Tributes

Tributes

On December 7th, 2013 a group of Jordan’s closest family and friends met for dinner at El Quijote in Chelsea, NYC to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Jordan’s death. I had been avoiding eating there while living in the city for the past nine and a half years, since that was where we had our final family dinner with Jordan 10 years ago — right before he went to the protest in Miami.

In attendance were Abe, Jared, Tom, Diane, Sheila, and my fiance Danielle. We caught up on each other’s lives while sharing pitchers of sangria along with our favorite Jordan stories. We had a toast to him and Abe volunteered to read some words my Dad had written for the occasion. Here are those words.

Who was Jordan Feder?
What was His Legacy?

We are here to Honor the Life of Jordan Matthew Feder. To say he’ll be missed does not begin to cover the depth of what we’ve lost. Men of his character, commitment, wit and courtesy are rare indeed, sad to say. Those of us whose lives he touched came away so much the richer for the experience.

Jordan was a unique character. From the onset of college, he did not do drugs. He did not drink alcohol. He was a vegan in his dietary food. Under a crisis when most people would put in shows of false bravado – Jordan would quietly attend to his business. He liked to get people to underestimate him. His quick smile and friendly manner was always disarming and warming, but there was no mistaking – He was as fierce in battle as he was gentle in friendship. His friends always wanted Jordan next to them when a skirmish or battle with either the police or white supremacists caused trouble because his friends felt safer when he was near them.

As far as I am concerned, he died a hero – returning from a NAFTA demonstration in Florida trying to make the world a safer and better place for us all. But more importantly, he lived a hero.

If the world had more men like Jordan Feder, there would be no need for an Army to protect us from harm.

This past June, I turned 67 years old. To some here, it’s ancient. To others it’s young. But lately I’ve been thinking about what we leave behind when we die, what are our legacies. I even wonder how long our loved ones will remember us.

So I started to think about my son, Jordan. I thought about his voice, his laugh, and the days when he was 3 (three) years old and he would stare in the mirror and practice his funny faces. I recall another incident when he was around 5 years old and he jumped on a big 7 year old kid that was hitting his older brother – yelling at him to get off his brother. Even then, he was wildly protective of his friends or relatives. I thought about the day in High School he informed me he was going to stop drinking alcohol – for good. Knowing he was on his way to college soon, I suggested to moderate his drinking and stopping altogether would be difficult with all the peer pressure around him in college. His answer was, “I can handle that part – I intend to stop drinking.” And for the four years in college and beyond, he did exactly that.

I marveled at his wisdom in seeing the big picture of things. I recalled how much I enjoyed talking with him, how much common sense he had and how much he loved his brother, his Mom and me. I remember how many people wrote to us telling us how much Jordan impacted their lives. He was the glue that kept everybody together. He never judged others; he just tried to bring out the best in them. I am proud because my son, Jordan, came into the world and made the world a better place. You can’t ask much more of a son to leave the world in a better place that he came into. Early in his life he realized that if we don’t care about others, others will not care about us. He used to say ‘wealth is not calculated by what you accumulate, but by what you share.’ So take what he taught us and pass it on. It’s important you understand that now, you’re Jordan’s voice.

He was my son. When he came home from college, he would go out and come home very late at night. I knew the things he was doing were dangerous, and I would never go to sleep until he came home safely. When he came home, we would talk – sometimes for hours. He loved sharing his world with me. He was more than my son…he was also my friend. But he also was a great friend and brother to many others. Irreplaceable. He will forever be missed. For all that knew him behind the facade of Mr. Cool & Quirky, he was a kind-hearted, genuine, warm person who always believed that people meant well, even if they did not.

So, what is his legacy? “He was the glue that kept people together.” He negotiated truces and kept the peace. He was cool-headed when everyone else around them might not have been. He made people feel good about themselves. He made them believe in themselves. He made them laugh. He made them feel safe. He was a friend to all those around him. He was a leader. Jordan brought out the best in you – and made you a better person for it. So the real question I pose to you that knew Jordan – “Has Jordan brought joy to you or to others you know?” The resounding answer is “YES!” That is his legacy!

Jordan fought the good fight and I was proud to call him my son. Walking through life with my son, Jordan, for 23 years has been a very gracious experience.

for all that he was,
all the he might have become,
and all that he still is
to his family and friends.

