ForeverMissed
Jeff Rondinone passed away on Friday, May 28th, 2021. Born in 1947, Jeff was the son of Joseph and Evelyn Rondinone, and was raised in Newington, CT along with his sister Lynn. Remembered by all as a generous, loving, and exceedingly kind man, Jeff is survived by his wife Rochelle and his two sons, David and Troy. Jeff worked in the medical industry for most of his career, having earned a Bachelor’s degree at Tufts University and a PhD at UCLA.
Jeff’s full life was marked by travel, adventure, hard work, and love. He married Rochelle in 1969. The two met each other at a college party (she attended Boston University) when they were both   Sophomores. After graduation, the two got married and moved to San Antonio, Texas, where Jeff was stationed (he’d been drafted into the Air Force). Here at Lackland Air Force Base their two sons were born, in 1971 and 1973. Upon Jeff’s discharge, the family moved further west to Los Angeles, where Jeff earned his PhD while Rochelle worked as a nurse. In the years to come, the family moved often, to Pittsburg, Seattle, London, and back to California. Up in their mountain house in the Santa Cruz mountains, Jeff and Rochelle periodically ventured out to explore the world.
Jeff’s greatest adventure began the day he retired. He purchased a catamaran and pursued his ambition of sailing the world. In 2013 he crossed the Atlantic in his boat, accompanied by his sons and old friends. Thereafter, he’d spend the summers in the Mediterranean, sailing the coasts of Spain, France, Italy, and Greece, typically accompanied by friends and loved ones. Jeff’s life and example powerfully influenced those who knew him. It is hard to express just how profound an influence he was. He unfailingly did the right thing, he never imposed or made demands, and always, always, modeled grace, kindness, charity, and love. He will be greatly, and deeply, missed.    
Posted by Donald Fields on June 6, 2021
Crossing the Bar
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star
   And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
   When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
   Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
   Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
   And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
   When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
   The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
   When I have crossed the bar.
Posted by Donald Fields on June 6, 2021
In Memoriam—Joseph (Jeff) F. Rondinone
Some of the Many Ways He Was Special to Us

The past few days have been difficult and painful, mixed with sorrow, and sometimes humor (remembering his many quips and jokes) while we tried to process the loss of our dear friend, Jeff.

Our journeys with Jeff and Rochelle (and sons, David and Troy)—spanning nearly 50 years, began at UCLA in 1973 when Jeff and Donald became office mates. The next few years both of them pursued their separate PhDs, while having the same advisor. Lots of work and mutual support, with breaks for talking, joking, and commiserating over a one dollar Triple Treat at the on-campus Baskin Robbin’s.  The one sundae was split equally between the three of us—only one, because we were poor starving students! Unfortunately since she worked as a nurse off campus, Rochelle couldn’t join us. She, years later, was surprised, envious, and a bit miffed when we accidentally blurted out that we were having these good times without her. We could see the amused, sheepish twinkle in Jeff’s eyes throughout the years whenever the four of us recalled this embarassing memory.

I (Donald) finished my PhD first. Jeff thoughtfully helped me at a critical time (I was at my wit’s end!) as I was writing the first chapter of my thesis. The first chapter is supposed to be the easiest because it simply cites and reviews the literature of the previous work done on the thesis’ topic. The hard, new work follows. Nonetheless I had to write that stupid chapter 5 times! Each time, my (our) advisor told me simply, “That’s not right. Do it again.” Literally that…no suggestions of what was missing or how to improve it. After consulting Tina, Jeff generously went to discuss the impasse with our advisor and to intervene on my behalf. Jeff and I discovered that our advisor’s thesis advisor had done the same thing to him, and he was continuing a medieval, hazing tradition! Jeff then came up with a suitable nickname for our advisor: “Le Petite Merde.” Simply saying that nickname out loud when the four of us were together, instantly brought up the time and place where it was coined.

From 1973 until Donald graduated in 1976…We started and continued a tradition of getting together for meals and visits at each other’s houses and at restaurants. Good food, good conversation, good fellowship, a pattern that was to continue for those 50 years.

We bought and moved into our house in early 1977. J&R helped us paint it before moving in, and then helped move us in. Jeff pinched the bejesus out of his finger while carrying a fold-up desk into the house. Jeff stoically and graciously toughed it out, continuing to move furniture and boxes in.

