Losing my best friend, my Mentor

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Macleod, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. Macleod

    Macleod Member

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    I found out a few days ago that my best, longest, deepest friend, mentor, teacher, sensei, hero, and Master is dying. By this time tomorrow, he should be gone. He's holding back death till his son can fly in from Pennsylvania...on the 26th. Then, he says, he can die.

    Three years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer and given 90 days at best. He hid it from all of us, never letting on, until he could no longer fight it back. I only learned about it a few days ago. Now that it's completely taken over and perforated his bowels, he's septic and dying quickly. The last time I saw him was in March, and he looked pretty spry then.
    I've posted a little about him here before, but not much.

    I first Met Jess Roe when I was 12, maybe 13 years old. Not too long after my step-father passed away. I met Jess at a Sci-Fi convention, sitting at a table surrounded by swords. I remember asking him if he made them.

    He was already older than dirt at the time.

    I began going to his shop regularly, having taken an intense interest in swords and him, personally. Over the next several years, Jess taught me to make knives, swords, and armor of all kinds. He taught me how to make Damascus steel, Japanese folded steel, steel and cuir bouilli leather armor. And how to use them.

    When my mother kicked me out of the house at 16 years old, I mostly stayed with him, and continued to work with him off and on until 1995 or so. There was a short time when I lived with my girlfriend's family, in the early 90's.

    Jess is the reason I became the person I am. He taught me how to learn, and have a hunger for it. He gave me the steadfast convictions I have, as well as ten lifetimes of wisdom, and the ability of critical thinking. He taught me to observe people and my surroundings.

    Jess is a Legendary person, in the truest sense. Those Chuck Norris jokes? They were originally about Jess.

    Early in 2000, I have it on film, someone mentioning, and a fight demonstration, that he was 76 years old at the time. His birthday being in November, that puts him at 89 years old now, I think. Many people believe him to be 200 years old....

    In his later 70's, he was thrown from a horse and kicked. While breaking the horse. He wound up getting a hernia from that, and it slowed him down, A bit. He continued to fight and train students, but stopped breaking horses from then on.

    In his mid 70's, I was visting his shop. There was a large deer that appeared on the property, making it's way across the driveway. Jess bolted out of the shop, took down the deer, and broke it's neck, killing it. They ate venison for months.

    In his early 80's, he was bitten on the neck by a Brown Recluse. It almost killed him, but he killed the Recluse instead. I think he ate it for breakfast or something, because he came back stronger. It took him a while to recover from that.

    In his 80's, he was still bedding and wearing out women younger than most of your daughters, I'm sure. If they were 18, they were game. He didn't chase them though, he didn't have to. He had an undeniable charm and appeal to the women, was a helluva dancer and piano player, and women swooned and fawned over him. Only once -- only ONCE - did I ever see a woman who wasn't smitten with him. Sitting on his lap, flirting heavily, she asked "So, how old are you..." He hadn't hardly managed to get out "sixty..." when her hand met his face. I believe his current girlfriend is in her mid 20's, by the looks of her.
    Even on his death bed, when my girlfriend leaned over his bed to hug him and say her goodbyes, his hand was firmly planted on her ass.

    Jess served in the Korean War. He's told me some war stories, but the one I remember most is "people really do taste like chicken" -- apparently, it was a matter of survival.

    Jess was a friend of Bruce Lee's, and played piano in a Seattle bar that Bruce either worked in or owned, I'm not clear which.

    Being a knife and sword-maker, he was a prominent member of the SCA. Quite possibly, the oldest sword-maker in the country. He's made weapons and armour for movies, theater, Japanese Embassadors...you name it. Tonight I was told about the time he'd broken up a fight between an SCA troupe and a faction of the Hell's Angels.

    The city of Everett, as I hear it, unoficially "hired" him to deal thugs who were robbing bar patrons. Jess went to the bar, drank a bunch and flash a lot of money. Upon leaving, he was...accosted. Sort of. He managed to take the gun and knife away from the pair, and put them in ICU. When it went to court, they tried to sue him for excessive force...the judge added seven years to their sentence. For attacking a senior citizen. They were released a few years back. Jess was nervous about it, too... but they left the area and moved to the east Coast immediately.

    He was shot by one of his own sons once, for reasons I don't know.

    He's trained and took in hundreds of students and apprentices, ranging from just six years old to sixty. Each person that left his care was a better person for it. One of my deepest regrets is that I did not have children for him to teach. He is one of the reasons I want children -- so that I can pass on the knowledge and crafts I've learned from him.

    He was a master of the sword, even in his later years still able to take on multiple people in heavy sparring. So tuned was he, to the people around him - their actions and movements - that he could strike a bullet fired from a pistol with his sword. I shyte you not.

    It seems only recently that I remember him moving the 600lb blacksmith's anvil...by himself....

    Jess was and is the real-life, living Yoda. Immensely loved by various communities across the globe. I went there tonight after leaving my Mother's for Christmas. I was told that there were 1000+ people at the place to see him on Christmas Eve. We went there on the 23rd as well, and there were dozens. He's just been released from the hospital to go home and die on his terms.


    Jess was, in his heart, a happy and peaceful man. He loved what he did, and he loved the people he taught. Although he studied and taught the arts of fighting, he always taught us never to use it when it could be avoided -- but taught us to fight back when faced with it. Once of his favorite quotes comes from Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper. "Fight back! Whenever you are offered violence, fight back! The aggressor does not fear the law, so he must be taught to fear you. Whatever the risk, and at whatever the cost, fight back!"