Edward R Murrow once interviewed John F Kennedy. He asked “Do you get a chance to do much reading?”

JFK: Yes, I used to read very much and I try to do it as much as I can now.

Murrow: Have you found anything that has been particularly useful, or perhaps I could use the word inspirational, to you?

JFK: Well, I do have something here that was written by Alan Seeger who, as you’ll remember, was born in NY & fought in the Foreign Legion and was killed in the First World War in 1916. He wrote that famous poem, I Have a Rendezvous with Death.

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear…
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Just before he died, he wrote a letter home to his mother which I think has good advice for all of us: Whether I am on the winning or losing side is not the point with me. It is being on the side where my sympathies lie that matters. Success in life means doing that thing that which nothing else conceivable seems more noble or satisfactory or remunerative. And then being ready to see it through to the end.”

a guestbook entry

Matt
Sept 28, 2004

Hey, just wanted to say what’s up. I am kind of lost in terms of my direction in life. Like you, I tried the SEIU Wave program. Got placed in Ohio. It was actually a very short time after you left, and some of the people out there knew you. It was comforting to hear others stories of you, even if they only knew you for a brief bit. I remember calling you from the OI. It felt great to share that experience with someone who had been there before, the same as you did to me when you called me from your OI to tell me how it was going.

So ya, I kind of feel cheated. You were so great to so many people, I thought I was special or something. I thought that perhaps I was getting special attention, when in all reality I was getting the same as everyone else. I think you had that ability, to make everyone feel included, even if everyone meant 1,000 people.

So I felt like talking to you cause you always had positive things to say. You could always turn my pessimism into optimism. You had a way of looking at things in a positive light, no matter how negative they were. I don’t know if you understand how much I appreciated that.

I want to also say thanks for being with me on the streets in Miami. I was really scared many times but with you by my side I felt comfort. For some reason I knew everything would be all right so long as you were there, it just always happened that way. Also, thanks for helping out in organizing things and taking care of the other van. Sometimes I wonder if I had been the van to stay behind, perhaps you would still be here to talk to.

It came down to rocks, paper, and scissors.

Who says winning is everything.

Just wanted to drop you a line, let you know I was thinking about you, as I do quite often. At least I have your Thundercats hat to keep me warm in the winter, and your helmet to protect my head while riding my bike. Protection, that’s what you are best at. Hope things are going well for you. I am sure we will talk again.

November 30, 2003

Hello Alan and Michele –

We were shocked to learn about Jordan.  Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with you and your family.

Jordan spoke about what he believed in and was not one to stand along the sidelines.  I recall articles in the Towerlight about living wages for the cleaning staff at Towson, and his comments about the resignation of Mark Perkins.  I recall the Summer Send-Off at your house where he sat with incoming freshmen and handled their questions and concerns about collegiate life.  I especially remember his surprise when every one of them pulled out their fake ID and asked if it was good enough to get themselves served.  He handled it well – no matter what was thrown at him.  I remember him as intelligent, involved, polite, and someone who was not afraid to take a stand in what he believed.

I know how very proud you are of him and what he had grown into.

Such a tragedy – such a loss for all of us.

Our deepest condolences.

Mike & Sheryl Kreps

I would like you to know that in recognition of your involvement as a founding member of the Towson University Parents Association and in memory of Jordan, the Parents Association will fund and award in 2004 the Jordan Feder Memorial Scholarship to a student of a Parents Association member.

April 2004

I was breathless when I read your letter notifying me of Jordan’s death.  Words seems so inadequate at this time, but I wanted to send you this letter expressing my deepest sympathy and let you know how honored I am to have had the opportunity to be a small part of his life.

Jordan accomplished so much and touched so many lives.  I can only imagine the joy he brought to people that had the privilege to know him as well.  I remember reading his original essay and the brief updates that he would send and they never failed to bring smiles to our faces (his letters always got passed around).

In Jordan’s first essay for us he wrote, “It was Bugs Bunny that caused me to realize that the goodness inside a person is what is important.” Jordan did not just write this, he believed it.  He lived it.  The picture Jordan sent to us of your family and Bugs at Six Flags still hangs on my office wall and continues to bring a smile to everyone’s face who sees it, as well as, a story from me about the wisdom and sincere caring of an 18 year old.

