
Posted by Daechul Sohn on March 26, 2021
James, why did you donate your unused vacation to needy colleagues?
Why did you help get dozens of your colleagues promoted, but never seek out your own?
Why did you spend late, drunken nights at off-sites writing code, to meet deadlines that... seriously, what was that for?
Why did you participate in an ALS study, instead of taking proven treatments?

And James, why didn't you give me a chance to thank you one more time in person?

"The world was not made for its greatest men." That's you, James.

Rest in peace, James. I'm glad that you will never have to explain yourself, ever again. Let's suppose there is after-life. If so, I will look forward to having that post-Covid whiskey.

- DC
Posted by Anitha Vijayakumar on March 26, 2021
James interviewed me at Google almost 10 years back. One of the friendliest persons anyone will come across. Phenomenal human being. You could go to him asking for help and he would go out of his way to make sure he helped you. Infinite patience answering questions that anyone had.

I will always miss you James!
Posted by Alex Santoro on March 26, 2021
James is one of the friendliest, smartest, kindest persons I have ever met. It has been wonderful having him in my life as a fellow student, coworker and friend. I will miss our conversations, especially the ones where he picked the other side of the argument, just because.
Posted by Martina Koldewey on March 26, 2021
James to the Rescue

His wonderful feat of programming that rescued me and elevated my status to being something more than a stressed human interface. I am reminiscing what a great project this was - to learn, collaborate and have fun all at the same time. James was a gifted teacher, mentor, engineer and above all a friend.

I can't be grateful enough for his contributions to "rackfication ccb". I was so happy to have had him around to answer millions of questions. He prepared me to stand on my own feet in dealing with sql.

Thank you James! You will be missed - martina
Posted by john wilkes on March 25, 2021
James and I got off to an "interesting" start, because I was providing voluminous feedback to one of his design documents, and he probably thought I was an interfering busybody from a different group. (I still remember the full-on furrowed eyebrow look I would sometimes get when we disagreed about something!)

But once we got past that, he became one of the colleagues that I always looked forward to running into - both because of his encyclopedic knowledge (I never actually had to learn anything, because James always knew it!) and his super kind, supportive, cheery disposition. And I always marveled at his ability to be present in 3 or more video conferences at a time.

James was the kind of person I joined Google to work with. He'll be
sorely missed.
Posted by Priya Baliga on March 25, 2021
James, you were a truly outstanding colleague, friend, and teammate. Kind, cheerful, humble, ever-willing to share your wealth of knowledge. I will miss your passion for driving transformational work; I will miss your Texan charm complete with an always sunny "Howdy ma'am"; and I will miss the loud ring of laughter in the corridor that always spread joy!

We will all miss you dearly! #RIP

-- Priya
Posted by Mandy Miklush on March 25, 2021
I first met James 10 years ago as a Noogler. I remember being overwhelmed with the complexity of Google Data Centers and the Machines Database. James was so kind and patient and helped me understand a lot! I will never forget the way he paved the way for me at Google!  I could always count on him when going into tough meetings for a shrug and smile afterwards. He always had creative and sometimes sneaky ;-) ways to get around challenges we were given.  I will miss him!

Posted by Jennifer Chien on March 25, 2021
James, I will always remember your cheerful, "Howdy, ma'am!" around the office. You were kind, warm, and welcoming to all Googlers. In addition to being one of the most helpful SWEs I've had the pleasure to work with, you also brought your heart and soul to work. The time you spent with us was a priceless gift that will stay in our hearts forever. I will miss your Texan charm and never-ending stream of optimism. Thank you for sharing your love with the world. Sincerely, ~Gem
Posted by Teodora Avram on March 25, 2021
James - you were an extraordinary colleague and we will all miss you dearly! Rest in peace!
Posted by Lora Hurtig on March 25, 2021
Please Donate in James' name to Peninsula Open Space Trust.
Posted by Lora Hurtig on March 25, 2021
Pictures of James are found here.

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Joanna Castillo on April 19, 2021
I am saddened to hear this news. I have had the pleasure to work along James on occasion for several projects during my years at Google and I cannot express enough what a wonderful colleague he was since day 1. He had such a breadth of knowledge, wisdom, fun humor and sincere kindness. He was always willing to assist the team and myself with anything we needed. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to his entire family, friends and loved ones.

