Remembering Justin Wojdacki (1976-2004)

My friend Loi called me today with some terrible news. You know it’s going to be bad when someone calls you up and tells you between sobs to sit down if you aren’t already. She happened across an article in Saturday’s Palo Alto Daily News [pdf] today about a motorcycle accident resulting in a fatality on Thursday evening. She didn’t think much about it and was about to skip over it when a name in the article caught her eye: Justin Wojdacki. Justin is a good friend of ours who happens to be an avid motorcyclist… one whom nobody had heard from in a few days… in fact, since after the weekly Thursday night dinner club.After talking to a number of our friends, we were able to track down his parents and confirm that he had indeed been the victim of the motorcycle accident. They flew into San Jose from Michigan this weekend but did not have any contact information for his friends in the Bay Area.I met Justin at some point in 2000 through mutual friends from the University of Michigan who had moved out to the San Francisco Bay Area. We started hanging out together every Thursday night through the dinner club he had helped migrate from U of M. Soon it became twice a week for a number of us, gathering over at our friend Mike’s place to catch the latest Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode or to watch a movie in the off season. For a short while Justin and I started hanging out every Wednesday night as well, just to jam on our guitars together [mp3]. And then of course there were the occasional weekend events such as ski retreats, sea kayaking, BBQ’s or watching U of M football games on TV. With common tastes, enthusiasm, and appreciation for food, music, and computers, it’s easy to understand how we ended up spending so much time together over the past 5 years. Justin was fairly camera-shy so I don’t have many photographs of him, but here are a few snapshots that span most of the time that I knew him.Though working with computers was his profession as well as a hobby, he found time to pursue his other interests. He enjoyed building furniture and built a number of pieces for his apartment. A number of times he mentioned that if he weren’t working with computers, he’d set up a small custom furniture shop.He enjoyed cooking as well, and always brought something delicious to a BBQ or potluck dinner. His love of food took the dinner club to restaurants of many cultures and many cuisines over the years.He loved music. He loved going to used CD shops in the area and picking up new music… mostly tending toward the progressive rock or blues side of the spectrum. He attended concerts regularly from San Jose up to San Francisco. He enjoyed playing guitar and bass guitar when he had a free moment or two.And most of all, he enjoyed hanging out with friends… from the dinner clubs, to Buffy/movie night, to poker nights, to snowball fights, to ping-pong tournaments, to hiking, to the Mimezine group and Defcon. Justin made a lot of friends where ever he went. And we all miss you already, Justin.A gathering for Bay Area friends and family will be held at Justin’s condo this Monday evening. A viewing is scheduled in his home town of Clinton Township, MI on Friday from 1 PM – 9 PM. The service will be on Saturday at 11 AM.

19 thoughts on “Remembering Justin Wojdacki (1976-2004)

  1. We terribly missing him..He was a great man who inspired so many collegues like me.We are missing you Justin..

  2. Thank you for the story of all your friends and Justin and for all the pictures. It means a lot to us and we have shared it with our friends here.

  3. Thanks. I’m going to miss Justin quite a bit. It was the least I could do to attempt to capture and share some of my memories of him with others.


  5. Brahm and Yvonne,Thanks for the thoughts. Irony or not, the lady that bought Justin’s condo, signed the papers on what would have been his 29th birthday, March 1st.George

  6. I hear you, Gale. Hardly a week goes by without my thoughts drifting to memories of hanging out with Justin… dinner club, jamming, movie nights, miscellaneous techie talk…

  7. Gale and Brahm,Thanks for being here. With myself as well, a day does not go by of thinking about Justin. A smile comes over my face every time I see someone with an iPod. And I think "there goes Justin and some of the work he accomplished." My sadness becomes a ray of happiness. Now if I had the time to understand the iPod myself. Actually I figured it out. Darlene and I are here if you need us.

  8. Heh, yeah, I forgot that Justin had worked on the iPod as he wasn’t really allowed to talk about the fun things he got to work on at Apple.Recently I’ve been thinking about him every time a Neil Young song comes on the radio… which is fairly often at the moment since Neil Young has just released a new CD (and a very good one at that… Justin would like it I’m sure). Justin played a few songs of his a few times when we would get together to play guitar.

  9. George, Darlene, Sara and friends,I haven’t visited this site in awhile. I think of Justin often and how blessed we all are in having the opportunity to know him. George I send the message every chance I can to ensure people have appropriate id with them at all times.My thoughts are with you all.Denise, Sarah and Olivia

  10. Denise,Thanks for the kind words. Today is not a good day for Darlene and I as you can imagine. But we do take solice in the thoughts and prayers from everyonegeorge

  11. Wow. It’s been three years already. It seems like yesterday yet forever ago that we were in the process of making arrangements for moving back to Michigan. Sometimes I forget that you’re not around any more… as if you were still back in California with the rest of "the guys".Your dad let me keep your Dire Straits "Money for Nothing" guitar book after your passing as a token of remembrance of our time play guitar together. You’d be glad to know I’m finally putting it to good use. I’m currently taking guitar lessons and learning "Sultans of Swing". Though every time I refer to it I can’t help but think of the occasion that your dad let me have it. Your brand new condo. All your friends. Yet you weren’t there.I miss ya dude.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s