Corolla in a Snow Storm

Shared by Mike McKeon on October 6, 2016

Sorry, my story's a bit late to the party; something Jeff would never let happen!
Alvin's picture of the Corolla inspired me.  Always a generous guy, Jeff allowed me to borrow his corolla for a weekend in Montreal; hard to recall the pre-cell phone / pre-nav system era.  Heading back to Kingston's Bagot street Sunday night I accidently took what I think must have been Hwy 417 vs 401 not realizing my mistake until I reached Ottawa.  Battling a blinding snow storm, something I'd never do now but it seemed perfectly reasonable then, I finally arrived home in Kingston at 3am. Thinking I'd get a couple hours sleep before an 8am class was naive; Jeff was waiting worried for my safe return.  After admonishing my poor judgement, a beer and a short nap I somehow dragged my feet to class knowing Jeff was in my corner.  Of course, I had already known that then and since too many times to count.  Jeff's early acceptance, onoing supportive freindship and loving family are integral to my life. Thank you Jeff, Marg, Caley, Cooper & Megan. 

Outer Banks - 1990

Shared by Doug Collins on September 11, 2016

During the summer of 1990 and on the advice of Grant Lawrence - an avid windsurfer - a group of us planned a holiday at North Carolina's Outer Banks, renting a large beach house. Over two weeks many family, friends and Queen's Alumni visited including Grant and Sue Lawrence, Bruce Usher, and Jeff & Marg Brock. We had a great time in this simpler pre-children era, with days spent on the beach and evenings on the deck watching the sun go down over grilled seafood and (many) liquid refreshments.

Jeff kept up a frantic pace of activities, including rounds of beach paddleball during the day, enjoying Blizzards at a conveniently located Dairy Queen, and cigars to finish the evening off. He was keenly interested in those around him, and wasn't shy in telling us about his plans. As guests at the beach house numbered 12-15 at any time this meant lots of interesting, and often spirited, conversations, with Jeff inevitably at the centre of it.

On the last night of the trip we bought shrimp from a local seafood shop and grilled them on the BBQ...delicious. Early the next morning everyone headed north for the long drive back to Toronto, Ottawa, etc. As Helena and I headed north it started to rain heavily and late that night we finally arrived back in TO, exhausted.

The next morning we awoke feeling violently ill, and the phone rang. It turned out that (1) the shrimp we'd enjoyed was bad and everyone who ate it had food poisoning, and (2) Hurricane Bob was pummeling the Outer Banks and a mandatory evacuation of the area had been announced shortly after we left. Blissfully unaware in our beach house in those days before the Internet, we hadn't the slightest clue.

For the next 24 hours we suffered through the after effects of the shrimp and - as usual - Jeff caused the most excitement having been admitted to the ER in Buffalo with food poisoning. I haven't really enjoyed shrimp since.

As the years went by, we took other vacations with Jeff, as our families and responsibilities grew, and I'll never forget the enthusiasm and energy he applied to all aspects of his life, and the fun we had together. 

Jeff in New York

Shared by Bruce Usher on August 31, 2016

I recall how amazed I was when Jeff told me during the spring of our senior year at Queen’s that he had received an offer to work as an analyst at Salomon Brothers in New York City. This was a big deal. As far we could tell, no Queen’s Commie had ever been offered a job at ‘Sollies’ head office right after graduating. And no investment bank was more representative of Wall Street in the go-go ‘80’s than the legendary Salomon Brothers.

I was really proud of Jeff both for getting the job offer and for not being afraid to take it. New York City was a scary place in those days, and in many ways working for a place like Salomon was even scarier… they had a reputation for aggressiveness that was legendary. When Jeff moved to New York, I moved to Tokyo, and so we didn’t see each other for a while. But in 1988 I had to travel to New York, and Jeff insisted I stay at his apartment for the few days I was there, affording us the opportunity to catch up.

When I saw Jeff, he regaled me with stories of living and working in New York, but the one story that I remember best had to do with a lost shoe. Actually, Jeff’s lost shoe. What Jeff told me was that on his way to work at Solomon one morning he stepped onto the subway at the very moment that his penny loafer (remember how we all wore those?) fell off his foot. Not only did his shoe come off, but it managed to do so just as he was stepping into the subway car, thereby falling into the narrow space between the subway platform and the subway car. Jeff stepped out of the subway car and waited for the train to leave, then peered down from the platform and spotted his shoe lying next to the track. I asked Jeff what he did at that point, to which he replied “of course I jumped down onto the subway tracks, picked up my shoe, and climbed back onto the platform before the next train pulled in; that was less scary than the thought of showing up at Salomon Brothers wearing only one shoe!”