Thank you James for all the wonderful impact you've made in the world. Your light shines on.

- Joanna
Posted by Yuchen Y on April 7, 2021
I feel shocked when I heard the bad news.

James, It was my pleasure to working with you. And I appreciate a lot for your kind help on my projects. I will always remember your cheerful, "Howdy, ma'am!".
Posted by Jayro Molano on April 7, 2021
Thank you James for always being such a warm and receiving energy at work and in our interactions. I always admired your wealth of knowledge and your character.

May God Bless you and your family. Rest in peace my good man.
Recent stories

My carpool buddy

Shared by Sriram Sankar on March 30, 2021
James joined our research group maybe 2 or 3 years after I did. During the first part of our interactions, I watched him working on Linux on laptops - when both Linux and laptops were extremely novel concepts. That effort grew to be VA Linux - the V stands for Vera. I learned a lot from James during this time - going after new areas, innovation, and so on.

After I graduated, I continued with the research group as a Research Associate, and moved out of student housing to Fremont. James had also moved to Hayward. The two of us carpooled to Stanford from the east bay for at least a year or two. He met Jenny during that time.

The incident I remember from those carpooling days was how James calmed down a nearby driver stricken with road rage. That guy felt James had wronged him in some way and got out of his car and started banging on James car (it was his turn to drive that day). It took James just a few seconds to calm things down - I'm sure if it were me, the situation would have just escalated. I'm sure everyone can relate to this - given all the other stories I have read.

James, I know we were not in touch recently, but I'm going to miss you. We've met frequently at various parent events in the Palo Alto schools, but that has been a few years ago. Rest in peace - you are taking your greatness to a better place.


The Soda Can Challenge

Shared by Alex Santoro on March 29, 2021
During our R. A. years, James and I shared an office. Every afternoon around 3 pm, one of us would get up and go to the vending machine and grab two sodas for the both of us. It was kind of a ritual for us.

One day I got the brilliant idea to play a prank on James. So, when I came back from the vending machine I placed both cans on his desk and informed him that I had shaken one them during my walk back.  James picked a can, reached out for the tab and I took a step back.  Without hesitation, he stood up, went to my desk, sat down and opened the can. Lucky for me, he had chosen wisely.

And that's one of the many things I admire in James, his problem solving ability.

P. S. As a side note, before people think I'm a villain, I had never actually shaken either of the cans, just told him that that had happened.
Shared by Jennifer Ochs on March 27, 2021
So many knew James as an amazing colleague and friend; I knew him to be a wonderful husband and father.

When during our daughters’ baby years, it somehow seemed important to me to be able to work crazy hours, James stopped working so that he could stay home with them.  He was their primary caregiver during their most formative years, and was instrumental in enabling them to become the kind, smart, strong, caring young women that they are today.  

When our daughters wanted to become girls scouts but their school did not have a troop, he founded one, and even became a girl scout leader.  That troop probably did more science-related activities by far than any other troop, but also had the most laughter. 

When a bug was discovered in a corner of the house, and other occupants of the house were running shrieking to another room, James patiently held a cup under the hesitant daddy long legs or other creepy crawly bug, gently convincing it with well-reasoned arguments to plop into the cup and move to the garden for a quieter life.  No bug got smooshed on his watch.  

Except for computer bugs. Whenever a computer in the house did become locked or get into some weird mode such that it would not respond to the usual remedies, one simply had to call James over. He would say “What’s going on?” and then magically the problem would disappear and could not be replicated.  Honestly, this must have happened a hundred times. Computer bugs knew when they had met their match.

Whenever James would sit down on the couch for some quiet time to read, it was inevitable that children and animals would soon be competing for snuggle time with him. He was always so warm, in every sense of the word.

Whenever anyone needed help with anything, James was there. But if you needed help solving a problem, be it a homework or a life problem, he would never just give you the answer, even though he likely knew the solution.  He ever so patiently guided you though the thought process, making you reason it out for yourself. Gosh, that was exasperating.  

Don’t worry, you will always know where to find James.  He is sitting near the kids’ end of the table, laughing.