Once Jeff completed his degree, we, D&T, began chasing J&R around the globe…and the years seemed to start to rush by.

After Jeff finished his PhD thesis, he and Rochelle & family moved to Seattle, WA. We took a memorable trip with our new baby, Melissa, and the Rondinone Clan to Victoria, Vancouver Island. We walked around the city with Melissa in a stroller, J&R and David walking with us, while Troy ran ahead. Suddenly Troy blurted out, “Hey, look! A…”. It was one of life’s great awkward moments. The kind where one can only nervously laugh at the remembered phrase. Ask Troy about it…

In 1979, the Fields Family flew to London where Jeff had a post doctorate position at University College London. Jeff joked that a typical day was: arriving about 8 AM, working, taking coffee break at 10, working, then lunch at noon, back to work, tea at 4 PM, and home shortly after 5 PM. Not the grueling, grind of graduate school! We visited Jeff on campus for an afternoon where we were awed by the preserved-since-1852 body of the college’s founder, Jeremy Bentham, who sat on a chair, clothed in his original garb, with a wax likeness of his head (we were told the original had fallen off), inside a see through box, near Jeff’s office. Seriously. See Wikipedia “University College London.”.

We were perpetually exhausted as we all tumbled on the “Tube” to visit London: Fortnum & Mason, Spencers, Ritz for High Tea, The British Museum, pub meals, etc. David and Troy attended a school that had a “Hudmuster’—took a moment to sort out. David and Troy would promptly fall asleep on the Tube. Turned out that is a good idea and easy with the gentle rocking—until you miss your exit. We were regenerated from our touring by R’s meals ending with amazing apple pies from their back yard tree.

J&R & D&T returned to LA in 1981 and moved in with us for a couple of months, until they could buy a car (mustang, color, which amused Jeff: unfinished primer gray) and find a home. Rochelle had gotten her midwifery diploma in Britain and found she had to use it to babysit me (Tina) through the difficult delivery of our son, Russell. Rochelle was in the delivery room for his birth and critically helped me when she noted I was in pain; the anesthesia hadn’t taken when the surgeon began the C-section. Rochelle forcefully told the doctors to stop the pain or, “Get out of my way and I’ll do it.” Jeff and Rochelle’s staying with us made that time not only endurable but pleasant. And even amusing…wonder if David and Troy remember how Donald had to make their favorite lunch of raman three times before getting it right. 

Unlike Ben Franklin who said, “Guests are like fish. Both stink after three days”, we were really, really sorry when they left.

We were delighted that the Rondinone crew stayed in SoCal for several years: Culver City, then Mission Viejo where Jeff earnestly began his career in medical technology development. We marveled at their nurturing parenting skills. For example, Jeff once suggested that David could easily add more tutoring hours to his schedule and make more money. Jeff said David reminded him that he was a kid and needed time to be a kid, and he, Jeff, graciously ceded the point.

Finally, the move to “Camp Rondinone,” as we called it, in the forested hills between Los Gatos and Santa Cruz. Los Gatos’ distance sadly made get togethers more infrequent, but we made the pilgrimage as often as we could. We had meals where we laughed as they described the “disaster projects” when they remodeled. We were awed by Rochelle’s perils and accomplishments once she took up figure skating. Jeff enthusiastically supported her in her pursuits of learning and improving. Always warm and welcoming company, every trip up from LA revolved around pizza, sushi, lasagna, and laughter.

In 2014, we met Captain J and Crewman R in Malaga, Spain, to stay 5 days on the de-diveted “Cat”. We listened to tales of joy, trouble, and near terror that came with sailing in the Mediterranean Sea. We had a lot of enjoyable meals, on board and in restaurants, many amusing adventures, and one costly, but amusing (given J&R’s personalities) misadventure. The highlight was to the Alhambra moorish castle where we toured and had a leisurely afternoon lunch. The misadventure: when we returned to port and parked the rental car in the specified lot, we failed to note the new, tiny signs, in Spanish, placed in spots around the lot: “Temporary no parking” for a small event occurring the next morning. When we woke, the car had been towed.  After chasing it down, which took a couple of hours, the cost was about 500 Euro, with 200 Euro of it required in cash. This latter went straight to the police, who apparently didn’t trust our credit cards. Jeff and Donald scraped the cash together by emptying their wallets.

