Remembering my good friend and journalist, Jeffrey B. White

November 1, 2009 by Lisa Oshima | Research

Jeff & Lisa in Prague 2005

Jeff & Lisa in Prague 2005

I rarely talk about personal topics on my blog, but today, I’m writing to ask for your help, following the death of one of my oldest friends.  Over the summer, Jeffrey B. White lost his battle with cancer at the age of 32.  At the time of his passing, Jeff was a freelance journalist based in Berlin, Germany.  His articles were published in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, The American Lawyer, LegalWeek, World Politics Review, PopMatters, the international edition of Der Spiegel, Gadling (AOL’s travel blog), the Patriot Ledger (where he was once a staff reporter),  the Prague Post (where he was formerly a news Editor), and a variety of other noteworthy publications.

Jeff was an amazing guy – intelligent, witty, and he had a great sense of humor.  I’d known him since I was three years old, and together with his younger brother, Greg, we grew up together on a series of memorable family vacations which started when Jeff’s dad was transferred from our home town in California to the east coast and ended all too quickly this summer.  We managed to survive childhood, adolescence, Boston College and most of our 20s together before Jeff developed Eye Melanoma, a particularly rare and aggressive type of cancer.

On June 29, 2009, after a brave, three year fight, Jeff passed away. His death was tragic for everyone who knew him, and the timing was especially unfortunate, as Jeff had only just married the love of his life a few weeks before.  Jeff married Nicki White (nee Zimmermann) on the afternoon of June 6, 2009 at the American Episcopal Church in Bonn, Germany, in front of 60 of their close family and friends.  I was so happy to be a part of what was a wonderful celebration of Jeff and Nicki’s love and life together.  We partied the night away at Bredershof restaurant in the neighboring town of Koenigswinter, with most of the attendees (including Jeff and Nicki) enjoying the party until 3:30am.  Jeff lived his life to the end with courage, energy, optimism, and a sense of fun and adventure, and his wedding day was no exception.

I’m telling you about Jeff for a few reasons.  First, I want to remind you that it’s important to get regular and comprehensive eye exams – even if you’ve got perfect vision.  While eye melanoma is rare, it happens, and a regular eye exam (where your doctor dilates your eyes) can help discover it (and other eye problems) early.

Second, if you have been moved by Jeff’s story or his work (or you enjoy reading my blog), I want to let you know about a couple of ways that you can support two important causes in Jeff’s name…

A scholarship has just been started in Jeff’s name at his graduate school alma mater, Boston University.  The Jeffrey B. White Memorial Fund in Journalism is established at the Boston University College of Communication in memory of Jeff, who received his Masters degree from BU in 2001.

The Fund is established as a tribute to Jeff’s life and work in journalism, and preference will be given to those College of Communication graduate students in the field of print journalism who are enrolled in the Washington D.C. Journalism Program.

Recipients of the Jeffrey White Fund award will be chosen by the Dean of the College of Communication along with the Chair of the Journalism Department and the Director of the College’s Washington D.C. Program.

Gifts can be made payable to the Jeffrey B. White Fund at Boston University and mailed to:

Steve Morin

Alumni Office

College of Communication

640 Commonwealth Avenue

Boston, MA 02215

Please contact Steve Morin with any questions at smorin@bu.edu. Boston University is a recognized 501 c 3 organization.

Please also consider making a donation in Jeff White’s name either to the Jeffrey B. White Fund at Boston University or to:  Dr. Takami Sato’s Eye Melanoma Research Fund at Kimmel Cancer Center, who helped Jeff and his family during his brave fight:

Attn: Melissa Pizarro

Associate Director of Development, Kimmel Cancer Center

233 South 10th St., Suite 908

Philadelphia, PA 19107

To learn more about Jeff White and to read his work, please visit:

If you knew Jeff or enjoyed his writing, ping me with links to your favorite articles by or about him, and I’ll add them above.

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  • I am so sorry to hear about Jeff. He was much too young.

  • Jen

    Lisa,

    What a beautiful post. I've been reading through some of Jeff's writing, inspired by your blog, and he was such a talented person. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jen

    Lisa,

    What a beautiful post. I’ve been reading through some of Jeff’s writing, inspired by your blog, and he was such a talented person. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jeffrey Matthew Cohen

    Such a beautiful blog post. I never met Jeff in person, but over ten years ago, I was looking to make a huge career/life change and possibly make a move to Europe. I had read a post of Jeff’s on lonelyplanet.com, and reached out to him for advice. He wrote me a great email back (below). I could tell from his email that he was a really thoughtful, stand-up kind of guy.

    —————————
    Hi,

    It’s definitely nice living in Prague, though to be honest once you’ve been here for a while you feel pretty protective of the place and grow to not like the throngs of tourists that are always about here. I ended up here by pretty much jumping ship…I grew tired of a job, quit it and packed up. I still keep an apartment in the states, in Boston, but I just packed up a duffel bag, found a place to live here and the rest is history. I’m a writer, so it’s pretty easy to do that anywhere.

    So, if you’re on the fence, I say give it a shot. I don’t know how old you
    are and what all of your attachments might be, but it’s easier to do it now than in a few years. On another note, should you find yourself wanting to live out the rest of the year here in Prague, say, let me know. I will be looking for flatmates probably around the start of Sept. for this apartment I’m in, which is right in the heart of Old Town.

    Anyway, give it some thought. Take it easy.

    Jeff

    —–Original Message—–

    Sent: Monday, March 21, 2005 12:29 AM

    To: jeffrey_b_white@hotmail.com

    Subject: Hey bro!

    Hey Dude! I saw your post on lonelyplanet.com. I’m going to Prague in October. I am also going to Budapest on the same trip. I’m American, currently living in Seattle, but used to live in California, and am originally from Florida. How do you like living in Prague? I haven’t been liking my job lately, so I’ve been seriously considering quitting, giving up my apartment, and goofing around Europe for three to four months. How did you end up where you are?

    Talk you you soon,

    -Jeff.






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