    Despite regular ass-whoopings during fight training, Jess is the only person I've known never to hurt me. Never to let me down, stab me in the back, or betray me in some form.

    One of the best things he taught me was to find something I loved doing, and do it well. And, I did.

    He was always there for me when I needed him, always willing to teach me what I needed to know, whether I knew I needed it or not.


    My heart is broken, my core is sick with this.:barf
    I still need him.[​IMG]

    I love you, Jess. You will always be in my heart, at my core.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    __________________
     
  2. guitarist58

    guitarist58 Member

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    ♥ Lost in the Far East...
    I wish I had worthy words... so very rare--are people like him. And so very blessed you are to live a life including such an encounter with another. There can be a higher, spiritual level in this brief life... that many never experience. But you did. I know you will honor him going forward.

    I can only know by analogy, the sickening heartache. But I can most assuredly believe it.

    His light will surely shine forever. He will continue to live--in your heart, and even beyond that.

    My heartfelt condolences. Wishing you peace, and healing through time.

    -Rocky
     
  3. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    playing in traffic...
    Wolfe:

    I am sorry for your loss.
     
  4. eschoendorff

    eschoendorff Member

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    Mine passed away over 10 years ago from brain cancer.

    I never truly recovered from that.

    RIP Jim Lee.
     
  5. wstsidela

    wstsidela I'm bonafied Gold Supporting Member

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    Beautiful words for a beautiful soul. You were very fortunate to find your teacher. Some people never get that opportunity.
     
  6. X - Road 28

    X - Road 28 Member

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    May he rest in eternal peace, sounds like he touched many.

    Sorry for your pain.
     
  7. Macleod

    Macleod Member

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    Thousands. On Christmas Eve, there were about 1000 people at the ranch, I'm told.
    He's still kicking as of 7:30 last night. The only thing keeping him going, we think, are the women who keep coming by and won't leave his side.

    I've uploaded a couple videos... one is an old Personal Defense demo he did at a Sci-Fi convention years ago. The other is a short walkthrough of his Dojo.





    His current Squeeze... photo of an older photo.

    [​IMG]


    Words he lives by...

    [​IMG]


    This won't be a recoverable loss for many. How did your Mentor help you?
     
  8. seticat

    seticat Member

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    I remember Jess well and cherish the custom dagger he made for me 'way too many years ago. I wish I could have been there to say farewell.
     
  9. shooto

    shooto Member

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    wow...so very sorry :(
     
  10. hank57

    hank57 Silver Supporting Member

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    Best memorial I've read in a long time. Your admiration and respect he surely knew. A strong male presence is something I lacked in my youth. A guide to direct us towards mindfulness is sometimes the difference in useful life verses mediocre existence.
     
  11. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Been there myself. It hurts for a long time. ++++++ vibes to you.
     
  12. 59Vampire

    59Vampire Silver Supporting Member

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    Im sorry for your loss. Consider yourself lucky to have someone like that in your life
     
  13. jnepo1

    jnepo1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Sorry for your loss.
     
  14. Rattles

    Rattles Member

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    Sounds like one amazing man for sure.

    Sorry for your loss.
     
  15. Macleod

    Macleod Member

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    He was the strongest presence in my life, period. Just about everyone who's been to see him, he's been that way with.



    How did you know Jess? Give me your name, and I'll give him your regards.

    He's till kicking as of 9:30 when I left tonight. According to the Docs, tomorrow is his expiration date.

    There's some prosperity documentation happening, to capture some of his stories and knowledge. Even with the pain he's in, he had enough left in him for a dance and a... "quick ride on a motorboat..." :eeks
    It's the women who are keeping him here.



     
  16. darth550

    darth550 Member

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    Nice tribute. I'm sorry for your loss.

    Peace be with you.
     
  17. tubetone74

    tubetone74 Member

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    So sorry about this Wolfe but what a tribute to an extraordinary man! The best we can do is try to pass it on to those coming up behind us. I have lost close friends also my mother, father, brother and a sister within a little less than a ten year span. The pain will subside but the hole in the heart is still around, at least for me. Bless you.
     
  18. mcdes

    mcdes Member of no importance

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    Wow. What a moving tribute!
     
  19. Macleod

    Macleod Member

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    Since this was recently bumped, I though I'd give an update.

    We don't know how, or why, but Jess is still with us. We are thankful for that.
    Still doing morning Tai Chi, when he can.

    Despite being in tremendous pain, he's still getting up and taking the ladies dancing when he can... one of his favorite things. Man, he was a heckuva dancer in his younger years.

    Last night, Jess had enough steam in him for a few short dances... however, the night was cut pretty short when a woman started railing on him for being such a dirty old man dancing with younger women, and making prostitution accusations.
    Things got escalated when he walked back to the table to get his cane, then back to sit and rest, or maybe to a restroom. One the way back, the woman pushed him. I didn't see the push, but I saw him start going down... The woman's man...rather large person, got into it... There were about six of us there, and we dang near had a bar fight. That man wanted to FIGHT! What they don't know is that any of us would lay down our lives for Jess... having all been trained and mostly raised by him.

    Here's a couple short dancing vids... In the Fortunate Son vid, the couple are visible.. woman with long dark hair, man with light shirt.


     

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