So seldom, is there a person that truly sees value in those less fortunate and sets out on a path to make a difference.  Jordan was one of these stars.

On behalf of everyone here at Two Ten and myself, please accept my deepest sympathies.  Our hearts go out to you.

You are in our thoughts,

Cathy Nelson
Scholarship Director
Two/Ten Footwear Foundation

Letter from Troy

From: “Troy Crews” <troy_crews@hotmail.com>

To: shakashiri@aol.com

Subject: In remembrance of Jordan

Date: Wed, 07 Jul 2004

Nuri,

My name is Troy, and I was Jordan’s suitemate in college. I just heard about his passing this past weekend, right in the middle of installing a wireless cable modem router in my future in-laws’ house.

I hung up the phone after getting the news. Then I cried.

My first thought was of the day Jordan went with me and a few more friends to Six Flags America here in Maryland. We went on coasters all day, bought pirate hats, and chatted with the characters walking around the park. He’d talk to Yosemite Sam or Bugs Bunny (like chatting with a parallel self, I suppose you could say). I’ll never forget the story of him getting in a fight with a fellow Six Flags worker in Jersey because he was sticking up for his friend. The best part was that the fighters were still wearing their characters’ costumes.

After checking out jordanfeder.com, I realized that most people focused on Jordan’s achievements when remembering him. What I’ll remember best was that he was a tremendous friend. He was a freshman (in 1998) when I was a senior, and yet he seemed the make the most sense out of all of us when viewing the world. I took great inspiration from that, and I’ve never forgotten that lesson.

I remember that he was so stoked about Star Wars Episode I coming out in theaters, and he made friends with the guy that was 6th in line for tickets. He wound up scoring tickets for about 10 of us, and we didn’t even have to break the exam-studying routine to go. We went to Target and bought out their supply of Star Wars action figures in case they’d be worth something someday (still hasn’t happened).

I remember him giving me the Rent soundtrack as a graduation present how many college freshmen think to give a departing senior a graduation present???). He said he was really inspired by the director’s message that we should all live life as if every day is our last. Just like the ironic passing of the director after the premiere of the show, Jordan’s passing was far too soon.

I always meant to catch up with him. I’m so sorry I didn’t.

Please give my best to your family. I wish you all the very best, and you’re lucky you got to witness Jordan at the peak of his game. When I was around him, he was still climbing that first monstrous hill.

Love and best wishes,

Troy

Jordan…all the things I never got to say…
Chris Libertini
2004-03-14

ok, so
all the things I never got to say…
I really thought that your whole outlook on life was unique. A person that saw things differently. Even in high school, @ work, and just in plain “chillin”, I saw you look @ a situation and come up with some off-the-wall suggestion or comment. You were instrumental in my life in that you showed me things I never would have seen. Took the “blinders” off.

I see your family now. I see your brother. I see how much we all love you, and miss you. You were such a special person. A special friend. Accepting people, accepting me.
I’ll never for one moment forget those words on the other end of the phone….”Jordan passed away…..”
I asked if this was a joke, you were not supposed to die. I was supposed to die WAAAY before you. You were supposed to have grandkids, a wife, be old and stoggy (well u kinda were)….
I love you brother.
I will go to the warped tour this year and be there with you, again.
C’mon Jordan, lets go in the pit and start a toilet bowl… or maybe even try and get back stage…
I love you bro…
Save me a spot @ the table up there
CL out

4/5/04

Yo, Jordan –

Happy Passover! It felt really weird being here without you;

weirder than its felt the other times I’ve been here since November.

Your parents forgot to leave out a cup for Elijah, and I forgot to say

something about leaving out a cup of root beer for you (clever, eh? eh?)

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately – you even made your way

into one of my dreams. Don’t worry, it wasn’t a sex dream. But you’ve

been on my mind a lot.

We’re probably going to get tattoos soon, featuring some of your artwork.

We talked about getting them on our asses, but we weren’t sure whether

you’d be insulted or amused – my bet was on the latter, though.

I think about you every time we’re about to go on an action, because

to this day you’re one of the people’s favorite folks to work with on

the street. I can only hope to become somebody as (…insert adjective…)

as you. You continue to be an inspiration.

Thanks for everything!

In Solidarity,

Dragonfly (Abe)