And more…
Santa Catalina Island, where J&R, David, and Troy included us in the magic their family found there.
El Cholo (Mexican restaurant in Santa Monica, CA) where for so many Christmas Seasons the Rondinone’s included us in their sphere of friends and family to celebrate the end of the year holidays. Jeff’s generosity was boundless; he insisted on treating “his friends and family”. It was a herculean task to get him to accept any support.

A last precious memory…
When Jeff and I shared that office at UCLA, others, including an Egyptian named Ali, shared it with us. Ali’s brother frequently called the office phone to speak with him, and always asked for Ali with, “Is Ali over there?” Both Jeff and I were amused by that question’s small change, the added “over,” to a common English phone request. So, for the next 50 years, when Jeff and I spoke on the phone (and nearly every time we got together), we always greeted each other with “Is Donald over there?” and “Is Jeff, Jeff, over there?”. I am pained that I will never hear him say that to me again, or say that to him. Jeff, I always “thought I’d see you one more time again.”

All our visits and adventures with J&R are filled with love and laughter. We will always hold in our hearts all our wonderful memories and images of our kind and brilliant friends, and how Jeff tenderly helped put those happy times there.

Jeff, you are missed.

Our Love to Rochelle and all the Rondinone family,
Tina and Donald Fields



Posted by Rebecca Stewart on June 5, 2021
We're so saddened by Jeff's passing and remember him as a wonderful person full of love and kindness. There are no words to say how sorry we are. He will be greatly missed. May his memory be a blessing. Love to the Rondinone family from the Stewart family.
Posted by John Harris on June 5, 2021
Thank you, Jeff Rondinone! Friendly, open, incisively intelligent, a great listener, and always eager to learn. Your wonderful children and grandchildren are a testament to your devotion and care as a father. Sailing to the Bahamas with you created memories I'll cherish for the rest of my life!
Posted by Greg Healy on June 5, 2021
It is hard to believe that Jeff has been so tragically taken from us. He was a kind, gracious man and I am proud to have met him on our short journey through this life.

Goodbye Jeff, you will never be forgotten.

My deepest sympathy and condolences to Rochelle and her family during this difficult time. You are not alone.

Greg & Carmel
Posted by Erin Evelyn on June 5, 2021
Jeff Rondinone was my uncle. He was the only sibling of my mother Lynn Kelley.

He once told me that he learned about my birth while on a fishing adventure. I never did find out if he caught "the big one". How I wish I could ask him now.

Two of my fondest memories of Uncle Jeff are of his exceptional kindness and love and generosity.

When I was about 10 years old, Uncle Jeff and Auntie 'Chell invited us out to California. They took us to the La Brea Tar Pits. I was fascinated. I had never seen anything like it. I was obsessed with dinosaurs at the time and his gift of such an adventure was like manna from heaven. Later on, we were taken to the beach where Auntie 'Chell taught us how to make sand candles by digging a depression in the sand, filling it with melted paraffin and crayons for color, and adding a pipe cleaner for a wick. It was like magic! And so were my aunt and uncle. They were magical to me.

When I was in my early 20's I suffered from severe chronic depression and was hospitalized. Uncle Jeff traveled hundreds and hundreds of miles to be with me and my family to offer his love and support. He came to visit me while I was in hospital. We sat in the lounge on a bench, surrounded by lovely, tall potted plants. The sun was shining. I don't remember what we talked about, but I remembered feeling loved and accepted like I had never felt before. And I knew that all would be well. At a time of crisis he was like a balm to the soul. His charming sense of humor, his gentle nature and boundless love helped me through my darkest night of the soul.

He loved his wife and sons and grandchildren so much. He often talked about them with a contented smile upon his face. In his eyes one could see his pride. In his speech one could hear his admiration.

Uncle Jeff created and mastered a life of love, willingness and honesty. The world is a better place because of him.

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Posted by Donald Fields on June 6, 2021
Crossing the Bar
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star
   And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
   When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
   Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
   Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
   And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
   When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
   The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
   When I have crossed the bar.
Posted by Donald Fields on June 6, 2021
In Memoriam—Joseph (Jeff) F. Rondinone
Some of the Many Ways He Was Special to Us

The past few days have been difficult and painful, mixed with sorrow, and sometimes humor (remembering his many quips and jokes) while we tried to process the loss of our dear friend, Jeff.