Jeff was always a lot of fun to be friends with. He did many crazy things, but always with the best of intentions. I miss him.

I Think It's The Wind...

Shared by Alvin Michael Hew on August 27, 2016

Jeff was one of the rare students while at Queen's to possess a car. I am sure you all remember his brown Toyoto Corolla.

Given Jeff's friendly demeanour and willingness to help others, it was not unusual that his car was frequently used to do a lot of things - often with Jeff as the driver (or sometimes not...)

For example, his car was often used to help others with grocery shopping, transport things (beer?) from one point to another for ComSoc events, saving people's lives by taking them to hospital after a night of revelrie (including mine when he had to take me to the KGH to get me examined when I fell backward down a flight of stairs after having just a tad too much at a party...and this was the night before he had an important interview in Toronto with Salomon Brothers I believe), and ferrying people to and from Toronto whenever he was headed that way.

During our final year at Queen's in 1986, there was a group of us who needed to be in Toronto in around the same time. As he also needed to be in Toronto, Jeff offered to drive me, Mike McKeon and Alex Seal. On this particular trip, as we headed out of Kingston on Highway 401 West toward Toronto, just at the bends, we felt the car starting to sway and pull badly. We all wondered what was going on, and Jeff said: "I think it's the wind".

So we kept driving. Alex who is always the handy one said: "I think it's a flat tire".

But ever the optimist Jeff was convinced it was the wind and kept driving.

As the swaying continued, Alex was convinced that there must be something wrong with the car. As Jeff was not going to slow down (and slowing down was not one of Jeff's strengths), the only way Alex was going to find out what was wrong with the car was to take matters into his own hands. As he was not the one driving, the only thing Alex could do was to roll down the window. When he did what he saw confirmed what he thought. The rear right tire had blown and was now almost flat.

At this point, Jeff pulled the car over. We all got out of the car and seeing the state of the tire, we had a jolly good laugh. We changed the tire (sounds like a good joke: "How many Commie students does take to change a car tyre? Four") and went on our merry way.

I am not sure if the interviews landed us the jobs we wanted but we definitely came away from the trip with a key learning: while Jeff was a generous and caring friend, an engineer and mechanic he was not. And it was definitely not the wind...

God bless him and may he rest in eternal peace. 

Unintended Consequences from Vacation...

Shared by Grant Lawrence on May 29, 2016

It was a group vacation in August of 1994, 3 couples, all just on their way to starting families and learning the ropes of being a parent.   We'd not seen each other for quite a while as Jeff & Marg were living in Orlando, Doug & Helena were in New Jersey and Sue & I were in Ottawa.   We gathered for a week in Ontario's Haliburton cottage country renting a great spot to have some fun and create new memories.

I was just learning and teaching myself how to play guitar, I was a real hack at it, and was sharing this with anyone that would listen.   Here is Jeff playing his favorite instrument, a pink tambourine, where he got that is still a mystery.  Marg is in the background in red and Doug is giving the 6-string a go for the first time.  I believe he wanted to know how to play New Order or was it Pet Shop Boys(?). 

There is another picture of Jeff giving it a go with a guitar.  I was probably teaching him CCR or some other easy 3 chord song.   I can still hear his laughter during this.

Besides much talk about family the three guys got some time together, without the rest of the crew.  Of course Jeff brought out the stogies and we chatted on about business, careers... and eventually one of us suggested setting goals to achieve before our next group vacation. I had the lofty goal of being able to play Bowie's Space Oddity, Jeff's was to start a company in the commercial real market in Florida as it was one of the few State's that was having a positive population growth and the demand would be there (as he liked to tell us in an effort to convince us move down there).  I can't recall Doug's goal, something to do with hacky-sack, I believe.

A  few weeks after returning from the Haliburton's Jeff shared his and Marg's adventure of getting through US immigration at one of the border crossings, they were driving back to the US.  

US immigration pulled them over and inspected the car.  They found the written objectives of Jeff's about the business - probably a whole business plan to conquer Florida's commercial real estate market.  This put him in some hot water and they spent hours at the border.  The problem was Jeff only had an investor's visa but his company was not yet running (as far as our group memory recalls) and he had not hired anyone.

The net of it he was out pacing the US bureaucracy by already living in Orlando and now this border crossing forced him to accelerate his launch plan and kick-off his business ASAP so he could stay in the US.

Obviously it worked out well as Jeff stayed in Orlando and he and Marg raised their 3 children. 

Share a Story

Illustrate your story with a picture, music or video (optional):