Thank you, Igal Koshevoy for the help and all you did for Portland. I will greatly miss your presence.
A last minute, short message letting me know a meeting wouldn’t be happening Tuesday night alerted me to something wrong. Very wrong. A few vague tweets later I could feel that something bad had happened in the tech community and a quick follow-up message “by now you probably just saw the announcement…” was numbing. Damn!
The world continues to feel senseless to me. I’m asking why someone who made this a much better place had to leave us now? There’s no answer. All I have are memories of how he presented himself and how much he helped.
I can’t remember exactly when I first met Igal Koshevoy, but I’m sure it was at Cubespace. My first recollection of him was picking up some bags of production gear as I was packing up an event there. I shot him a glance, like saying: “umm, where’re you going with my bags??” Wearing one of the heavy backpacks, he also grabbed as much as he could carry in each arm unbalanced and asked if my car was parked out front. I recall he opted to take the stairs and I worried that he was going to throw out his back or worse, fall down the stairs. He didn’t. I think this was a bit of a guy thing, probably part of his past as an Eagle Scout. I could relate to that.
Most often he would swoop in unannounced to see what he could do to help pack in or out- kind of like a conference ninja- I didn’t ask, he just quietly appeared with a smile. He had other responsibilities, but he always found some time for the ‘grunt work’. More importantly that’s what he did in the tech community as a leader. Ignite. BarCamp. Open Source Bridge. Ruby Brigade. ePDX. OpenConferenceWare. Calagator and Photographer & Artist. That’s the short list, but the things he did held a great impact on the people of the open source, startup and tech communities in Portland, Oregon and beyond. He was the definition of mensch.
We shared some funny moments during Open Source Bridge 2011. He tried to take some pictures of me at the podium while I packed up after the keynote. It devolved into me posing like a Roman Emperor addressing the Senate. He didn’t post the photos, probably for a very good reason. In 2012 I really wanted to catch up with him because there was an idea for a community project that I wanted his opinion and guidance on. I privately told a few people that I knew the perfect person to discuss this with, but we didn’t run into each other as had been usual and I completely missed the opportunity. I’ll have that to regret the rest of my life, wondering what guidance, input and advice he would have had.
Some people who knew him better than me have written eloquently about how he touched their lives. Pouring over his Flickr photostream, I’m reminded of the events and find pictures I hadn’t seen before. He not only documented the rise of this new Portland tech community from it’s beginning, he also captured in photographs some pivotal personal moments of mine. As I commented to a friend and someone who also knew him well, his passing is kicking over a few rocks in my life to see what’s underneath. That’s a bit tough to acknowledge at the moment, but reading the last section of this thoughtful blog post by Addie Beseda struck a nerve- that it’s time be open and public about how we feel and what we need from each other. Our social apps give the power to share the most intimate yet mundane details of our day to day lives, yet that seems to me a smoke screen, a diversion from the very real feelings we hold tightly inside. Like Igal showed up for our community events and projects, we must find a way to show up for each other during the times when selflessness can paradoxically turn to a feeling of isolation. That’s hard work but I’m reminded that Igal made hard work look fun in the context of community.
Thank you, Igal Koshevoy for the help and all you did for Portland.
We are planning a Celebration of Life for our friend and colleague, Igal Koshevoy. We welcome all who wish to participate, volunteer, and contribute to these efforts. Igal’s memorial will be Sunday, April 21st from 4-7pm at First Unitarian Church, 1211 SW Main St, Portland, OR. Please RSVP at Eventbrite so we can plan accordingly. You can sign up as a volunteer when you RSVP, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. We have set up koshevoy.net to help our community celebrate Igal’s life. Please share memories, photos or words of remembrance, and read what others have shared. We have also created a Facebook page, and on Twitter we request that you use the hashtag #igalko or his twitter handle @igalko. Stumptown Syndicate is accepting contributions on behalf of Friends of Igal Koshevoy, if interested please read the Contribute page.
Memorial Site: http://koshevoy.net
Memorial RSVP: http://igal-koshevoy-celebration.eventbrite.com/#
Memorial Live Stream: http://new.livestream.com/bcHD/igal