Our journeys with Jeff and Rochelle (and sons, David and Troy)—spanning nearly 50 years, began at UCLA in 1973 when Jeff and Donald became office mates. The next few years both of them pursued their separate PhDs, while having the same advisor. Lots of work and mutual support, with breaks for talking, joking, and commiserating over a one dollar Triple Treat at the on-campus Baskin Robbin’s.  The one sundae was split equally between the three of us—only one, because we were poor starving students! Unfortunately since she worked as a nurse off campus, Rochelle couldn’t join us. She, years later, was surprised, envious, and a bit miffed when we accidentally blurted out that we were having these good times without her. We could see the amused, sheepish twinkle in Jeff’s eyes throughout the years whenever the four of us recalled this embarassing memory.

I (Donald) finished my PhD first. Jeff thoughtfully helped me at a critical time (I was at my wit’s end!) as I was writing the first chapter of my thesis. The first chapter is supposed to be the easiest because it simply cites and reviews the literature of the previous work done on the thesis’ topic. The hard, new work follows. Nonetheless I had to write that stupid chapter 5 times! Each time, my (our) advisor told me simply, “That’s not right. Do it again.” Literally that…no suggestions of what was missing or how to improve it. After consulting Tina, Jeff generously went to discuss the impasse with our advisor and to intervene on my behalf. Jeff and I discovered that our advisor’s thesis advisor had done the same thing to him, and he was continuing a medieval, hazing tradition! Jeff then came up with a suitable nickname for our advisor: “Le Petite Merde.” Simply saying that nickname out loud when the four of us were together, instantly brought up the time and place where it was coined.

From 1973 until Donald graduated in 1976…We started and continued a tradition of getting together for meals and visits at each other’s houses and at restaurants. Good food, good conversation, good fellowship, a pattern that was to continue for those 50 years.

We bought and moved into our house in early 1977. J&R helped us paint it before moving in, and then helped move us in. Jeff pinched the bejesus out of his finger while carrying a fold-up desk into the house. Jeff stoically and graciously toughed it out, continuing to move furniture and boxes in.

Once Jeff completed his degree, we, D&T, began chasing J&R around the globe…and the years seemed to start to rush by.

After Jeff finished his PhD thesis, he and Rochelle & family moved to Seattle, WA. We took a memorable trip with our new baby, Melissa, and the Rondinone Clan to Victoria, Vancouver Island. We walked around the city with Melissa in a stroller, J&R and David walking with us, while Troy ran ahead. Suddenly Troy blurted out, “Hey, look! A…”. It was one of life’s great awkward moments. The kind where one can only nervously laugh at the remembered phrase. Ask Troy about it…

In 1979, the Fields Family flew to London where Jeff had a post doctorate position at University College London. Jeff joked that a typical day was: arriving about 8 AM, working, taking coffee break at 10, working, then lunch at noon, back to work, tea at 4 PM, and home shortly after 5 PM. Not the grueling, grind of graduate school! We visited Jeff on campus for an afternoon where we were awed by the preserved-since-1852 body of the college’s founder, Jeremy Bentham, who sat on a chair, clothed in his original garb, with a wax likeness of his head (we were told the original had fallen off), inside a see through box, near Jeff’s office. Seriously. See Wikipedia “University College London.”.

We were perpetually exhausted as we all tumbled on the “Tube” to visit London: Fortnum & Mason, Spencers, Ritz for High Tea, The British Museum, pub meals, etc. David and Troy attended a school that had a “Hudmuster’—took a moment to sort out. David and Troy would promptly fall asleep on the Tube. Turned out that is a good idea and easy with the gentle rocking—until you miss your exit. We were regenerated from our touring by R’s meals ending with amazing apple pies from their back yard tree.

J&R & D&T returned to LA in 1981 and moved in with us for a couple of months, until they could buy a car (mustang, color, which amused Jeff: unfinished primer gray) and find a home. Rochelle had gotten her midwifery diploma in Britain and found she had to use it to babysit me (Tina) through the difficult delivery of our son, Russell. Rochelle was in the delivery room for his birth and critically helped me when she noted I was in pain; the anesthesia hadn’t taken when the surgeon began the C-section. Rochelle forcefully told the doctors to stop the pain or, “Get out of my way and I’ll do it.” Jeff and Rochelle’s staying with us made that time not only endurable but pleasant. And even amusing…wonder if David and Troy remember how Donald had to make their favorite lunch of raman three times before getting it right. 

Unlike Ben Franklin who said, “Guests are like fish. Both stink after three days”, we were really, really sorry when they left.

We were delighted that the Rondinone crew stayed in SoCal for several years: Culver City, then Mission Viejo where Jeff earnestly began his career in medical technology development. We marveled at their nurturing parenting skills. For example, Jeff once suggested that David could easily add more tutoring hours to his schedule and make more money. Jeff said David reminded him that he was a kid and needed time to be a kid, and he, Jeff, graciously ceded the point.

Finally, the move to “Camp Rondinone,” as we called it, in the forested hills between Los Gatos and Santa Cruz. Los Gatos’ distance sadly made get togethers more infrequent, but we made the pilgrimage as often as we could. We had meals where we laughed as they described the “disaster projects” when they remodeled. We were awed by Rochelle’s perils and accomplishments once she took up figure skating. Jeff enthusiastically supported her in her pursuits of learning and improving. Always warm and welcoming company, every trip up from LA revolved around pizza, sushi, lasagna, and laughter.

In 2014, we met Captain J and Crewman R in Malaga, Spain, to stay 5 days on the de-diveted “Cat”. We listened to tales of joy, trouble, and near terror that came with sailing in the Mediterranean Sea. We had a lot of enjoyable meals, on board and in restaurants, many amusing adventures, and one costly, but amusing (given J&R’s personalities) misadventure. The highlight was to the Alhambra moorish castle where we toured and had a leisurely afternoon lunch. The misadventure: when we returned to port and parked the rental car in the specified lot, we failed to note the new, tiny signs, in Spanish, placed in spots around the lot: “Temporary no parking” for a small event occurring the next morning. When we woke, the car had been towed.  After chasing it down, which took a couple of hours, the cost was about 500 Euro, with 200 Euro of it required in cash. This latter went straight to the police, who apparently didn’t trust our credit cards. Jeff and Donald scraped the cash together by emptying their wallets.

And more…
Santa Catalina Island, where J&R, David, and Troy included us in the magic their family found there.
El Cholo (Mexican restaurant in Santa Monica, CA) where for so many Christmas Seasons the Rondinone’s included us in their sphere of friends and family to celebrate the end of the year holidays. Jeff’s generosity was boundless; he insisted on treating “his friends and family”. It was a herculean task to get him to accept any support.

A last precious memory…
When Jeff and I shared that office at UCLA, others, including an Egyptian named Ali, shared it with us. Ali’s brother frequently called the office phone to speak with him, and always asked for Ali with, “Is Ali over there?” Both Jeff and I were amused by that question’s small change, the added “over,” to a common English phone request. So, for the next 50 years, when Jeff and I spoke on the phone (and nearly every time we got together), we always greeted each other with “Is Donald over there?” and “Is Jeff, Jeff, over there?”. I am pained that I will never hear him say that to me again, or say that to him. Jeff, I always “thought I’d see you one more time again.”

All our visits and adventures with J&R are filled with love and laughter. We will always hold in our hearts all our wonderful memories and images of our kind and brilliant friends, and how Jeff tenderly helped put those happy times there.

Jeff, you are missed.

Our Love to Rochelle and all the Rondinone family,
Tina and Donald Fields



Posted by Rebecca Stewart on June 5, 2021
We're so saddened by Jeff's passing and remember him as a wonderful person full of love and kindness. There are no words to say how sorry we are. He will be greatly missed. May his memory be a blessing. Love to the Rondinone family from the Stewart family.
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Shared by Lynette Hirschowitz on June 5, 2021
We first met Jeff and Rochelle at UCLA in 1976 and instantly formed an enduring friendship which has lasted for over 40 years. Even though we were separated geographically we always remained connected .Over the years we have heard about life, adventures, work , children growing up , grandchildren...always with great love and affection.Jeff exuded such warmth and great kindness  in whatever he did and said. Meeting up in the Mediterranean  when they were sailing was a treat we really looked forward to each year . Sharing memories, listening to tales of adventures, we were full of admiration for Jeff’s enterprise and determination to pursue his dream. He will leave such a big hole in everybodys’ lives and will be so sorely missed.